CELTA Advice from Andy Townsend

Andy Townsend is a CELTA tutor with IH Milan in Italy

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

I was an EFL teacher for about 8 years before I moved into teacher training and academic management. I first started teacher training in London more than 20 years ago! For the last 10 years I have been based in IH Milan.

Did you have a different career before EFL?

I was a primary school teacher in the UK for some years. I tried EFL teaching one summer and that was it - I stayed! I really wouldn’t do anything else with my day!

What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?

Training to be a teacher is a journey. It’s a challenging journey but I hope that along the way my trainees discover the joys of teaching. I hope they will see that good teachers make a real difference to students’ lives. And finally, I hope that my trainees learn more about themselves – that they discover new skills and talents they had no idea they had.

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

As an EFL teacher I enjoyed seeing my students develop their ability to communicate more effectively in English. For many students this was exciting and empowering. When I am working with trainees I encourage them to teach in a student-centred way. This encourages students to use their English communicatively in the classroom. It-s motivating for the students. It’s motivating and rewarding for the trainees.

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

Be very well-organised right from the start. Do as much reading as you can before the course and during. Listen very carefully to your tutors. If you don’t understand something ask! Be open. Share. Support your colleagues. Stay positive and have fun!

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

My advice is simple - be open to new ideas, learn from others, be inquisitive, be creative, be collaborative. Follow your interests and develop these. Above all enjoy your teaching and BE YOU!