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Experienced teacher- Do I really need a CELTA?
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 670
Location: Vientiane

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:31 am    Post subject: Experienced teacher- Do I really need a CELTA? Reply with quote

I'm 50 years old, have been teaching English mostly full time since I was 23, have two BA's, owned a training school for 15 years in Japan, ran the English program at a public elementary school in Japan for three years (before ALT's became hugely popular), and I've earned the first level in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (in my day knowing a second language was expected for TESOL teaching, at least in the U.S.). I also have three university credits with high marks in TESOL, the equivalent of a CELTA, and I was a member of both JALT and ETJ for about twenty years. Now I'm interested in post-grad studies in SE Asian languages and want to teach part time to make ends meet.
In spite of all this experience and equivalent qualifications, do I STILL need a CELTA just to teach some English classes?
Is CELTA a racket? If yes, why are people agreeing to do it? No offense- I'm sure it's really useful to beginning teachers and all, but I can't imagine someone with my qualifications (not bragging!!!) being blocked from teaching at most schools just because I don't have it. Ack! Please tell me I don't need it!
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:06 am    Post subject: Re: Experienced teacher- Do I really need a CELTA? Reply with quote

bluetortilla wrote:
I'm 50 years old, have been teaching English mostly full time since I was 23, have two BA's, owned a training school for 15 years in Japan, ran the English program at a public elementary school in Japan for three years (before ALT's became hugely popular), and I've earned the first level in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (in my day knowing a second language was expected for TESOL teaching, at least in the U.S.). I also have three university credits with high marks in TESOL, the equivalent of a CELTA, and I was a member of both JALT and ETJ for about twenty years. Now I'm interested in post-grad studies in SE Asian languages and want to teach part time to make ends meet.
In spite of all this experience and equivalent qualifications, do I STILL need a CELTA just to teach some English classes?
Is CELTA a racket? If yes, why are people agreeing to do it? No offense- I'm sure it's really useful to beginning teachers and all, but I can't imagine someone with my qualifications (not bragging!!!) being blocked from teaching at most schools just because I don't have it. Ack! Please tell me I don't need it!


"Do you NEED a CELTA" = no
BUT
in a lot of SE Asia where most people have no clue it is the "brand" of TEFL/TESOL cert that is most widely recognized and most of them have never heard of JALT or JET.

It is strictly an "employer" issue (and a bit of good marketing on the part of Cambridge (it is their brand of TESOL cert)).

IF you walk into a language center looking for a job then you won't need it. Dress for success and have some paperwork that shows you know what you are doing in a classroom.

IF you are applying from outside of the country you are wanting to work in then they often use it to weed out the "tire kickers" and I doubt that you have much to authenticate your resume with (beyond the degrees).
Such is the problem with being self employed.

(personally, I just ignore anyone who is not a certified teacher and who is not in the country when I am recruiting - there are lots of white faces kicking around to fill in gaps when needed).

.
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The trouble with experience is that it shows no indication of quality. Please don't take this that I think you, or anyone else, is a bad teacher because of this. But what I mean is someone could have been teaching in a classroom for 40 years and be the worst teacher imaginable. Just because somebody has stood in a classroom doesn't make them a good teacher. Times change, methodologies change.

The same could be said for professional associations, just pay the fees and you're in.

What a CELTA (or equivalent) gives you is an industry standard. It says this person can do this, this, and this. Employers know, to a certain extent, what they're getting.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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Location: Vientiane

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shroob wrote:
The trouble with experience is that it shows no indication of quality. Please don't take this that I think you, or anyone else, is a bad teacher because of this. But what I mean is someone could have been teaching in a classroom for 40 years and be the worst teacher imaginable. Just because somebody has stood in a classroom doesn't make them a good teacher. Times change, methodologies change.

The same could be said for professional associations, just pay the fees and you're in.

What a CELTA (or equivalent) gives you is an industry standard. It says this person can do this, this, and this. Employers know, to a certain extent, what they're getting.


No offense Shroob, really none, but I'm just dying to address these points. Experience shows no indication of quality? Education, achievements, past positions of responsibility don't mean anything? Who would you rather perform heart surgery on you, the intern or the surgeon in his 50's who's done a thousand of them?
Yes there is burn out. Yes, there are bad teachers and bad doctors. But it is very rare for someone to have been teaching for over 20 years who has not learned a lot. What makes a 'good' teacher vs. a 'bad' one? Isn't that subjective? I do believe that to care about your students in a genuine way is probably the most important thing you can do as a teacher.
You didn't say that over the years teachers get behind in methods and methodology but you might be implying it. Let's look at it though: are methods today that much different or better than they were a couple of decades ago? If they are, and language acquisition has improved, do we have measurable data to back up that claim? For many years I was completely sold on communicative methods. In the last decade I have found it utilitarian to incorporate a lot more grammar-translation methods into my lessons. It all depends on the class environment. In any case, I am sure I have kept up-to-date on the latest trends in TEFL and I can't imagine teachers who have taught as long as i have who don't- you'd be bored out of your skull otherwise. Maybe you know exceptions. I would say this: just being older doesn't make you a good teacher obviously, but a veteran teacher with lots of experience will probably be pretty good or maybe even excellent at what he/she does- it's common sense really.
What really gets my goat (and again nothing personal to Shroob) is how TESOL became to be seen as an industry and started following industry models. Fast food is an industry, mining is an industry, but let's hear it: are we educators or not? I for one like to think I work in academics, not industry. That's why I don't work in shite mills like EF (well, have never been desperate enough yet anyway and apologies to ye millers). I think we're out to broaden minds, not to make money for some corporation. If that sounds too idealistic to some, then I'd suggest they reexamine their role as an educator. There is honor and dignity in quality education. I have always believed that.
A CELTA may give an employer a sense of what they can expect. But that is very generic and (to me) superficial. I also know what to expect when I order a macha latte at Starbucks. Does that give it quality? I don't know, but no matter which Starbucks in the world you go you'll know what to expect. Should we patent 'TESOL' credentials so that we can make teaching uniform around the world as well? In other words, standardize and commoditize it? How boring that would be! CELTA should be a springboard- in that role it's fine I think.
Just the other side of the coin to think about.


Last edited by bluetortilla on Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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Location: Vientiane

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Experienced teacher- Do I really need a CELTA? Reply with quote

suphanburi wrote:
a CELTA just to teach some English classes?
Is CELTA a racket? If y
"Do you NEED a CELTA" = no
BUT
in a lot of SE Asia where most people have no clue it is the "brand" of TEFL/TESOL cert that is most widely recognized and most of them have never heard of JALT or JET.

It is strictly an "employer" issue (and a bit of good marketing on the part of Cambridge (it is their brand of TESOL cert)).

IF you walk into a language center looking for a job then you won't need it. Dress for success and have some paperwork that shows you know what you are doing in a classroom.

IF you are applying from outside of the country you are wanting to work in then they often use it to weed out the "tire kickers" and I doubt that you have much to authenticate your resume with (beyond the degrees).
Such is the problem with being self employed.

(personally, I just ignore anyone who is not a certified teacher and who is not in the country when I am recruiting - there are lots of white faces kicking around to fill in gaps when needed).

.


That's great to hear from a recruiter Suphanburi. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll be hoofing it when looking for a job and have several demos in my head. I hope I can avoid the seemingly very kind supervisor who hires you and then turns into a screaming tyrant on your first day. I had that before. Took me two months to get out of there and nearly had a nervous breakdown!
Don't know why I brought that. Just making conversation I guess. Nervous about finding a decent job. D :
Take care.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You won't be blocked from teaching English as a Second Language if you don't have a CELTA or TEFL or TESOL. It's up to you if you want to spend the money or time doing a CELTA. What CELTA does do for you is it gives you an idea of the things that are important when it comes to teaching ESL. Although the irony of the matter is in Asia, except, for Korea and Japan, the most important aspects of teaching ESL such as having the students produce language during each lesson and a lot of the other activities, are allowed to be ignored by the students. In many of the countries that I have taught in if you as much as annoyed the students by trying to push them or compel them with such difficult tasks you invariably got fired.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 670
Location: Vientiane

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bluetortilla wrote:
how TESOL became to be seen as an industry and started following industry models.


Quoting myself, lol, egoist! : D

I just feel that if all our education, from primary school to research institutes is going to turn into a high profit corporate scheme, then I believe the world is in serious trouble.
At the very least, such an atmosphere destroys all passion and inquisitiveness toward discovery and will inhibit creative solutions to our problems. It will stifle and bottleneck research as research will be for the benefit of the corporations who fund it.
We have a tradition throughout our civilized history as a species, both east and west, that education is venerable, above reproach, and sacrosanct. Both traditions emphasize the limited value on money on happiness, though in practice people have always been greedy of course. I do feel though that our traditional values say a lot for the high regard of scholarly pursuits as opposed to material ones. Now however, it doesn't seem that there is a corner of the globe left that is not tainted by consumerism and the damage that is wreaking. Preachy enough? You bet. I believe if you have convictions you oughta state them.
Now I ran a training school for over 15 years, so I understand the business end of it. And I firmly believe in ethics in business. But finances were a means to an end in my school; we made a living but we weren't in it just as another way to make money. There's a difference.
For me, I don't care how the world is changing (well I do as it's getting worse in many ways, but that's not going to stop me). Last I heard Disney English China is owned by MacDonald's and Starbucks (don't know if that's true or not but might as well be- I guess Disney has to be getting a cut). It's sad to contribute to crap like this by working for such a place. I feel for my children.
My opinion. Guess it's pretty obvious that it's strong.

Relevant to getting a job. Research who will hire you and find out about how they operate.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3947
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I looked at your initial post, here's what I pulled out:

- taught English mostly full time for 27 years
- have two BAs (and no TEFL cert)
- owned a training school for 15 years
- ran an English program at public school for 3 years
- earned first level in a Japanese language test
- have 3 uni credits in TESOL (but no completion of a degree in TESOL)
- member of JALT & ETJ

These are essentially career highlights that end up on a CV/resume. However, in terms of relevance, how does each of the above confirm you're capable of delivering quality teaching? When (if at all) and how frequently was your teaching formally assessed (i.e., classroom observation and feedback)? Do you have proof of what's referred to as "evidence of successful teaching?" Moreover, during the past 27 years, how much of that was actually as a full-time teacher, and when were you last in the classroom as a full-time teacher? Do you have proof of ongoing professional development---growth as a teacher? Lastly, would you feel comfortable writing a statement of teaching philosophy?

No need to answer these questions; they're simply food for thought that give you an idea of what some prospective employers consider when evaluating teaching candidates.

I'm not a CELTA holder (my degree entailed an ESOL practicum), but the CELTA/equivalent TEFL certs appeal to the better employers because they include 6 hours of supervised teaching practice. The trainee is observed teaching actual students and subsequently, assessed and given feedback on his/her teaching. As Shroob and Plumpy pointed out, with the CELTA, employers know that the applicant has received a standard level of teacher training that included successful teaching observations. Understandably, CELTA isn't just for newbie teachers.

Whether or not you get a CELTA is your decision... keeping in mind prospective employers' expectations and the qualifications of your competitors.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Experienced teacher- Do I really need a CELTA? Reply with quote

bluetortilla wrote:
suphanburi wrote:
a CELTA just to teach some English classes?
Is CELTA a racket? If y
"Do you NEED a CELTA" = no
BUT
in a lot of SE Asia where most people have no clue it is the "brand" of TEFL/TESOL cert that is most widely recognized and most of them have never heard of JALT or JET.

It is strictly an "employer" issue (and a bit of good marketing on the part of Cambridge (it is their brand of TESOL cert)).

IF you walk into a language center looking for a job then you won't need it. Dress for success and have some paperwork that shows you know what you are doing in a classroom.

IF you are applying from outside of the country you are wanting to work in then they often use it to weed out the "tire kickers" and I doubt that you have much to authenticate your resume with (beyond the degrees).
Such is the problem with being self employed.

(personally, I just ignore anyone who is not a certified teacher and who is not in the country when I am recruiting - there are lots of white faces kicking around to fill in gaps when needed).

.


That's great to hear from a recruiter Suphanburi. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll be hoofing it when looking for a job and have several demos in my head. I hope I can avoid the seemingly very kind supervisor who hires you and then turns into a screaming tyrant on your first day. I had that before. Took me two months to get out of there and nearly had a nervous breakdown!
Don't know why I brought that. Just making conversation I guess. Nervous about finding a decent job. D :
Take care.


I'm not a recruiter (other than to fill our own needs).
I am a school admin (as the primary job) and I understand where you are coming from.

It is going to be about the doors you knock on.

Every time you change countries you go to the bottom of the ladder again although the good news is that the rise to the top is usually pretty quick for the skilled and talented.

.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 670
Location: Vientiane

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
As I looked at your initial post, here's what
I pulled out:


Lastly, would you feel
comfortable writing a statement of teaching philosophy?

No need to answer these questions; they're simply food for
thought that give you an idea of what some prospective employers
consider when evaluating teaching candidates.


I hope I've gotten better at, er, 'controversy' with my fellow
forum members so I apologize in advance for any flippancy/sarcasm. I have pretty strong convictions as some folks on this forum know. And no, it’s not cuz I’m old (not that you would think that but others have chided me with that before). I’ve always been this way. Without principles, what are you? Anyway…
One- I really do appreciate your time and consideration in response to my first post. You don’t know me, and your concerns are very practical. Two- I do believe that I stated my philosophy towards TEFL, education and (to a lesser extent but still evident) to teaching itself in my response to both Shroob and myself. To sum up, I find the commercialization of English teaching to be very unfortunate. I must say, however, that I’m encouraged by the responses I’ve received, including this one.


nomad soul wrote:
I'm not a CELTA holder (my degree entailed an ESOL practicum),


Yes, so did mine! As I’ve pointed out, I already have a TESOL ‘practicum’ as part of my MA. I worked really hard in that course.

nomad soul wrote:
but the CELTA/equivalent TEFL certs appeal to the better employers
because they include 6 hours of supervised teaching practice…understandably, CELTA isn't just
for newbie teachers.


I’m not sure why CELTA would appeal to ‘better employers’ or what ‘better employers’ actually means. In my job now I am far more concerned about curriculum, class management and motivation- things of that sort, than I am with the department. I’m trusted and there is good student feedback both ways. It’s a self-correcting system.
If CELTA is seen mostly as a cost-cutting measure to avoid investing teacher training, I don’t consider that appealing to what I’d consider a better employer. In my early years, my employers encouraged me and sometimes made me attend workshops and seminars. Almost every major city has them. It became a good habit that stuck and has been a big part of my development as a teacher over the years.
As you know, there is plenty of significant debate raging good and bad over CELTA in many forums. I think almost all that CELTA provides can be had for free, and yeah, to me it is definitely a newbie thing. That doesn’t make it bad, just basic.
Finally we have to consider ’supervised’ teaching. To whose standards (and biases)? What qualifies professionals to become observers? By what criteria? It might seem easy for a English mill supervisor to say, ‘OK, he’s got a CELTA; that shows he can teach,’ but the reality is far more complicated than that and a ‘good’ employer should know that.

nomad soul wrote:
Whether or not you get a CELTA is your decision... keeping in
mind prospective employers' expectations and the qualifications of
your competitors.


Well, as you can see I’m doing my best to avoid it. However, I must say that I don’t think of other job seekers as ‘competitors.’ I far prefer to think of them as colleagues. I just do not have that sort of business mind set of winners and losers that a lot of folks seem to have. Never did and never will. People reading this may say ‘lighten up! it’s just a figure of speech’ but i think our words, particularly in how we apply them to other human beings, are very important. While the fact remains that much of TEFL has indeed become a business, it doesn’t mean that I have to see it that way or contribute to it (unless out of desperation).
Actually though, I’m far more interested in linguistics these days and trying to get into grad school in China. Laos (or Myanmar) is sort of sabbatical for me to study either of those languages. So all I’m really looking for is a part-time job that pays $500 or so. The whole career thing is kind of moot, so I’m just wondering if I really need a CELTA. EFL is fun, I like it, it’s rewarding- but it’s a vocation to me, not a career anymore.
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Neutrino Girl



Joined: 01 Apr 2010
Posts: 125

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are just looking to make $500 by working part time, presumably under the table without a sponsored visa, I can't imagine your lack of a CELTA being an issue. You could probably make that doing privates instead of working at a language school anyway.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 670
Location: Vientiane

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neutrino Girl wrote:
If you are just looking to make $500 by working part time, presumably under the table without a sponsored visa, I can't imagine your lack of a CELTA being an issue. You could probably make that doing privates instead of working at a language school anyway.


Yes, that would be nice and I was tempted to do that here in China, but what if you get caught? I don't think it's something you just waltz into and do- you should probably know people. I heard that typical salaries for English teaching in Laos start at $500. Great, but it sounds like you still need a visa.

That's why I'm asking about CELTA. So far everyone including you has told me I'll be OK without it. Thanks.
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Neutrino Girl



Joined: 01 Apr 2010
Posts: 125

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bluetortilla wrote:
Neutrino Girl wrote:
If you are just looking to make $500 by working part time, presumably under the table without a sponsored visa, I can't imagine your lack of a CELTA being an issue. You could probably make that doing privates instead of working at a language school anyway.


Yes, that would be nice and I was tempted to do that here in China, but what if you get caught? I don't think it's something you just waltz into and do- you should probably know people. I heard that typical salaries for English teaching in Laos start at $500. Great, but it sounds like you still need a visa.

That's why I'm asking about CELTA. So far everyone including you has told me I'll be OK without it. Thanks.


You will be ok without it as long as the government of the country you're in doesn't require it for a visa. However, it might be tough to get a visa for part time work.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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Location: Vientiane

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neutrino Girl wrote:


You will be ok without it as long as the government of the country you're in doesn't require it for a visa. However, it might be tough to get a visa for part time work.


Some countries are a lot more procedural than others, that's for sure. China went smoothly for me but that's just cuz I was lucky. Now I'm watching friends leave in droves, teachers et al. : (

But you mean that there are actually immigration bureaus that require a TEFL certificate like CELTA (without a 'or equivalent' clause)? Which ones?

It doesn't apply to me but obviously an MA in TESOL must surely make the requirement unnecessary, right? Sorry for splitting hairs, I'm just trying to info from other job seekers.
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Neutrino Girl



Joined: 01 Apr 2010
Posts: 125

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bluetortilla wrote:
Neutrino Girl wrote:


You will be ok without it as long as the government of the country you're in doesn't require it for a visa. However, it might be tough to get a visa for part time work.


Some countries are a lot more procedural than others, that's for sure. China went smoothly for me but that's just cuz I was lucky. Now I'm watching friends leave in droves, teachers et al. : (

But you mean that there are actually immigration bureaus that require a TEFL certificate like CELTA (without a 'or equivalent' clause)? Which ones?

It doesn't apply to me but obviously an MA in TESOL must surely make the requirement unnecessary, right? Sorry for splitting hairs, I'm just trying to info from other job seekers.


Different countries have different requirements, and I have read about some places requiring a BA + TEFL Cert as the minimum to get a work visa teaching English (but I'm really sorry, I couldn't tell you offhand which countries those were....maybe other posters would know, I can't remember!). Yes, surely an MA in the field would definitely meet / exceed that requirement. Is that what you have? I didn't see that in your initial post. But again, if you want to work part time, I think that you may struggle to get an employer to sponsor your work visa in most places. There are usually minimum work hour requirements for visas and employers are responsible for reporting and paying tax on those hours. That's what your biggest hurdle may be at this point.
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