Posted in CELTA, Reflection

My 3 takeaways from doing the Cambridge CELTA

I completed my Cambridge CELTA in June 2015 with Kaplan in Dublin. I’ve written about my experience here. Below are my three biggest takeaways from the course:

I seem to be creative and willing to think outside the box

I loved using the Interactive White Board (IWB) at Kaplan. There is an awful lot you can do with it to enhance learning, and it can add a bit of variety to your lesson setup. Using it though can be hit or miss for those using it for the first time, but I managed to get to grips with it very quickly. I utilised the IWB throughout CELTA for eliciting vocabulary, matching tasks, gap-fills and so on. I did miss using it when I went to other schools, but in those positions I started getting to use a basic board setup. I’m not sure which one I prefer, but I do tend to lean towards the normal board and pen.

I also realised on CELTA that I wasn’t afraid and had the courage to try new things or ambitious activities for the benefit of learning or to improve class morale. I think I have kept this trait with me, and I am always looking to expand on my creative side. 

The teacher observations have influenced my practice 

I talked a little bit about the four teachers I observed on CELTA here. I feel as if those observations have made an impact on my teaching to this day. With Gerard, I am keen to know the ins-and-outs of the English language and I am willing to deviate from my lesson objectives to attend to my student’s curiosity. What I learnt with Victoria is that teacher presence is an important cog to classroom management. I try to place my table into the corner of the room, sit in the middle or stand, but not in a way that distracts students, and I try to be ever present and available for my students. Victoria gave me the confidence to discipline when needed and to nip conflicts in the bud quickly without causing a scene; this was crucial experience I brought with me into secondary school teaching years later. John taught me to think outside the box, which I had potential for from the get-go, and this has grown as the years tick on. He also taught me to teach lessons that matter to the students, thinking about the local context that they are in and the English they encounter on a day-to-day basis. While observing Eithne, I got to see what it is like to think on one’s feet when things don’t go to plan. She was able to scrap a lesson and start anew without much hassle. This happened to me later in the year when a teacher had mistakenly taught a part of the book I was supposed to teach, and I had to think on my feet and teach something unplanned there and then. Eithne also taught me to be vigilant when it came to relying on technology in the classroom. I can remember having a formal observation in Kaplan a year later when I couldn’t sign into Kahoot and lost a good chunk of time trying to get into it. I couldn’t abandon it as I had a lot of content on it tied to the lesson objectives. Lesson learned. 

Lots of gaps in my knowledge needing to be filled

Some say that native speakers sometimes can’t explain how their language works. Now, whether you believe that or not, it was certainly true for me during CELTA. I felt helpless at times not being able to explain even simple concepts to my peers who would just say, “But, you’re a native speaker.” I was determined from that point on to fill those gaps as much as possible. So while my students were learning the nuts and bolts of the English language, so was I.

3 thoughts on “My 3 takeaways from doing the Cambridge CELTA

  1. Nice article P.J! I also did my CELTA at Kaplan and it was a wonderful experience. I fell in love with the IWB too but it’s good to be able to use both. Board planning is an essential skill for teachers.


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