One CELTA Graduate’s Experience: Insights from Jim

Hey again everyone! This time I have some really interesting insights from a recent CELTA graduate, Jim.

After a brief email exchange, I asked Jim if I could post his message on the blog for all to share and he kindly agreed.

Below you will see his insights into the course and get to hear about another CELTA graduate’s experience in the form of some useful tips. Enjoy!

What did you do to prepare for the course that was most helpful for you?

I studied up on grammar and also read parts of Jim Scrivener’s Teaching English.

Was there anything you did to prepare for the CELTA course that did not help you?

Strangely enough, whilst I’d ‘studied’ up on the grammar, I still found that when I was preparing a grammar-based language lesson, that I needed to hit the books again (and again), to be able to understand the concepts sufficiently to explain (and CCQ) them.

What was the best advice your CELTA tutors gave you at any point during the course?

Take one day at a time, one task at a time and just focus on what needs to be done most urgently. Also, don’t waste time on things that don’t really add much value to the lesson.

What part of the CELTA course was most valuable for you? Why?

The 6 hours of actual teaching (and the dozens of hours I spent preparing lesson plans). It really hit home to me that there’s a heap to know, not just about the content itself, but about how best to deliver it.

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What advice would you give to someone about to start a CELTA course in the next few days?

Ride the anxiety and stress through to the end. I can’t help but think it’s part of the Cambridge CELTA cunning plan. Because that sense of being overwhelmed really made me understand what it must be like for a non-native English speaker trying to learn English.

What things helped you to get through the most difficult parts of the course?

My wife (she patiently explained to me how to use the scanner) and the other CELTA candidates, because we all helped each other out and all felt the pressure of the course at various times. Unfortunately the pressure got too much for one candidate, and he pulled out of the course half-way through.

(Editor’s note: Don’t let the stress/pressure of the CELTA get the better of – here’s my guide to prepare for it!)

If you could do the course again, what would you do differently and why?

I’d watch a lot more YouTube videos on actual ESL teaching. I struggled with my TTT and CCQ’s and I think watching more (and even having mini lessons with friends/family) would have been helpful.

What projects or things are you involved in right now that people might find interesting?

I’m looking at doing some volunteer work with migrants, to help them with their English.

To finish

So, there you go – another CELTA graduate’s experience shared with you! Hopefully it will remind you that you need to

A big ‘thank you’ to Jim for letting us share his story – I know many people looking to take the CELTA will get a lot from it!

Till next time,


Stephen Beale

After taking the CELTA back in 2007, I have since gained over 11 years' experience of teaching English in various countries. I have also worked in EAP for several years and like sharing what I've learnt along the way here.

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