CELTA via Valencia: Interview with Séamas Campbell
Valencia was one of the first locations to offer the CELTA Online to help ensure candidates could take the certificate during the coronavirus outbreak, while still staying safe. As we begin to move out of the restrictions made necessary by Covid-19, online teacher training in the form of the CELTA online course is here to stay. But Valencia is also looking ahead to the return of face-to-face courses too!
We speak with Séamas Campbell, the CELTA Tutor at the Valencia centre we work with, who shares with us his own ELT journey and an insight into taking the CELTA with Valencia, both online and face-to-face. Here’s what Seamus had to say:
How did you get into English Language Teaching (ELT)?
Many people just fall into ELT from other disciplines, but I was actually a trained secondary school French and English teacher in Ireland when I was offered the opportunity to work for a secondary school in Madrid for a year. As often happens in Spain people come for a year and end up staying longer, a lot longer my case, as it has been 30 years at the last count! I have also had the opportunity to teach and train in the Ireland, UK, France and Egypt over the years.
I understand you are also a CELTA Assessor. How did you become one and what do you enjoy the most about this role?
Having worked as a course tutor for many years, I guess in some respects it was the obvious progression. However, the reason I really wanted it initially was the opportunity to exchange ideas and continue to learn and grow and this is as true today as was at the outset.
Why do you think people should acquire a CELTA?
As in every field of work, everyone needs a solid foundation to build on. Regardless of whether you have zero experience or lots of previous classroom experience, a sound grasp of basic classroom principles is a must for all teachers. Once you have this sound base to build on, you can experiment and grow further throughout your career. As all teachers will tell you, knowledge is the key!
Valencia offers a more unique and flexible way to take the CELTA Online. Can you let us know what the online experience is like?
We have been running the blended CELTA programme for a number of years which opened doors to many candidates who for work, financial reasons and the like were unable to follow the more traditional face-to-face course. Our flexi-online programme offers new possibilities for those who were unable to attend the centre and can teach some or indeed all lessons online.
Thus, candidates on the 100% programme will work though the course modules online at their own pace, complete 4 written assignments with online tutorials and guidance over the duration of the course and will typically teach a minimum of one online lesson a week (on Saturdays or midweek evenings). We also do our best to work around all candidates preferred timeframes.
How will the Valencia centre support students who may not be as confident using technology such as Zoom?
Before candidates start teaching online we run a number of support sessions and tutor led classes to familiarise candidates with features of the Zoom platform for teaching purposes such as sharing digital information, breakout rooms and the like. Interestingly, as a result of the lockdown many of us have been forced to upgrade our online skills at breakneck speed.
What should a trainee expect the teaching practice to be like online?
I would say that even though one might think that both modes of teaching are very different in reality the teaching practice online is in essence similar to a traditional lesson. All successful lessons, regardless of mode, need a logical structure with clear lesson aims. Likewise, teaching qualities such as patience, empathy and clarity are universal. A little humour goes a long way in the classroom. Furthermore candidates will have the opportunity to observe all other member on the course teaching their online lessons and it is always interesting to see how much you learn from observing what others do.
What is your one piece of advice for trainees preparing to take the CELTA?
I would encourage all future participants to prepare as much as possible before the course begins . We prepare a useful pack to help candidates revise basic grammar, such as different tenses and when they are used, as well as a teach-yourself guide to phonemic script, which we encourage candidates to learn beforehand as courses can be hectic and anything you do beforehand will stand you in good stead. Also swap the latest Netflix series, for some background introductory reading such as Jim Scrivener’s Learning Teaching.
What is the ELT job industry like in Valencia?
There are many language schools in the Valencia region and we often get schools contacting us looking for new teachers. The local market has changed somewhat over the years. There are smaller schools teaching younger learners and teenagers. Initially many teachers may have to accept teaching hours in more than one school. My advice is to be flexible in this regard.
Apply to take the CELTA via Valencia today!
If you are looking to start an exciting career where you can teach around the world, Valencia is a great place to start! You can apply for the CELTA through our online form. There are no application fees and the form can take up to 15 minutes to complete
Do you have any questions about taking the CELTA? Get in touch with a member of our team today!