From the CELTA to the top: Four senior ELT professionals tell their stories of climbing the ELT ladder

For some people who are taking the CELTA course, it is just a short-term role for a few years. For many though, the CELTA is…

For some people who are taking the CELTA course, it is just a short-term role for a few years. For many though, the CELTA is the first major step towards a deeply fulfilling long-term career. We checked in with four senior ELT professionals to find out what their journey was, and how they got to the roles they are in today. Here’s what they told us…

 

Iñigo Casis, Director of Studies and CELTA Tutor, San Sebastian, Spain

I became a teacher after finishing my degree in Engineering in Spain and after teaching many technical subjects I decided that I wanted to do something different. I did the CELTA course and I immediately fell in love with ELT and I decided I wanted to make a career out of it, a decision I have never regretted.

After some years teaching, I got my DELTA and that gave me the opportunity to become a Director of Studies. I think a DoS needs to be able to help the teachers at the school so the more you know the better. As a Director of Studies I delivered several teacher training courses and after a while I became a CELTA trainer. In the last 10 years I have trained over 200 new teachers and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of!

Stuart McMillan, CELTA Course Coordinator and CELTA Tutor, Dublin (Dame Street), Ireland

I first got into teaching towards the end of 1999 when I moved to Madrid to begin my journey teaching English. Living and working abroad was a great experience as I got to experience a new way of life. Doing the CELTA course there was so beneficial as it really helped me to develop techniques to aid my teaching and gave me more work opportunities. After five and a half exciting and rewarding years of being in Spain, I chose to return home to the cooler climate of Ireland.

I very soon started teaching at the Dublin (Dame St) centre where I have been working since 2005. Teaching at such a large and prestigious school was crucial in developing as a teacher as I now got to teach learners from all over the world and learn more about their cultures and the difficulties they may have learning English.

I managed to move up the career ladder as I got into teaching exam classes like the CAE and IELTS as well as teacher training. Since 2018, when Dublin (Dame St) centre became a CELTA centre, I have been one of the tutors at the school and have enjoyed assisting candidates on becoming the best teachers that they can be.

Varinder Unlu, Teacher Training and Development Manager and CELTA Tutor, London (Holborn), UK

My teaching journey started in 1992. I was working for Barclays Bank as a trainee manager in the UK and wasn’t enjoying the work. A friend told me about a 4-week teaching course that would allow me to work anywhere in the world. I found a school in London that ran the CELTA course. After completing the course, I went to Izmir Turkey. My first teaching job was in a local language school, where my students were mostly children between the ages of 6-15. I had never worked with children, so this was a huge learning curve for me, but I loved every minute! I learned so much about teaching and also myself from this experience. After two and half years, I moved to Istanbul and worked for a large school where my students were mostly adults.

After 5 years in Turkey, I moved back to London and started working for a large language school in Greenwich. In 1998 I did my DELTA and in 2001 I became Director of Studies (DoS) and an examiner for Cambridge Mainsuite exams. In 2003 I also became a Teacher Trainer for Trinity Cert TESOL. As well as my day job, I started working in my local Further Education college in the evenings, working with ESOL students. In 2008 I left my DoS job to work full-time at the college, where I became a CELTA trainer.

I took the job of Director of Studies in 2010 at a school in London and left in 2016 to become an Academic Manager at a University. In 2018, I moved back to EFL and became a school principal at a language school. After COVID-19, I started working at London (Holborn) where I am the Teacher Training and Development manager. We run CELTA courses in every mode to suit everyone.

As well as all of the above I have worked with IATEFL since 2014, and I co-founded the Inclusive Practices and SENs Special Interest Group. I currently am on the Global Issues SIG committee. I am passionate about DEI issues. I am a materials writer, presenter, examiner, safeguarding and welfare officer, teacher trainer, and manager. But nothing makes me happier than being in a classroom with students because, at the heart of everything I do, I am a teacher.

Tim Matsuda, Head of Teacher Training and Development and CELTA/DELTA Tutor, Mexico City, Mexico

I’d say my EFL journey has been “full-circle”. I was a cog in corporate America and was burnt-out from 60-hour work-weeks and I knew it was time for change. I wanted to travel, learn other languages and experience different cultures, and I found the CELTA course would allow me to do all of this while being paid! So in 2016 I quit my job and dove in head first and took my CELTA course at Riviera Maya and my life has been forever changed.

After the course I was immediately hired for a teaching position in Cancun and after several years of teaching English in various contexts I had the opportunity to train local teachers which opened my eyes to teacher training and reminded me of the profound impact CELTA had on my life. I mentioned “full-circle” because when I was approved by Cambridge to become a CELTA tutor, I got trained up at the very same centre where I took my CELTA so many years ago! But wait, the story doesn’t end there. Last year I became the Head of Teacher Training and Development at the Mexico City centre and now I’m in charge of all of our CELTA Online and Face-to-face courses!

I would have never imagined this in my wildest dreams; and to think, it all started with the CELTA!


Apply now!

As well as the excellent CELTA opportunities with the San Sebastian, Dublin (Dame St), London (Holborn) and Mexico City centres, we have a wide range of different CELTA courses for you to choose from from around the world. See more information on and apply to upcoming CELTA courses by date here. You can also find out more about the CELTA course in general. For those looking to take the next step up on the ELT ladder, you can see upcoming DELTA courses by date here. You also can find out more about the DELTA course in general.



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For some people who are taking the CELTA course, it is just a short-term role for a few years. For many though, the CELTA is the first major step towards a deeply fulfilling long-term career. We checked in with four senior ELT professionals to find out what their journey was, and how they got to the roles they are in today. Here's what they told us...

 

Iñigo Casis, Director of Studies and CELTA Tutor, San Sebastian, Spain

I became a teacher after finishing my degree in Engineering in Spain and after teaching many technical subjects I decided that I wanted to do something different. I did the CELTA course and I immediately fell in love with ELT and I decided I wanted to make a career out of it, a decision I have never regretted.

After some years teaching, I got my DELTA and that gave me the opportunity to become a Director of Studies. I think a DoS needs to be able to help the teachers at the school so the more you know the better. As a Director of Studies I delivered several teacher training courses and after a while I became a CELTA trainer. In the last 10 years I have trained over 200 new teachers and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of!

Stuart McMillan, CELTA Course Coordinator and CELTA Tutor, Dublin (Dame Street), Ireland

I first got into teaching towards the end of 1999 when I moved to Madrid to begin my journey teaching English. Living and working abroad was a great experience as I got to experience a new way of life. Doing the CELTA course there was so beneficial as it really helped me to develop techniques to aid my teaching and gave me more work opportunities. After five and a half exciting and rewarding years of being in Spain, I chose to return home to the cooler climate of Ireland.

I very soon started teaching at the Dublin (Dame St) centre where I have been working since 2005. Teaching at such a large and prestigious school was crucial in developing as a teacher as I now got to teach learners from all over the world and learn more about their cultures and the difficulties they may have learning English.

I managed to move up the career ladder as I got into teaching exam classes like the CAE and IELTS as well as teacher training. Since 2018, when Dublin (Dame St) centre became a CELTA centre, I have been one of the tutors at the school and have enjoyed assisting candidates on becoming the best teachers that they can be.

Varinder Unlu, Teacher Training and Development Manager and CELTA Tutor, London (Holborn), UK

My teaching journey started in 1992. I was working for Barclays Bank as a trainee manager in the UK and wasn’t enjoying the work. A friend told me about a 4-week teaching course that would allow me to work anywhere in the world. I found a school in London that ran the CELTA course. After completing the course, I went to Izmir Turkey. My first teaching job was in a local language school, where my students were mostly children between the ages of 6-15. I had never worked with children, so this was a huge learning curve for me, but I loved every minute! I learned so much about teaching and also myself from this experience. After two and half years, I moved to Istanbul and worked for a large school where my students were mostly adults.

After 5 years in Turkey, I moved back to London and started working for a large language school in Greenwich. In 1998 I did my DELTA and in 2001 I became Director of Studies (DoS) and an examiner for Cambridge Mainsuite exams. In 2003 I also became a Teacher Trainer for Trinity Cert TESOL. As well as my day job, I started working in my local Further Education college in the evenings, working with ESOL students. In 2008 I left my DoS job to work full-time at the college, where I became a CELTA trainer.

I took the job of Director of Studies in 2010 at a school in London and left in 2016 to become an Academic Manager at a University. In 2018, I moved back to EFL and became a school principal at a language school. After COVID-19, I started working at London (Holborn) where I am the Teacher Training and Development manager. We run CELTA courses in every mode to suit everyone.

As well as all of the above I have worked with IATEFL since 2014, and I co-founded the Inclusive Practices and SENs Special Interest Group. I currently am on the Global Issues SIG committee. I am passionate about DEI issues. I am a materials writer, presenter, examiner, safeguarding and welfare officer, teacher trainer, and manager. But nothing makes me happier than being in a classroom with students because, at the heart of everything I do, I am a teacher.

Tim Matsuda, Head of Teacher Training and Development and CELTA/DELTA Tutor, Mexico City, Mexico

I'd say my EFL journey has been "full-circle". I was a cog in corporate America and was burnt-out from 60-hour work-weeks and I knew it was time for change. I wanted to travel, learn other languages and experience different cultures, and I found the CELTA course would allow me to do all of this while being paid! So in 2016 I quit my job and dove in head first and took my CELTA course at Riviera Maya and my life has been forever changed.

After the course I was immediately hired for a teaching position in Cancun and after several years of teaching English in various contexts I had the opportunity to train local teachers which opened my eyes to teacher training and reminded me of the profound impact CELTA had on my life. I mentioned "full-circle" because when I was approved by Cambridge to become a CELTA tutor, I got trained up at the very same centre where I took my CELTA so many years ago! But wait, the story doesn't end there. Last year I became the Head of Teacher Training and Development at the Mexico City centre and now I'm in charge of all of our CELTA Online and Face-to-face courses!

I would have never imagined this in my wildest dreams; and to think, it all started with the CELTA!


Apply now!

As well as the excellent CELTA opportunities with the San Sebastian, Dublin (Dame St), London (Holborn) and Mexico City centres, we have a wide range of different CELTA courses for you to choose from from around the world. See more information on and apply to upcoming CELTA courses by date here. You can also find out more about the CELTA course in general. For those looking to take the next step up on the ELT ladder, you can see upcoming DELTA courses by date here. You also can find out more about the DELTA course in general.

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