How I got started
I usually say I became a teacher of English quite by accident. I’ve always loved reading and writing, and when I finished school I decided to apply for a degree in English Studies, as I imagined there would be lots of reading and writing involved. While I was still a university student, I got a part-time job teaching English and I’ve been a teacher ever since.
I’d been teaching for over 15 years when I decided to take the CELTA. That’s quite unusual, I suppose, but at that time my partner and I had just moved abroad and started a new life in Italy. In most of the schools where I applied for a job, it seemed that a degree in English was not enough to be offered a position, so this made me rethink my CV status.
Doing the CELTA was such hard work I sometimes felt I wouldn’t be able to finish it. I’d observed my tutors teach and I felt that everything I’d done so far was wrong. Of course it wasn’t, but there were some things that needed readjusting. That’s the most difficult part: trying to become a better teacher when you think you are already doing your best! I remember a tip from my CELTA tutor was that the CELTA should be an addition to my experience as a teacher, and that combining both types of teaching would improve my teaching performance. I couldn’t agree more.
I did my CELTA at International House Barcelona in 2015 and I remember being there thinking that that was a school I would like to work in. The classrooms, the resources, the teachers, the building itself – everything was perfect. Needless to say, every school where I’ve taught has provided me with invaluable working experience and I’m so grateful for that, but when I became an IH student, I immediately decided that it would be great if I could be an IH teacher, too!
Taking the CELTA definitely helped me get a job at International House Arezzo, where I’ve worked for five years. I enjoy the school’s friendly atmosphere, the team work, the professionalism of my colleagues and the fact that our students really enjoy the experience of studying with us.
The best about being a teacher
There are many great aspects about being a language teacher. To me, the most important is the interaction with my students and seeing the progress they make. Giving them the tools to improve their language skills relying only on themselves is one of the most difficult things about teaching, but also the one that gives me the greatest satisfaction. Besides, I feel that a teaching career allows you to constantly grow professionally. In my case, I started teaching only because I was studying English at university, then I went on to take my CELTA, and just a few months ago I got my full DELTA diploma, so who knows what’s next!
Finally, being a teacher has helped me to understand my students better and also to become a better learner myself. Since I started teaching English, I’ve been able to learn a lot about languages, not just English, but also my own language and other languages I’ve learnt throughout the years.
Fancy a language teaching job?
To anyone thinking about becoming language teachers, I would say, first of all, learn about learning a foreign language, try to understand what a student feels like when learning a language that is not their own. Then start your teaching from scratch, help friends or classmates with homework, teach kids in after-school clubs, help individual students who want to improve their speaking, and so on. And then, when you know you are ready to be in front of a class, think of getting a teaching certificate like CELTA, which will provide you with enough strategies to help your students in a better way. Last but not least, keep motivated, stay positive even when a lesson doesn’t go the way you had planned, and of course, be prepared to work hard – and never despair because at the end of the day all your hard work will definitely pay off!