I began my CELTA course in Atlanta (Certificate for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, formerly ‘Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults’). There were only 7 of us in the class, which was good in some ways. The school was only a half mile from Megan’s house, which was fortunate for me because it saved me the $120 parking pass for the month. So I walked the 15 minutes to and from class each day. It wasn’t long before I realized I would need a backpack. I’d never carried one before, so it was kind of cool picking one out.
I also soon realized that this class was going to be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever taken on. On Day 2 we started teaching our “students.” The students were from all parts of the globe, coming here for the same purpose: to learn English. It was so interesting getting to know them and their cultures, and what they did in their own countries prior to coming here to the US. Their levels varied from barely able to speak English to higher-level students who really knew their grammar and challenged us every step of the way! Since we were teacher trainees, the English students got to take the course for free. It’s kind of like going to get your hair cut at the Beauty School! 🙂
My classmates and I developed a closeness that I never expected. We were all in the same boat, struggling to write a 750-1000 word paper each week, learning how to make lesson plans (even for us “teachers,” it was a new process), getting only a few hours of sleep each night, and working straight through our weekends. Many lunches were skipped preparing to teach our students in the afternoon. We would have “input sessions” in the morning, where we were taught how to teach, then in the afternoons, we took turns teaching our students, who were divided into two groups, by level. Our instructors, Robert and Jackie were awesome! They were strict, yet positive and gave us plenty of encouragement and feedback. One big goal I had was to receive an S+ (Above Standard) on a teaching practice, and finally on the 8th of the 9 lessons I taught, I did! I was never so proud of a grade! 🙂
Our instructors dubbed us “CELTA’s Angels”! I wish I’d had time to see more of Atlanta while I was there, but that was not my purpose. I was there to pass that class! I did get to go dancing a few times and I was glad for that. But all too soon, it was over and we were saying our goodbyes. We had a small party with the students on the last day, and wished each other luck with our respective teaching assignments. We would be going all over the world to work. How exciting!