CELTA advice from Andrew John Watson

Andrew John Watson is a CELTA tutor for the IH Mexico schools


How long were you an EFL teacher, and how long have you been a teacher trainer?

Since February 1994, but with a four-to-five-year career break in journalism, so more like 20 years. I’ve been a teacher trainer since becoming an accredited ICELT tutor in 2012.

Did you have a different career before EFL?

I worked in radio and print journalism as a cub reporter in the UK for one year before taking Trinity Cert. TESOL in November 1993, and also as a business reporter and editor in Mexico in freelance and staff positions. In the end, I found education more satisfying than journalism, although the enthusiasm for writing persisted, and informed my decision to focus on writing for teachers as a MAEd specialisation.

What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?

That they leave the course with an inventory of skills and knowledge to successfully navigate the first months of their job but without complacency: they’ll know about the need to upgrade teaching skills on an ongoing basis.

When you were an EFL teacher what did you like most, and how do you bring that into the classroom for your trainees?

Setting up and managing activities where students speak and write fluently and where there is a high degree of interactivity between them. Being able to give constructive feedback on students’ performance closed the cycle. Paying careful attention to the support (scaffolding) we as teachers provide learners is the key to success, I think.

What advice would you give your trainees for successfully completing the course?

Work steadily and continually pause to reflect on the feedback and advice of your peers and tutors.

What advice would you give your trainees for an interesting and rewarding career?

Keep developing professionally; salary and job titles improve your social status and economic well-being, but if you attend to your own continuing professional development, you will find greater satisfaction in the long run.