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TEFL Cert in Russia
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Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 310
Location: Saint Petersburg

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As you are a more experienced teacher than I, and given that I haven't done the CELTA myself, your opinion is more qualified in this matter than mine. I would add, however, that experiences of employers immediately offering jobs over the phone at the mention of CELTA may apply more to non-native teachers. Of course some schools demand CELTA as a minimum qualification, but most in my experience accept native speakers with no qualification, especially with at least a few months' experience and a good reference to back that up. As always, I may be wrong, especially about Moscow.

some of my teaching experience doesn't go with what we're told here

That's no surprise. A four-week course can't possibly prepare you for what you will meet in six years of teaching. Does CELTA tell you what to do in a late evening class when your students are all tired and don't want to cooperate? That's a genuine query actually, not a smart-alec rhetorical question, I'm interested to know. It's just that knowing what to do in such situations isn't something you can really teach. A good teacher is part linguist, part psychologist and part entertainer. When you walk into a classroom at 8pm and immediately sense that it's going to be 'one of those lessons', and that your group of middle-management and secretaries isn't going to assume the roles of sales manager/prospective client in order to practice prepositions and time expressions, you know you need to shelve that lesson and come up with something less demanding but equally professional, and fast.

Methodology is all very well, but we can all take a critical look at our own work without paying $$$'s for the pleasure, or ask an experienced teacher to evaluate a lesson for us in return for a meal or a few beers. Methodology doesn't help you on the days when three of your four-person group are off ill and your carefully planned 40-minute group discussion is shot to hell.

As someone who is clearly dedicated to teaching ESL as a career, do you mind my asking whether you have already seen evidence that your CELTA will pay for itself, and if so, over what length of time? Also have you found that employers are more interested in your future CELTA than your 6 years' experience? I'm curious as most of the people I know with CELTAs are native speakers that have been in teaching for around two years or less, it would be interesting to get a different perspective.
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Joined: 11 Jun 2004
Posts: 15
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wel, I'm only in my second week, now, so I can't say for sure what they prepare you for, though ceemingly no, they don't give a lecture on what to do in extreme cases like you mentioned. They obviously say a lot about what to do with different types of groups and the degree of their tiredness. The thoroughness of tutors' evaluation is incomparable with friendly observation however professional your collegue might be.
As for when CELTA will pay for itself, I can tell you that I expect I'll be able to earn about 800-1000 $ a month apart from private students and before CELTA 500-600$ was my maximum. But that's not the most important thing. Some schools which are not connected with Russian Ministry of Education will see me as a possible employee, and without CELTA I was nobody for them. Not many places in Russia know what CELTA is, in fact, but those who know are usually much nicer to work with in terms of salary and environment. And Russian M of Ed sucks, I can tell you plainly. So one of my goals is to get a chance to be free of necessity to work for schools/colleges/institutes controlled by it.
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Trojan Horse

Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 61
Location: Europe

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello ilugru,

Good luck to you, hope it pays off for you as you expect it to. I think as a non-native teacher your stituation is different. So many people want native speaker teachers that despite your academic qualifications, it probably does pay off to have some kind of teaching certificate.

Yes, I would most certainly agree that friendly evaluation is not part of the CELTA course strategy. Quite a few people on our course found the evaluations downright nasty, one broke off the course, a couple were often in tears. I thought it was completely over the top. The thing you'll notice though is that when you get round to the second bout, suddenly you'll all be getting much better evaluations (although the teaching won't have changed dramatically). I think it's just to give the impression that you've suddenly cottoned on and learnt so much on the course. I can't say I noticed a huge difference in anyone's teaching styles towards the end but suddenly we got "A" and "B" evaluations for the same effort that gave us a grudging "standard" in the beginning.
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Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 310
Location: Saint Petersburg

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny thing that Trojan said there... When I started kicking up a fuss at the BS about being paid $3/hour (what they tried to tell me was the maximum they'd give a non-qualified teacher... didn't reply when I asked if the students paid less for the privilege), the ball-breaker DOS woman said 'okay, I'll observe a lesson'. She came in, sat at the back of the class and glowered at me right from the start of the lesson.

After about five minutes she began gesticulating bizarrely, abruptly stopping whenever my students turned to follow my bewildered gaze. Afterwards, she tried to tell me that the lesson was so bad that she'd have to cut my wages. I laughed and told her I'd had enough and had other job offers, and was about to walk out the door when she pulled out what she thought was her trump card, thinking that I was there on one of the BS's dodgy 'work' visas. She told me I'd have to work for $2 an hour and pay for their CELTA course if I wanted to get more money (and stay in the country, reading between the lines.) Hmmm... Pay them for the privilege of working? The rest I've already written in this forum about a hundred times by now. Moral of the story; think hard about what they're really selling you.

It's a pyramid selling scam, only slightly less geometrically aesthetic.
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