The second city of the United Kingdom is an excellent option for your CELTA course. Birmingham is home to well over a million people (almost 5 million people in the wider area) and a is bustling centre, located in the Midlands area of England. A city which burst to life in the Industrial Revolution, you can see that era’s grandeur throughout the centre, with splendid industrial and civic buildings from the period. From this era came the building of a huge network of tranquil canals, with the city famously having more canals than Venice! It is home to variety of different cultures and enjoys a varied music, arts and cultural scene as well as cuisines to suit all tastes. On top of that, it is centrally located in the heart of England and Wales, making Birmingham an ideally located city for day trips too, a perfect getaway for any CELTA-related stress!
If you prefer to take the CELTA from the comfort of home, you can also take the CELTA online via Birmingham, with different full-time and part-time CELTA course options available, learning from experienced and high quality CELTA tutors.
We took some time to chat with Birmingham CELTA Director Connor O’Donoghue, who has given us the lowdown on what it is like taking your CELTA course via this vibrant city…
The Birmingham CELTA centre is a new one, how has the experience of setting the centre up been?
It’s been very exciting to set up a new centre. It’s been four or five years since Birmingham last had a CELTA centre offering full-time courses and that’s a pity, because it’s such a big and vibrant city. We’ve had a really good reception in Birmingham – it’s clear there’s an appetite here for opportunities to train to teach English abroad.
Connor, tell us about your experience in the TEFL world
I started teaching English in 2003 in Poland. I expected to only do it for a year and then return to my “real life” in Ireland, but I soon fell in love with it. In the last 20 years, I’ve taught and trained teachers in ten countries, including Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Italy. Working in the English teaching industry has allowed me to see the world and to meet some really interesting people.
What is Birmingham like as a city?
Birmingham is such a fun city! There’s a young feel to it, with three large universities and many other educational institutions giving it a studenty vibe. It’s also one of the best cities in the UK for shopping, with some really great retail centres. As an Irishman, I can also say that the people of Birmingham are some of the friendliest in the UK, almost as friendly as the Irish!
What is the Birmingham CELTA centre like?
We’re really lucky to be in a building that couldn’t be more central – less than a two-minute walk from New Street Station and the Bullring. The school building was renovated just a few weeks ago and all of the classroom furniture and equipment is brand new. CELTA trainee teachers will be able to take advantage of 2023 model interactive whiteboards, as well as relaxation areas that have kitchenettes where they can store or prepare food, as well as all the restaurants and cafes of central Birmingham on their doorstep.
How is the online CELTA experience different from the face-to-face CELTA?
I think someone doing an online CELTA needs a bit more independence, because you won’t physically be in a room with other trainee teachers who can help you during lunchbreaks etc and the fact that you are remote from their tutors means that it’s a bit trickier to ask a question at the start or end of a lesson. But if someone is independent and is a confident user of computers, I don’t think there’s any reason not to do an online CELTA – it’s the same syllabus, the same assessment and the same certification as the face-to-face course, so it really comes down to someone’s personal preferences.
How easy is it to combine work, personal/family life and the part-time CELTA course?
It’s important to know that a CELTA is a time commitment, even if you’re studying part-time. In my experience, writing a lesson plan for teaching practice is a task that will expand to fill all available time! Cambridge recommends a minimum of 80 hours during the course for independent study, and some people say it’s even more than that. You definitely can have a full-time job while doing a part-time CELTA, but you need to be a good time manager.
What advice would you give a CELTA trainee ahead of starting the course?
The most important piece of advice would be to plan your time. Make sure your friends and family know that you’ll be busy while you’re doing the course and that they may need to help with childcare or they may not be able to invite you to as many parties as usual! It’s also important to complete the pre-course task – we will send you this once you’ve paid for your course – this has a range of questions that will help get you thinking about all the aspects of teaching and language we look at during the course. Finally, we recommend paying in full at least three weeks before the course, so that you can take advantage of the early bird price, but also so that you’ll have three full weeks to work on your pre-course task [N.B. this is a different thing to your pre-interview task!].
What is the UK job market like for newly CELTA-qualified teachers?
The UK jobs market for English teachers is growing. The English teaching industry has bounced back since the pandemic and there are quite a lot of jobs available. Some of the work is seasonal, with July and August being the busiest months, but there are year-round positions available as well.
Apply to take the CELTA face-to-face or online via Birmingham, UK today!
If you are looking to embark on an exciting career where you can teach around the world, the CELTA course via Birmingham, UK is a great place to start! You can apply for the CELTA through our online form. There are no application fees and the form form usually takes five to 15 minutes to complete.
Do you have any questions about taking the CELTA? Get in touch with a member of our team today!