CELTA Canterbury: Interview with Sandie Warren and Chris Crofts
It’s been immortalised by Chaucer and for literally hundreds of years, it’s been one of the UK’s tourist hotspots! Where tourists flocks, the ELT industry booms. This is why Canterbury is a popular choice for those who wish to take the CELTA.
This idyllic English city has plenty to offer! The city is home to UNESCO World Heritage sites and has plenty of ancient buildings, such as the famous cathedral, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey and Westgate Towers. It’s the perfect place for history buffs and those who appreciate medieval architecture.
We caught up with the CELTA Canterbury Tutors, Sandie and Chris, the resident CELTA Tutors at the Canterbury centre.
Sandie Warren is the Head of Teacher Training at the Canterbury centre and since 1990, she has been running the CELTA at the centre. She works with a small group of caring, dedicated professionals who all share a common passion for teaching and training
Chris Crofts took the CELTA course in 1996 and Sandie was one of his first tutors! Chris spent many years teaching in South America, predominantly Argentina. He has also taught in the Czech Republic and Japan. Chris mainly focuses on Teacher Development, Cambridge exams and how to use songs to facilitate learning.
We spoke to them about their CELTA experience, job opportunities online and around Canterbury and also the Covid measures they have put in place to ensure student safety.
CELTA Canterbury: Interview with Sandie Warren and Chris Crofts
Hi Sandie and Chris, thanks for answering our questions! A little bit about yourselves first – what made you take the leap into a career in ELT and then teacher training?
Chris: For me, I wanted a job that could provide opportunities to travel. I’ve always been interested in languages so the Cambridge CELTA seemed a perfect fit. Having taught in a different countries around the world, I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with those who were interested in doing the same. Becoming a Cambridge CELTA trainer seemed to be a natural progression.
Sandie: For me, becoming a CELTA trainer was my opportunity to enable others to access the career which has brought me so much pleasure and fulfilment, and moreover one which helps students achieve their goals in life. It can be a life--changing experience.
So far, what has been the highlight of your ELT careers to date?
Chris: It’s difficult to choose a single highlight because I think meeting and training so many, people from all over the world has and continues to be fascinating and incredibly rewarding.
Sandie: I would agree with Chris on this- after all my years of teaching, I still get a real ‘buzz’ from each group I teach and from the constant challenges and learning opportunities it provides.
It has been a tricky year, but students are looking to resume face-to-face CELTA courses. What measures have been put in place at the Canterbury CELTA centre to ensure student safety?
Chris: In line with all the current government recommendations, risk assessments are in place and regularly reviewed. We have received the ‘we’re good to go’ kitemark from Visit Britain.
Our trainees and students’ health and safety is paramount. Along with daily temperature checks and hand sanitiser stations in all areas of the school, our classrooms and equipment are cleaned regularly.
One-way systems are in place in communal areas, and both students and staff practise social distancing and wear masks where appropriate. As with all other welfare considerations, communication between management, staff and students remains close.
Why the CELTA over other TEFL qualifications? What is your personal take on the certificate?
Chris: The CELTA is a practical course in which trainees begin teaching on Day 2! It provides the trainees with opportunities to put into practice approaches and techniques learnt in morning seminars and to receive immediate feedback from very experienced tutors.
The Cambridge CELTA certificate is internationally recognised and is a pre-requisite for any reputed language school. It is the real deal that opens doors and opportunities all over the world!
What is the CELTA experience like with the Canterbury centre? What facilities do you have for your students?
Chris: Intensive, thorough and rewarding! As a small centre that runs a limited number of courses every year, we are able to provide a great deal of support for our trainees. We have a small reference library to help with assignments and lesson preparation, photocopiers and printers, a number of ‘quiet’ areas to plan and a kitchen to store food and prepare hot drinks. We also provide a pint of milk every day for the tea and coffee drinkers!
Sandie: Chris and I have worked together for many years and both share a passion for CELTA. We know only too well the pressures trainees are under and stress involved on these intensive courses so we are always on hand to help, guide and counsel our trainees. Also being able to undertake this course in the amazing historic city of Canterbury is a real bonus!
What is your number one tip for students to prepare for the CELTA at the Canterbury centre?
Chris: Get to grips with all the labels you need to know i.e. tenses, parts of speech. This will allow you to take full advantage of the seminars and participate fully.
Sandie: Also put the rest of your life on hold for those four weeks and take it at a time when you are not under any other pressures - you’ll need all your time and energy to devote to this amazing but exhausting course so make the most of it!
Online English teaching has become very popular, especially during the pandemic. Do you have any tips for people to get into this?
Chris: - Make sure you are aware of the correct posture and chair types to avoid any physical injuries.
- Familiarise yourself, as soon as possible, with the platform you will be using to teach e.g. Zoom
- Experiment and try to make lessons as interactive as possible.
Consider lesson lengths carefully! Online teaching can be more tiring for both teacher and students so take short, regular breaks – do not try to copy longer face to face lesson timings e.g. 90 mins.
Sandie: Don’t be daunted by the challenge! Seize the opportunity to learn the skills and techniques you will undoubtedly need for the future. It really can be a lot of fun and if I can do it, so can you!
What career advice would you offer for those looking for work in the UK after they have taken a CELTA?
Chris: Remember that many schools begin recruiting for summer positions in January and February. After completing your CELTA and starting at a language school, do not be afraid to ask for help. A good school should provide a mentor to help you through your first few months and not throw you in at the deep end! Good luck!
Thank you Sandie and Chris!
Calling all Canterbury CELTA Pilgrims! You can take the CELTA face-to-face at the Canterbury CELTA centre where you could be taught by the lovely Sandie and Chris! For their in-house 4 week intensive CELTA, see their page for more information.
How to apply for the CELTA in Canterbury?
Applying is easy through our online application form. Make sure you set aside 10 minutes of your own time and then a member of the StudyCELTA team will be in contact with you about the next steps.
Want to know more about the CELTA experience via Canterbury? We spoke with Sandie a few years ago about their experience. See it here.
More ways to Prepare for your CELTA Course!
Are you looking to prepare for your CELTA? Do you want to brush-up on your grammar before the course? Are you interested in the methodology that you will be introduced to on the course?
Take a look at the Pre-CELTA Bundle via our friends at ELTCampus. An online course which will enhance your confidence before starting the CELTA and give you a leg-up on the course content, so you can pass the CELTA with flying colours. Now with bonus online CELTA content!