Monday, April 27, 2015


A bit of good news.

Before I got hot by the flu, I managed to interview for, and get accepted to, the CELTA programme in Saigon starting on Nov. 16th.

The CELTA is a sort of limited teacher training course. Very intensive, but it only lasts 28 days. I probably should have done it years ago, but oh well.

Anyway, I passed the interview with flying colours, and if anyone is thinking about doing it, here's how I did it.

I talked to Will about his experiences, read a few tips and strategies for the interview online, and a few horror stories about people who got rejected. After doing the actual interview, I can only imagine the sort of monumental fuck up  person who would fail that interview. They asked me a few questions about my application, and asked me why I wanted to do the CELTA.

My answer for why I wanted to do the CELTA was that I wanted real observed teaching because, despite teaching for years and (almost) having an MA, I have never really been properly assessed. I have had dozens of observed classes, but my marketing skills (it is private education after all) are judged, rather than my actual teaching ability. I put butts in seats = I am a good teacher. At Moonkkang yes, in real teaching? I also want that piece of paper on my resume, though I didn't mention that fact. My interviewer seemed very happy with that answer.

He asked me if I understood the commitment, I told him I plan to live and breath CELTA for 28 days. He seemed to think that was a good answer.

My pre-interview task (application) had a single mistake, which when pointed out I was able to fix on the spot. I think if you do that pre-interview task well you will be way ahead in the count before you even start the interview.

He warned me about a couple of spelling/punctuation errors on the last page. My bad, I was trying to finish it before work and didn't proofread the last page. Again, because I caught them right away he seemed to not care too much, as the rest of my application was good.

He also asked me to give a couple of examples of how I would teach something. I had shy vs. embarrassed. I simply told him what I would do in a MK class and he seemed to think it was a good answer. There were a couple more like that.

So if you want to get in, here's what you do (or at least what I did):

-Do a good job with your application and pre-interview tasks. I have an MA in linguistics and it still took me over six hours to get through. If you did it in 45 minutes, you fucked up. Do a good job on that and you are well on your way. This will involve actual research, reading books or websites and hashing out decent answers.

-Your motivation matters. If you are doing it for a piece of paper then you will be rejected. Not that you shouldn't want that paper (I do) but you should actually want to learn and improve. If you don't genuinely want to do that, maybe reconsider taking the course.

-Everyone always says how intense it is, so make sure you get across that you get that, and are ready for it (and actually get it and be ready for it).

-Have ideas for how you would teach. The embarrassed/shy above is one example. There are many more. Have a few good ideas. If you have no teaching experience think about what your own teachers did.

-don't be a goof. It should go without saying, but anyone who has lived abroad knows that while most people who live abroad are interesting and amazing people, 10-15% are rather ....... different. If you aren't with it enough to have a stable internet connection before you start the interview, are too hung over to do a good job, swear like a mother fucker after a clusterfucked shitshow, and generally seem like a clown who can't take criticisms and doesn't want to learn, you won't get in.

Anyway, I'll probably post more on CELTA once my dissertation is submitted, but for now I am in.

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