Struggling with the CELTA? How to turn it around!

If you’re struggling with your CELTA course, or worried about struggling in an upcoming course, you’re not alone. We look at how to overcome difficulties you may encounter on the course.

The CELTA course can be a time of great stress and strain for many trainees. However, for the overwhelming majority it is also a period of great enjoyment and finally a sense of achievement. The most recent Cambridge statistics for the CELTA show that over 99% of candidates who complete the CELTA course will successfully pass, while fewer than 5% withdraw from the course. Put simply, if you have been accepted onto the course and you are prepared to work hard, your prospects for success are very good indeed! But many trainees who end up successfully passing the course go through struggles and problems. So, if you’re struggling with your CELTA course, or worried about struggling in an upcoming course, let’s have a quick look at how you can turn things around…

 
 

Try and identify which aspect(s) you are struggling with

If you are having difficulties during the CELTA course, there is a temptation to feel that you are struggling with everything. However, this is highly unlikely to be the case. Is it the grammar knowledge that you are struggling with? Is it your Lesson Planning? The assignments? Is it simply the stress or anxiety of teaching in front of a group of strangers? Is it the sheer volume of work required? The first step in resolving a problem is identifying what the problem is. Once you have identified this, you can then focus on how to overcome the challenge. You should also identify which are your strong points too with regards to the course, which should help put you in a positive mindset when you approach your area of difficulty.

Your tutor is there to help you. Chat through with them about any issues

It’s important to remember that you would not have been allowed onto the course if the course tutor didn’t think you could pass the course. You can do it! Your tutor is there to help you and they want you to pass and be successful. As Connor O’Donoghue, CELTA Director at the Birmingham CELTA centre, says: “If a CELTA candidate is struggling, my first piece of advice would be to let their tutor know. Tutors have gone through the process themselves and will have seen other people in a similar situation to you. They’ll be able to help you prioritise. It’s not unusual for a CELTA candidate to get stuck on a minor point in a written assignment and allow it to derail them from focusing on the assignment as a whole. A tutor should be able to help you get some perspective and help you see the bigger picture.”

You’re not alone. Your fellow trainees are probably feeling the same!

You are not alone in feeling the pressure. Most trainees in your CELTA course are going through the same stress and self-doubt. As well as the CELTA tutor, you can also chat through with other CELTA trainees and get invaluable peer support and guidance. Carlos Souza, Director of Studies at the Sydney CELTA centre, advises: “I always tell my trainees finding the CELTA course a bit challenging to create a support network. Don’t just depend on your trainer; connect with your fellow trainees. Share your thoughts, resources, and even any questions you might have. Having a supportive group can make the course feel less overwhelming, and you can gain valuable insights from one another”.

Focus on what’s important

When you have a number of different items that you have to deal with, it is easy to just become overwhelmed and feel like throwing in the towel. It’s important to remember to focus. Neil McCutcheon, CELTA Director at the Nottingham CELTA centre, advises: “If a candidate is struggling with the workload, I tell them to focus on what’s important, i.e. often the Language Analysis (for language lessons) and to consider where they can cut a few corners (e.g. on the cover sheet, with the assumptions and other sections that can be done in brief). I tell them to base the Language Analysis on the materials they’ll be teaching – thinking about the examples where students may have problems – rather than kind of unearthing the whole area. In short, focus and take a very concrete/practical approach to lesson planning, which is the big(gest) demand on the course.”

Prevention is better than cure – preparing for the CELTA course

Last, but certainly not least, it is worth considering the famous quotation by Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. That is: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail“. Preparing well for your CELTA course will not only help ensure you are well-placed to avoid a lot of the stress, but also that you are also much more likely to get a Pass A or Pass B result, improving not only your knowledge and experience, but also putting you in a better position when looking for post-CELTA jobs. The ELT Campus Pre-CELTA Preparation Bundle Online Course will help you get the most out of your CELTA course too!


Apply now!

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.



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The CELTA course can be a time of great stress and strain for many trainees. However, for the overwhelming majority it is also a period of great enjoyment and finally a sense of achievement. The most recent Cambridge statistics for the CELTA show that over 99% of candidates who complete the CELTA course will successfully pass, while fewer than 5% withdraw from the course. Put simply, if you have been accepted onto the course and you are prepared to work hard, your prospects for success are very good indeed! But many trainees who end up successfully passing the course go through struggles and problems. So, if you're struggling with your CELTA course, or worried about struggling in an upcoming course, let's have a quick look at how you can turn things around...

 
 

Try and identify which aspect(s) you are struggling with

If you are having difficulties during the CELTA course, there is a temptation to feel that you are struggling with everything. However, this is highly unlikely to be the case. Is it the grammar knowledge that you are struggling with? Is it your Lesson Planning? The assignments? Is it simply the stress or anxiety of teaching in front of a group of strangers? Is it the sheer volume of work required? The first step in resolving a problem is identifying what the problem is. Once you have identified this, you can then focus on how to overcome the challenge. You should also identify which are your strong points too with regards to the course, which should help put you in a positive mindset when you approach your area of difficulty.

Your tutor is there to help you. Chat through with them about any issues

It's important to remember that you would not have been allowed onto the course if the course tutor didn't think you could pass the course. You can do it! Your tutor is there to help you and they want you to pass and be successful. As Connor O’Donoghue, CELTA Director at the Birmingham CELTA centre, says: "If a CELTA candidate is struggling, my first piece of advice would be to let their tutor know. Tutors have gone through the process themselves and will have seen other people in a similar situation to you. They’ll be able to help you prioritise. It’s not unusual for a CELTA candidate to get stuck on a minor point in a written assignment and allow it to derail them from focusing on the assignment as a whole. A tutor should be able to help you get some perspective and help you see the bigger picture."

You're not alone. Your fellow trainees are probably feeling the same!

You are not alone in feeling the pressure. Most trainees in your CELTA course are going through the same stress and self-doubt. As well as the CELTA tutor, you can also chat through with other CELTA trainees and get invaluable peer support and guidance. Carlos Souza, Director of Studies at the Sydney CELTA centre, advises: "I always tell my trainees finding the CELTA course a bit challenging to create a support network. Don't just depend on your trainer; connect with your fellow trainees. Share your thoughts, resources, and even any questions you might have. Having a supportive group can make the course feel less overwhelming, and you can gain valuable insights from one another".

Focus on what's important

When you have a number of different items that you have to deal with, it is easy to just become overwhelmed and feel like throwing in the towel. It's important to remember to focus. Neil McCutcheon, CELTA Director at the Nottingham CELTA centre, advises: "If a candidate is struggling with the workload, I tell them to focus on what's important, i.e. often the Language Analysis (for language lessons) and to consider where they can cut a few corners (e.g. on the cover sheet, with the assumptions and other sections that can be done in brief). I tell them to base the Language Analysis on the materials they'll be teaching - thinking about the examples where students may have problems - rather than kind of unearthing the whole area. In short, focus and take a very concrete/practical approach to lesson planning, which is the big(gest) demand on the course."

Prevention is better than cure - preparing for the CELTA course

Last, but certainly not least, it is worth considering the famous quotation by Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. That is: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail". Preparing well for your CELTA course will not only help ensure you are well-placed to avoid a lot of the stress, but also that you are also much more likely to get a Pass A or Pass B result, improving not only your knowledge and experience, but also putting you in a better position when looking for post-CELTA jobs. The ELT Campus Pre-CELTA Preparation Bundle Online Course will help you get the most out of your CELTA course too!


Apply now!

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.

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