Hannah Tugwell did the CELTA course with us in October/November 2016. Three years later, she’s telling us about life post-CELTA and the many perks of being an English teacher!
Tell us about your academic and professional background before CELTA
Before becoming an English teacher, I worked with young people and vulnerable adults in the UK for around 11/12 years.
I did my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology and an MA in Youth and Community Development. I loved it, but I wanted to live abroad (in Spain). So, after a few years of thinking and research, I decided to take the plunge and complete my CELTA.
Why did you decide to do the CELTA course?
I did A LOT of research before deciding to do CELTA. I’ve always been someone with the attitude “If you’re going to do something, do it well”. I had a lot of experience facilitating groups, but almost no teaching experience. I had read that the CELTA was intense and that you learn a lot in a short space of time. This is how I learn and grow. I didn’t want to go into a job without some real teaching experience (and feedback), so I chose CELTA.
Was it what you were expecting?
The course for me was better than I expected. It was more dynamic and fast-paced. Sometimes I felt completely out of my comfort zone and other times I felt pretty confident- I loved that about the course! I was happy that we had great trainers, that I was learning a lot from every session! On reflection, I thought maybe I would learn more about the actual formation of English grammar (because I knew nothing!), but the majority of the people on my course already knew their stuff, so I just had to study up.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about doing the CELTA course?
I would tell them if they want to up-skill FAST, if they want to meet wonderful people from all over the world, if they want to feel confident going into their first EFL job, or they want to get up-to-speed on techniques after years of experience, this course is for you!
What have you been up to since?
I got a job straight away after completely my CELTA course. In fact, I got 3 job offers! I’ve been very lucky to work with two fantastic academies- first in the North (San Sebastián) then in the South of Spain (Sevilla). I absolutely love the quality of life teaching brings me. Sure, I have challenging days/weeks but overall, I love my job. I’ve gained so much experience and have been teaching children as young as 4 years old, teenagers prepping for exams as well as adults with a wide range of abilities! I work 34 hours a week and although it’s easy to work more than that, I try to keep a strict work/life balance (harder than it seems sometimes!).
Can you give us an example of something you do which you remember learning on the CELTA course?
In the first year of teaching, I regularly referred back to my CELTA notes when planning my lessons. It really helped to remind me of all the different elements I needed to include in my classes, and stopped me from getting too overwhelmed. The skills I specifically remember learning on the course (that I still use now) are… making sure I scaffold activities correctly to give students the best opportunity to make the most of their “freer” practice. My students, really seem to appreciate this type of structure, which helps them feel more confident to speak out in class. As well as this, I still use the opening routines Maria taught us in our young learners session ?
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m very lucky to be travelling in Central America. After this, who knows! But my teaching skills means many families are happy to host me, so I might do that before heading back to the classroom again!
Thanks, Hannah and have fun travelling! We remember you and your fellow trainees fondly!