The Online CELTA in Warsaw for experienced teachers? Yes!
We have got in touch with the tutors at the Warsaw centre we work with to find out more about the Online CELTA via the centre and why taking the CELTA via Warsaw is such a positive experience, particularly for trainees with some teaching experience already.
Here’s what the Warsaw tutors had to say:
The CELTA attracts a lot of experienced teachers these days. Is it also the case at the Warsaw centre?
In Warsaw, we take pride in our local team of tutors: Milada Krajewska, Beata Palińska, Grzegorz Południak and Karolina Bekker. We work closely, exchange ideas, share advice and make every single course a bit better than the previous one. We do train CELTA trainees outside of the Warsaw centre too but, here, we enjoy the close-knit team training experience!
All of us embarked on our respective CELTA course adventures as teachers with considerable ELT experience. Two-thirds of our trainees come with some experience in teaching English or other foreign languages. The range of ages and experience of candidates is really vast, which gives us lots of insight into what makes the online CELTA a success for teachers with experience.
What is the best first step for experienced teachers considering taking the CELTA course?
Go for it! But be realistic and tactical! If the idea of experiencing CELTA has already crossed your mind, you might be at the right point in your professional life to get your teaching batteries CELTA-charged. And resisting this temptation may be a futile effort. So, how to let your mind and heart collaborate to make a good decision?
Start down-to-earth. Check your schedule to choose the right course format that allows you to balance your current teaching (or any other) duties, your indispensable downtime, and your CELTA coursework.
On principle, at the Warsaw centre, we do not accept superheroes. Naturally, we navigate towards the candidates who need to sleep to be well-rested in the classroom. When the pandemic started, we have made a risky and radical decision not to offer intensive online programmes in Warsaw. Why? To minimise strain on participants and reduce screen time fatigue. We don’t regret it!
Now, all our courses take 11 weeks. You can choose the weekend course (Saturday + Sunday, 9:30–15:30 European time) with time to unwind during the week, or the SUMMER SPECIAL 3-weekday course (Tuesday + Wednesday + Thursday, 16:30-20:30 European time or 10:30-14:30 for Americas) with a longer 5-day weekend (Friday through Monday) in between to take a break from CELTA.
That said, the time between the sessions is not all CELTA-free. Your self-paced preparation needs to fit into your offline ZOOM-less reality. How to plan that tactically? Sit with your schedule in front of you, check the dates, pencil in weekly CELTA deep work slots (e.g. two hours free of distractions at a time), and make sure you have a reliable support network to take some of the regular chores off your shoulders. Be strategic before the course to enjoy the CELTA adventure!
What are the challenges that experienced teachers face during the Online CELTA courses in Warsaw?
Some of our trainees – mostly teachers with experience, whether minimal or extensive – tend to believe they should know all the answers. They feel sheepish about asking questions and prefer to find things out on their own. A blind alley!
You may know all about teaching (we always learn from our trainees!) and we, tutors, are here to help you synchronise what you know with what CELTA asks of you. The payoff from getting your questions answered? You save a lot of time as you know exactly what to focus on. When formulating questions, you understand precisely where you have doubts and what gaps need filling. Knowing your questions, we can help you faster and better. Finally, you develop a teaching mindset where you encourage your own students to ask you questions while learning with you. This is how psychological barriers crumble and fall.
Therefore, from the very beginning of the recruitment process – the free-of-charge interview (which is a 60-minute ZOOM conversation with Milada, our Main Course Tutor, not an exam or a test!), please ask questions. And keep asking them until we tell you: Now, you can work it out on your own! The more you ask, the more we learn about your individual needs. The more you ask, the more you learn about the CELTA requirements and what it takes to enjoy the course. A win-win!
How should experienced teachers prepare for the ONLINE CELTA course, if at all?
We often get questions in the application form about how much reading needs to be done prior to the course. We always give the same answer: come to the interview, let us get to know you better and then we can tell you how much theoretical preparation, if any, you need before the course starts. And you can rely on our sincere answers here – we do not accept candidates who do not seem ready for the demands of the course.
At the same time, CELTA is well-known for its practical approach to training. If you have sufficient experience and want to explore the new avenues of the ELT theory, DELTA or MA in ELT are better options for you. Online CELTA teachers spend 120 training hours on developing their planning and teaching skills through invigorating practice. That’s the beauty of CELTA. If you are looking for new ways to plan your lessons, to maximise student engagement, online and offline, choose the Online CELTA. If you want to check how your plan translates into classroom reality, to discuss the lesson with your co-trainees and get feedback and feedforward from your tutors, choose the Online CELTA. If you want to reflect on your own and your colleagues’ teaching to get inspired and unlearn good old habits, choose the Online CELTA.
It is a hands-on practical adventure. Be prepared to learn by doing and experimenting. It is liberating. You will see.
What do you say to someone who asks: How can I get a higher grade?
Don’t do your CELTA for a grade. Yes, we know it is a risky response. But we are talking from experience: start fixating on a grade and your progress will slow down instantly and drastically. CELTA grading is based on clear criteria – in Warsaw, we have divided the criteria into 4 stages, so you know exactly what is assessed each step of the way – but your assessment is not based on a mathematical algorithm.
The Online CELTA is a rewarding and enriching experience only if you embrace the process, enjoy teaching and experimenting with the action points suggested by tutors. Otherwise, you get distracted by grades, your own expectations grow exponentially and cloud your view. You get frustrated and confused, asking yourself why your progress is slowing down.
Trust the tutors. We understand the route through the CELTA jungle and, at the Warsaw centre, we have designed your adventure in a way which allows you to learn from every lesson you plan and teach, bit by bit all the pieces fall together and form a logical picture.
And after each lesson, we will design the next leg of your journey to get you safe and sound to the destination – your CELTA certificate. Yes, you will have your not-so-great days and then fabulous ones, up and down along the way. Isn’t it exactly how your students are learning? Yes, you will need to unlearn and re-learn. The learning curve is always a bit steep but you can only make progress if you trust the process and enjoy the ride! Send your perfectionist inner voice on a long, long holiday for the duration of the course. To succeed, you need to listen only to your students. Switch off your inner critic -come on, what does the little mean voice know about good teaching? Give it a long CELTA break
What would you say to an experienced teacher, a freelancer who has been teaching for years without much support or supervision?
Teaching online and training online is not a lonely adventure at our centre. We create a team experience for you and your colleagues and…it works! Otherwise, being observed by others could have been a stress-inducing prospect. In our courses, we emphasize and facilitate team collaboration: you need each other to enjoy the journey. You discuss your lesson ideas and collect information for written assignments to get the creative juices flowing. You rehearse your lessons in small teams to master the online tools. You have a good laugh and share crazy images in WhatsApp chats and informal ZOOM parties just to relax. During workshops, you enjoy gossiping in breakout rooms (before you get back to work when the tutor pops in to monitor your discussions!). You kick off the lessons with team chit-chat to put students and yourselves at ease before the assessed lesson starts. Finally, you make life-long memories of a team CELTA experience.
Teaching is a lot about learning from your fellow teachers. If you have forgotten how it feels, the Online CELTA via Warsaw will get you back on track!
What would be your final piece of advice for those who are still in two minds?
The final piece of advice? Take action! Book an interview with our tutor to ask all the lurking questions. When you get all your answers, you can make a well-informed decision. No pressure. And the interview costs nothing See you on ZOOM!
Apply to take the Online CELTA via Warsaw today!
If you are looking to start an exciting career where you can teach around the world, Warsaw 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!