Teaching with CELTA as a Non-Native Speaker

So you want to teach English as a Second Language, in your second language? That’s admirable, brave even, but is it foolish? Not at all! In fact, teaching English as a non-native speaker with the CELTA is more common than you might expect.

Language Requirements

Every CELTA applicant must complete a comprehensive language assessment as part of the CELTA application process. Candidates’ performance on the assessment is the main criteria for acceptance into the program; no one is refused for simply being a non-native speaker!

Non-native ESL teachers aren’t all that rare and can actually make up a good portion of the faculty at language schools in English-speaking countries. A likely, although anecdotal, reason for this could be that native English speakers are attracted to TESL for the opportunities to teach abroad whereas non-native English speakers usually achieve their fluency by moving to an English-speaking country.

Advantages

Finally, there is some good news. Non-native speakers possess a few advantages over native speakers.

1. Technical Grammar Knowledge

  • Bilingual and multi-lingual candidates consistently have a fuller knowledge of English grammar than most native speakers. This, of course, is because non-native speakers have had a more technical formal education in English, whereas native speakers focus more on language arts and literature throughout their education. Often, non-native speakers have an advantage in communication skills, too.

2. Empathy

  • Non-native speakers don’t have a monopoly on empathy but they can quickly identify with the struggles and frustrations of their students because they’ve been there. Although this isn’t a formal classroom management technique, knowing when to give students a break or an extra dose of encouragement can really improve a student’s experience.

3. ESL Experience – in Reverse!

  • This one may be obvious, but if you’ve learned English as a second language then you already have experience in an ESL environment. Non-native speakers who learned English in a classroom setting are likely to have fond memories of activities or approaches they enjoyed. Even negative experiences are helpful in knowing what to avoid or thinking about how to improve approaches to difficult language concepts.

Challenges

Just because it isn’t impossible to complete the CELTA as a non-native speaker doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. These will vary from person to person but are common among advanced non-native speakers of English.

1. Accent

  • Non-native speakers will have some kind of an accent when speaking English, and that’s perfectly acceptable since many native-speakers also speak with a pronounced accent. In fact, most students are learning English in order to communicate with other non-native speakers, so being exposed to a variety of non-native accents is useful for them.

2. Confidence

  • It’s very important that students trust your ability to instruct them in the language. Native speakers are able to quickly and confidently respond to many questions because their intuitive grasp of English has been honed over a lifetime. Non-native speakers may not feel as confident, but they can prepare for lessons to build that confidence (completing the CELTA will also help). It’s also encouraging to remember that native speakers make mistakes too—especially with technical grammar!

What are you waiting for?

Teaching English as a second language (TESL) isn’t reserved for those who happen to be born in an English-speaking country. If you have an advanced command of English the CELTA program can open up the world of TESL for you, whether you’re a recent graduate, looking for a career change, or want to liven up your retirement.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

October 10, 2017

The Classroom and Beyond: CELTA Career Opportunities

The classroom is only the beginning

CELTA uniquely qualifies you to teach ESL to adults anywhere in the world but the potential of the Cambridge certification doesn’t end in the classroom. Those prone to career-based wanderlust can rest easy knowing that the opportunities after CELTA can lead down some unexpected paths.

Day-to-day: school administration

Schools wouldn’t exist without dedicated instructors and teachers, but they’re also bigger than the student-teacher relationship. Schools also need effective administrators to ensure teachers can continue teaching.

From ever-helpful receptionists to activity coordinators, school administration takes many forms but always serves to support teachers and enrich the experience of students.

After teaching at one school for a while, teachers will become familiar with how their institution functions and can look for additional opportunities in areas they have strengths or experience. These opportunities can include:

  • Activity Coordinator
  • Office manager
  • Registrar / Student Counsellor

Depending on the size and needs of an organization, opportunities may also include:

  • Testing Administrator
  • Homestay Coordinator
  • Student Internship Coordinator

ESL Services

For the less institutionally-inclined, there remains ample opportunity to contribute to the wider ESL ecosystem. Entrepreneurial teachers can market unique approaches and lessons online to build a personal brand to become a sought-after private instructor, or to land a dream job.

Well-resourced schools may offer opportunities for teachers to develop curriculum based on their passions and interests on a part-time basis. Here at ILSC, we have CELTA graduates who have designed some amazing courses: English through yoga, English through film noir, English through cooking—the possibilities are endless!

Larger schools and education networks are also likely to need support services like copywriting and web development and are inclined to hire candidates who are already familiar with their values and mission.

In their own words: Mona’s path

Mona Sabouri took the CELTA in (2009) and quickly earned a reputation as an effective teacher and a reliable teammate. Mona enjoyed her work but wasn’t content to just show up every day and go through the motions.

“As soon as new opportunities showed up I jumped on them. I like challenging myself and while I appreciate routine for the comfort and feeling of safety it gives me, I need a side project.”

Mona made herself integral to the school’s day-to-day by being available and taking the initiative to help out everywhere she could.

“Once [another teacher] didn’t want the textbook inventory work, I said yes. When we were asked for volunteers to get students involved in volunteer activities I tried to get them involved in activities almost every other session. I never said no.”

Mona was motivated to make the most of every opportunity.

When larger opportunities came up within the administration, Mona was there. She put her experience in teaching, organization, and student life initiatives to work in the post of Program Director at ILSC-Montreal. Now, Mona works at McGill University as a Curriculum Management Administrator, but she’s still thankful for the small steps that got her started.

“CELTA made me realize how much I love teaching. While teaching, I discovered how creative I am and how driven I am by certain things: helping others, challenging myself, bettering myself and by extension, others. I love being that person who finds the silver lining and motivating others.”


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

August 22, 2017

Teaching locally with CELTA

 

The CELTA program attracts candidates with diverse career backgrounds and even more diverse life goals. There isn’t just one good reason to take CELTA, there are many! One common motivation is the attractive prospect of having the freedom to work and see the world at the same time, but what about those hoping to stay close to family, friends, and a familiar bed? Are they out of luck? Not even close.

Teaching abroad is great, but the opportunities sometimes start a little closer to home.

No shortage of choice

The ESL industry is known for booming markets in places like East Asia and Latin America where jobs are plentiful and the barrier to entry is low. Less talked about, but no less accessible to CELTA graduates, are the variety of ESL opportunities at home in English-speaking countries. What’s more, CELTA programs are offered in a variety of flexible formats that allow you to get certified while working, studying, or at your own pace.

Private language schools cater to mixed-language learners from all over the world and can be dynamic and exciting places to work. Apart from private schools or institutions, there are also government programs for new arrivals that require teachers capable of providing lessons to adult learners of diverse backgrounds.

Staying home has its advantages

Teaching abroad is a worthy endeavor but it can also be a challenge. Not all employers are created equal, so the task of obtaining a valid visa, arranging transport and accommodations, and learning local customs may ultimately fall on you. It’s a challenge that’s worth every bit of effort, but for those happy to stay close to home, the international headaches can be avoided without giving up on teaching ESL. Whatever English-speaking country you find yourself in, the local organization of private language schools – such as TESL Canada – will be a great starting point to find a reputable employer.

If teaching locally sounds tempting, consider the story of one CELTA graduate who happily changed his travel plans.

Matthew’s story

Matthew took the intensive CELTA program at ILSC-Montreal in 2013 after returning from a year abroad. He wanted to get a certification that would allow him to travel again and also work at the same time, but he didn’t have any definite plans about where to teach.

After successfully completing the program Matthew was happy to enjoy his hometown for a time, while at the same time ILSC-Montreal was looking for a part-time teacher for evening courses. Matthew says “the whole reason I took the CELTA was so I could travel and work, but I took the job at ILSC to get some more experience and ended up teaching in Montreal for years.”

A creative lesson in Matt’s classroom.

Matthew eventually moved to the full-time day program and has worked at ILSC-Montreal in various capacities for four years. Is he disappointed with the way things turned out? “I’m happy I stayed. I’ve had the chance to work with great people and to meet such awesome students without the trouble of visas and culture shock.”

But Matthew hasn’t given up on seeing the world yet. “The great thing about this job is, with all the experience at home, when I finally feel like I need a change I can hop on a plane feeling confident there’s a teaching job out there for me.”


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

August 14, 2017

The Path to CELTA: Online

We all know that there isn’t a single path to success, rather it comes in many forms. One of the features of the CELTA certification offered through ILSC and Greystone College is that you can choose the learning style that suits you best. For some, that style is becoming certified online. CELTA, or the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults is a ticket to teaching English around the globe. If the full-time or part-time formats don’t suit your particular learning style or schedule, the online course offers and the most flexibility.

If you want maximum freedom while receiving your English teaching certification, the online CELTA course could be perfect for you. The online CELTA course runs over 22-weeks, with ongoing deadlines for assignments and collaborative activities that allow you to connect with other trainees. The course format allows you to work when it’s most convenient for you and provides a guided structure to track progress.

One of the strengths of the CELTA program is that it gets you in front of real, multi-lingual students for teaching practice, and the online course includes this component as well. As a student, you will be assigned to an online tutor for constant feedback and work assistance. The online program is interactive with video training and forum discussions included. Your training covers a wide range of teaching skills, including language analysis and awareness, planning, and resources for different countries and contexts.

All assignments are completed online but you will also be required to attend on-campus learning for a minimum of 6 hours of teacher assisted training in Montreal or San Francisco to complete your certification. The practicum provides a great opportunity to explore a new city!

Upon completion of your training, you will be certified as a CELTA instructor and can begin your experience as an English teacher. Your CELTA certification is like a passport; it can help you find work around the world and transform you from the student to the teacher. Your CELTA certification will open up rewarding, meaningful work, and opens up opportunities for you to experience a new country or continent and immerse yourself in an entirely new culture – a priceless experience.

The online route to gaining your CELTA certificate is the best option for a lot of students. If you think it’s ideal for you then you could be just weeks away from becoming a CELTA certified instructor, and starting on an exciting path that will not only change your life, but the lives of others.

May 26, 2017

The Path to CELTA: Part-time

When it comes to education, we know that no two students learn in the exact same way. For this very reason ILSC and Greystone College offer CELTA certification in a variety of formats. A popular option for those with busy lives is the part-time course. CELTA, or the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, is a training course that gives you both the knowledge and hands-on experience for teaching English to others. If you are looking for a happy medium between an intensive and casual training, CELTA offers a part-time course that provides the same certification and allows you to pursue a career teaching English.

The part-time course runs out of Toronto, Canada’s biggest metropolis, and with over 230 nationalities living in the city, it is renowned as the world’s most diverse city. Because the city is so multicultural, it is a prime location to learn and become an English teacher. The part-time CELTA course runs for 11 weeks and, like all of ILSC and Greystone College’s CELTA programs offers a one to six trainer to trainee ratio, teaching practicum and employment assistance. The part-time program covers language skills, reading, listening, speaking, writing, developing teaching skills, and professionalism, just to name a few. What`s even better is that the program is open to everyone – there is no experience required!

Every week, for 11 weeks, students will attend classes during the evening, two times a week, and a half-day on Saturday. This less-intensive structure allows you to work, relax or explore Toronto at the same time you are getting certified. Through the course you will become familiar with the roles of teacher and learner; you will understand principles of effective teaching and will develop a wide range of practical skills for teaching English to adult learners.

In addition to this, the online course (hyperlink) is still an option if the part-time program work load seems too heavy or doesn`t work with your schedule.

If you`re looking to expand your teaching skills, all while having the freedom to work and live in a world-class city, then the part-time CELTA course is ideal for you.  Upon completion of the course you will be able to enter into the work force, obtain meaningful employment and begin your teaching career.

May 25, 2017

The Path to CELTA: Full-time

Helping another person learn a language can be one of the most rewarding things you can experience. Essentially, you are opening up a whole new world for people and giving them experiences and opportunities they may otherwise not of had. This is why ILSC and Greystone College`s CELTA teaching certification is appealing to so many people around the world.

CELTA stands for Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and is an initial teacher training qualification for teaching English as a second or foreign language. Once you earn this certification you can teach people English all around the world. If this is something that you`ve thought about, but you`re not sure how to get started, there are several different options for you so that you can find what works best for your lifestyle.

If you’re someone who likes to go full speed ahead then the ILSC-Montreal CELTA Full-Time program is for you. This particular CELTA program allows you to buckle down and power through your certification. It is more intensive than both our part-time course in Toronto (hyperlink) and our online format (hyperlink.) ILSC-Montreal’s CELTA program offers a four week, 140-hour course. During this time you will take part in both theory and practical learning in this beautiful, historic international city. Learning is split between sessions with trainers, classroom observations, and teaching practicum.  The CELTA program connects you with skilled and experienced professionals who will give you teaching feedback, and share their instruction techniques and ideas with you.

Each aspect of the course is different but offers its own value:

In-class lessons:

The in-class lessons will lay the foundation for your teaching, and will give you the knowledge you need to develop your professional teaching skills. This is where you will learn the theory of teaching before you put it into practice.

Hands-on practical teaching:

The hands-on practical teaching experience will give you confidence in your teaching abilities. You will gain experience teaching yourself, learning from your peers, and practicing with your teachers – all with the goal of helping you become the best CELTA certified instructor you can be.

Because the program is full-time, this educational route is ideal for someone who has no other demanding responsibilities, or someone who is able to take some time off their employment to focus fully on the program.

At first glance the full-time demands of the CELTA program may seem daunting, but the short duration of this accelerated program means you can fast-forward your education and jump into the job market even sooner. In addition, in your final week of study, the program will provide tips to find English teaching jobs both locally and around the globe.

 

May 23, 2017