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TESL

Life after CELTA: Academic

Stay in School!

What’s a newly CELTA-certified teacher to do after completing the course? Stay in school of course. Language school networks, like ILSC and others, are a great option for recent graduates who want to teach ESL full or part-time.

Academic ESL Opportunities ILSC
Ana Torres is the Academic Director for English at ILSC-Montréal

These schools offer new teachers access to students, resources, and further opportunities. Ana Torres is the Academic Director for English at ILSC-Montréal and believes dedicated language schools are a good fit for students and teachers alike.

What Students Want 

Teaching at an established school means the hard work of surfacing potential students is already handled. “The majority of ESL students join ILSC courses at the Beginner 4 and Intermediate 1 levels*,” says Torres, which means new teachers will know what to expect.

Knowing what to expect doesn’t mean teaching has to be stale, though. Full-service education networks like ILSC offer classes ranging from absolute beginner-level to advanced academic and exam preparation — not to mention student favourites like English through Songs & Lyrics or even Yoga!

Torres describes ILSC students as “focused and motivated to learn and improve their ESL skills,” which makes for an enjoyable classroom experience.

* (equivalent to A2 and B1 levels from the Common European Framework)

Tools of the Trade

In addition to highly motivated students, good language schools equip teachers to teach the best lessons possible. Torres says teachers at ILSC “love the number of resources available for them to use,” which range from printing and paper supplies to course books and online planning subscriptions. Classrooms are also equipped with audio-visual 

Most schools also keep a library of resources teachers can consult. In ILSC’s case, the resource library also includes engaging games and authentic materials. Regular workshops are also held to train teachers in new techniques and how to use new resources. 

Making Moves

Established institutions also offer new ESL teachers space to learn and options for advancement. “ESL instructors at ILSC can look forward to growing and moving horizontally in our organization,” says Torres. Academic settings allow teachers to gain administrative experience and have supporting departments teachers can seek opportunities in.

Those who don’t want to give up the classroom entirely may look to the growing exam track instead. Larger language schools often administer official tests (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.) and teachers who teach preparation courses can easily pursue positions as exam staff or even work as official examiners.

Teachers, these are some good reasons to stay in school!


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, and a flexible online format.

August 7, 2019

Teaching with CELTA

Teaching with CELTA ILSC
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Maybe you’re thinking of taking the CELTA or perhaps you’re a newly minted graduate, either way, you’ll need to think about teaching. Not just where you’ll teach English but what kind of English teaching you’ll do—because not every CELTA graduate ends up teaching in a traditional classroom.

The options for new ESL teachers are as varied as they are different, but with CELTA you’ll be ready for them all.

Corporate Lessons

If the classroom isn’t for you, there’s always the boardroom. When companies can’t send their staff to language classes, they often bring instructors into the office. Corporate language instructors will help students master business-specific English and improve in-house communication for international companies.

Business students tend to have higher expectations for their lessons than the average ESL student, so it’s important to be professional and well-prepared. Corporate clients aren’t learning English for pleasure, they’re acquiring an important skill to give them an edge at work. Of course, higher expectations mean higher compensation for enterprising teachers.

Private Instruction

Private lessons give English teachers more freedom and flexibility than most other forms of teaching. The format, length, and location of lessons are only limited by the imaginations of the teacher and client, and you get to be your own boss.

This freedom comes with an added cost, however: finding clients. But for entrepreneurial teachers, the opportunity to build a personal brand and charge attractive rates of $40+ per hour far outweigh the work of finding students.

Online Classrooms

Speaking of freedom and flexibility. The latest trend in ESL is for teachers to teach overseas without ever leaving home. There are a wide variety of schools and programs offering online ESL courses, so it’s important to do your homework to find a reputable provider.

Teaching online also requires a working knowledge of not only Skype (or other video chat software) but the various digital teaching tools available. Lessons over Skype are fine for conversation practice, but more specialized tools are often necessary for a more classroom-like experience.

The British Council has some helpful tips for those who want to learn about online teaching.

English for Specific Purposes

Teaching English for Specific Purposes, or ESP has grown out of the increasing demand for Business English. Teaching ESP focuses on equipping students with English skills for a narrowly defined purpose, such as English for Aviation and English for Medicine.

Teachers needn’t be former pilots or doctors to teach industry-specific English courses but experience in relevant industries, when highly technical, is an asset. Actually, teachers who want to teach ESP don’t need to target technical professions at all; there are opportunities to combine teaching skills with passions like cooking, cinema, or even yoga! But teaching ESP can also be as simple as giving crash courses in English for Tourism or English test preparation.

IELTS and Test Preparation

Good English test scores can be the deciding factor in a job or immigration application, so it’s no surprise test preparation courses are big business. By familiarizing themselves with the major standardized tests, new teachers can take advantage of opportunities to teach to the specific needs of test-takers.

Many language schools offer test prep as part of their course offerings and major tests like IELTS and TOEFL offer lots of resources to help teachers prepare students for their tests.

What’s Next?

CELTA-certified teachers have a lot of options after wrapping up the course but there’s no reason to be intimidated. In fact, teachers who prize flexibility don’t need to choose just one option. Pursuing different types of teaching (private lessons, contracts, etc.) adds variety and enables teachers to increase their income, all while holding down secure classroom work at a school.


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, and a flexible online format.

July 24, 2019

Life After CELTA: Where are they now? – Part 2

CELTA Graduate Stories ILSC

CELTA opens doors across the world, but what exactly does that look like? Where do newly-minted teachers really end up? Our regular series “Where are they now?” offers a window into the real lives of CELTA graduates.

We hope this peek into the post-CELTA life gives prospective candidates a better idea of what’s in store for the future.

Stefan

Stefan completed his CELTA course in 2016 and is currently teaching in China.

After a lot of research and some interviews, I started pursuing a teaching position in Shenzhen, China. I left mid-October 2016 and have been having an amazing time teaching, learning, exploring, and skateboarding! I chose the area because it’s a great place to skateboard and pretty much doesn’t have a winter … although I do find myself missing the cold a bit. That’s part of the reason why I just spent Chinese New Year in Japan!

CELTA was a great course. I find myself using the techniques and skills I learned all the time. I teach kids from 4 to 14 years old of all levels. Living and teaching abroad is such a rewarding and challenging experience, especially learning Mandarin!

I’m very happy and extremely grateful for the opportunities CELTA has offered me.

Georgiana

Georgiana completed her CELTA course in 2015

After CELTA, I got the chance to teach English in Turkey in the beautiful city of Izmir. Thanks to my CELTA qualification, language schools were confident in my ability and knowledge to teach English as a foreign language.

Christopher

Christopher completed the CELTA program at ILSC-Montreal in 2014 and is currently teaching in Mexico.

After finishing my CELTA I flew straight down to sunny Mexico and started working at the Anglo Mexican Foundation. The experience of landing in a new country and being in charge of whole groups was surreal, to say the least, but the preparation from the CELTA could not have put me in a better position to deal with the challenge. Even now, after two and a half years at the school, I still think back to my course with Chris and Najma and ask myself what they would do when I’m lacking teaching inspiration. 

Since arriving in Mexico, I’ve taken the In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching and started a film club at my school, as well as travelling a little around the country. I’m about to move to a different school, where I hope to take my DELTA. I would definitely recommend Mexico for teaching English, as the country and people are incredible! Teaching is not an easy job but, if you love it, it can take you to incredible places.

Where will they go next?

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Where are they now?” and until then, consider where CELTA can take you.


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, and a flexible online format.

July 10, 2019

Life After CELTA: Where Are They Now? 

CELTA Graduate Stories ILSC
Photo by Capturing the human heart. on Unsplash

CELTA opens doors across the world, but what exactly does that look like? Where do newly-minted teachers really end up? Our regular series “Where are they now?” offers a window into the real lives of CELTA graduates.

We hope this peek into the post-CELTA life gives prospective candidates a better idea of what’s in store for the future.

Thiago

Thiago completed the CELTA course at ILSC-Montreal in 2016 and is currently teaching in Brazil.

Greetings from Brazil. I am very happy to report that taking the CELTA at ILSC-Montreal was a watershed event in my life, as being CELTA qualified led to my being hired at Cultura Inglesa SP, one of the best schools in Latin America, according to BRAZ-TESOL.

In São Paulo alone, they have more than 85,000 students and many more throughout Brazil. The selection process was very intensive and the one-month training was very similar to CELTA in many aspects, including TPs, LP, MFP, receptive skills, PPP, TTT etc.

They told me that I was only selected because I had taken the CELTA course, which they really value at the school. They also confirmed what you had already told me: that one of my strengths is a great rapport with students. Lol.

In a nutshell, I am extremely happy and grateful for all the feedback and training I had from you, and also, because I will be working in a company that really invests in the qualifications of their staff, with plenty of room for professional and career development opportunities. Once again thank you very much.

Melanie

Melanie completed the CELTA course at ILSC-Montreal in 2013 and is currently teaching in Cambodia.

Since obtaining my CELTA in September 2013 I have been working for the Australian Centre of Education in Phnom Penh. After years of working in Korea prior to getting my qualifications, I decided I needed a whole new change – and Cambodia certainly gave it to me! I have found my niche in teaching university-aged students and am lucky to work at the only school that pays well there (thanks to having the prerequisite CELTA😉).

I have had to opportunity to visit Angkor Wat, the beaches of Sihanoukville and can easily travel to a variety of destinations in Asia like the Philippines, Thailand and Japan. I can now wrangle prices in Khmer, whirl around the city in a tuk-tuk and slip away on a bus at a moment’s notice to all corners of the country all while learning not only about their horrific persecution under Pol Pot but also the proud traditions and culture in this fascinating corner of the earth!

Where will they go next?

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Where are they now?” and until then, consider where CELTA can take you.


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 and a flexible online format.

June 5, 2019

CELTA: A format that fits

CELTA Course Format ILSC
Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

The only thing better than a highly-regarded language training certificate with industry-wide recognition is the flexibility to get it your way. That’s why ILSC’s CELTA program is offered in a variety of formats, allowing you to get certified quickly, flexible, or even (mostly) in the comfort of your home.

One CELTA certificate, Three Formats

People seeking CELTA certification do so for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a career change and other times it’s a passport to the world, but with a variety of reasons there comes a variety of circumstances. Whatever the circumstances, there’s likely a CELTA program to get you up and running in the TESOL world.

ILSC offers the CELTA teaching certificate in three formats:

  1. Full-time intensive on-campus (in Montreal)
  2. Part-time on-campus (in Toronto)
  3. Online (flexible schedule) (from home, with an onsite practicum in Montreal, San Francisco, or New Delhi)

Each is a little different and tailored to your needs. Here are the details:

CELTA full-time

The full-time intensive format of the CELTA course available in Montreal provides everything you need to start teaching English in only four weeks. The 140-hour course is practical and complete – time is split between input sessions with trainers, classroom observations, and teaching practicum.

Because of the intensive nature of the full-time format, the Full-time program is a good fit if you’re able to take time off work and give dedicated focus to the program. In addition to in-class work, you will also have assignments to complete over weekends and will want to devote time to planning lessons during evenings.

While the full-time intensive CELTA course may be daunting, the short time commitment means you can get into the job market quickly once you graduate. You will also receive information about the best practices for finding work locally and abroad in your final week.

Part-Time CELTA

If you want to study in Toronto, and have other obligations, and it’s not urgent to complete the course right away, you’ll appreciate the more relaxed pace of the 11-week part-time CELTA course. The part-time course offers you the same one to six trainer-trainee ratios, teaching practicum, and employment assistance as the intensive program but with added flexibility.

The part-time CELTA course holds classes in the evening twice a week and Saturdays during the day, allowing you the freedom to work while you earn your certification.

CELTA Online

If you want maximum freedom and flexibility getting your English teaching certification, the online CELTA course is the one 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 trainees to work when it’s most convenient for you and provides a guiding structure to track progress.

One of the CELTA program’s strengths is how it gets you in front of real, multi-lingual students for teaching practice, and the online course includes this component. All assignments and units are completed online but you will are also be required to attend on-campus teaching practice in Montreal or San Francisco to complete your certification.


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 and a flexible online format.

May 8, 2019

Take the CELTA: Program Requirements

CELTA requirements ILSC
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is the equivalent to an undergraduate-level certificate. This means entry into the program comes with some academic prerequisites.

Minimum academic standards for enrolment are important. That being said, individual training centers may choose to evaluate the equivalence of work experience in individual cases where the candidate is missing prerequisites.

Official Cambridge Requirements

Cambridge English has three official requirements for CELTA candidates to meet. They are to:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education
  • Be fluent enough in English to teach at a range of levels

The first is simple enough. Candidates must be the age of majority to teach adults around the world.

The second requirement is to have a level of education necessary for admission into college or university. This means having a General Education Degree or its equivalents such as a high school diploma (USA, Canada) or DEC (Quebec). Training centers may use their discretion to count relevant work experience for the education requirement.

The third requirement is having an appropriate level of English fluency. The minimum level required for the course is CEFR Level C1–C2 (IELTS 7.0+, 180+ on the Cambridge English Scale). An official proficiency score is not required but all candidates must have an advanced level of English in order to teach students between low beginner and intermediate levels.

Course-specific requirements

Most people interested in teaching English as a Second Language meet CELTA’s general requirements. However, certain course formats have requirements candidates should be aware of.

The popular 4-week intensive CELTA course requires candidates to devote nearly all of their available time to it. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to not work or take on any non-essential responsibilities for the duration of the course. The nature of the course is such that candidates who can’t give it their full attention are much less likely to succeed.

Luckily there are alternatives for candidates who don’t need their certificate as quickly as possible. The CELTA is also offered in a part-time format and a flexible online format

The online CELTA program has some common but essential technical requirements. They are listed in full detail on ILSC’s CELTA portal but include a computer with a high-speed internet connection, word-processing software, and a connected headphone/microphone.

Some Recommendations

One repeated piece of advice from CELTA is trainers is to not ignore the pre-course task. Candidates are provided with the Answer Key but are encouraged to work through the task on their own. The pre-course task is designed to get candidates up to speed with CELTA’s academic approach and to ensure they can start learning from day one.

There isn’t a textbook for the CELTA program but there are a few books recommended by ILSC that can help candidates start strong. Supplemental reading isn’t required but it can be very helpful.

If you’re not certain whether you’re qualified for CELTA or not, get in touch and find out.


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 and a flexible online format.

March 6, 2019

Changing Careers with CELTA

Career Change with CELTA
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Mick Jagger famously sang: “I can’t get no satisfaction,” and although the feeling of continuous striving is probably universal, those who are unsatisfied in their work can relate in a special way. If 40 hours of every week are going to be spent doing something, it had better be something enjoyable. So, whether that lyric above makes you want to scream, “I can’t get any satisfaction” or just makes you want to sing along, it could be time for a change.

Get some satisfaction

Change is always a bit of a risk, but making a change isn’t necessarily the result of making a mistake. It’s possible to graduate, land a good job, work at it for years, and wake up one morning with career wanderlust asking, what else is out there? It’s also possible to work an unfulfilling job for years out of necessity and to be no stranger to a nagging sense of what if that won’t quit. Thankfully, possibility never expires.

Why not travel the world? Why not learn a new language and culture? Why not start something new? CELTA could be the risk worth taking; it could be the answer.

A quality qualification

CELTA is the University of Cambridge’s highly respected Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults and is the most recognized certificate of teaching English as a second language worldwide. With CELTA, paths unwalked open up and the opportunity to experience life in a new way, in a new place surrounded by new people can be found in nearly every direction.

CELTA is offered in a variety of formats and covers five essential language teaching and learning topics. Theory-based input sessions with experienced teacher trainers are combined with practical teaching practice—with real students—to ensure you know what you’re doing and how to do it. There’s no preparation for teaching quite like teaching under the watchful eye of practiced instructors.

Opportunities near and far

Getting a teaching certification like CELTA certainly opens up the world of teaching English as a second language (TESL) but that doesn’t mean the past gets left behind. Changing careers doesn’t have to mean leaving home because the ESL market for English-speaking countries always has a demand for native-speaker teachers to teach recent immigrants and international students. Even skills and experience from previous careers can be put to work in a post-CELTA life and position new teachers for specialized roles like management and administration within schools and training centres.

Of course, there’s no change quite like extended international travel and, compared to going back to school for a different degree, getting a CELTA certificate is actually less of a risk. The course is relatively cheap and gets you trained and ready to work in as little as four weeks, so the whole process can be quick, efficient, and exciting!

Experience the world like never before

If any change is a risk then it might be worth it to go all in. It could be a dream a location; a country and culture that begs to be experienced. The first available position could also be perfect—no overthinking, no time to doubt—just accept the job and figure it out on the fly. Everyone has a different tolerance for adventure, but making a change with CELTA is the first step to discovering it.


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 and a flexible online format.

February 20, 2019

Anatomy of a good TESOL program

ILSC esl training
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

So you want to teach English as a second language? A lot of people speak English, but native-speaker status alone does not an English teacher make! Before teaching, teachers should be taught themselves, but is a certificate necessary? What about university programs?

What to look for…

When choosing a TESL training certificate, keep an eye out for these key characteristics. If a course is missing even one, it might be a good idea to keep looking.

Recognition

The certificate you get at the end of training should be nationally and internationally recognized. In the case of CELTA, the certificate is issued by the University of Cambridge in the UK and recognized by both Languages Canada and TESL Canada, among others.

A certificate is worth less if it limits the country or area its bearer is allowed to teach.

Admission

Watch out for courses where the only admission requirement is paying the invoice in full.

Certificates who screen candidates with an interview and have academic prerequisites are more likely to offer quality training than those with no admission requirements. More practically, admission requirements create a learning environment where you can learn from other participants, rather than be held back.

Native Speakers

Do the other course participants speak English as their first language or native-level fluency?

Good training courses won’t necessarily be full of first-language speakers of English but any non-native speakers should be high level. If this isn’t the case, the course might be designed to train foreign speakers in the foundations of English to teach basic classes in their home country.

Accountability

What’s to stop a small training school from printing reputable logos and offering subpar instruction? It’s rare but not unheard of. Luckily there is one way to know for certain: the external assessment.

Courses which require their instructors and participants to be periodically examined by an external assessor offer a qualification that can be trusted. An impartial 3rd party, like the Cambridge English assessor, is often from an accrediting or associated university and ensure that both trainers, instruction materials, and participants meet the standards of the certifying organization.

Class Size

There is a good reason ESL teachers can and do charge more for private lessons. When one teacher has to offer instruction to 100 students, she cannot do much more than lecture and hope someone is listening.

A healthy trainee to trainer ratio for teacher training is 6:1, which is also the CELTA standard. This ratio guarantees that each trainee receives the attention they need to master the concepts. Courses with less generous ratios may not have their students’ success as their primary goal.

Theory & Practice

When teaching is the subject there are two ways to learn: in the classroom or in the classroom. The best courses will offer a balance of classroom theory and let trainees get in front of their own students.

Courses with a practicum component make sure that their trainees go out onto the job market with real classroom experience. This is an important factor for trainees coming straight out of college/university and anyone making a career change. Experience is valuable, so a course that provides hours of hands-on teaching time is the better investment.

Learners & Students

Practicums are important, but not all practicums are the same.

If a course offers a practicum component, it’s a good idea to find out who the students will be. The CELTA program recruits real students for trainees to hone their skills on. Teaching real ESL students with different first-languages will prepare trainees for real-world situations and difficulties; this is not the case if the “students” are fellow English-speaking trainees.

Do I need to get certified?

Some well-known TESL programs like Japan’s JET Programme don’t require a teaching qualification, the reason for which being JET’s classroom set-up. JET teachers assist local Japanese teachers who handle the language instruction and leave the practice, activities, and fun up to the visiting native-speaker. For the vast majority of ESL jobs, English teachers will handle all aspects of instruction; that’s what a quality certificate will prepare you for.


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 or a flexible online format.

February 6, 2019