Last week I published my five reasons that people who are considering a CELTA should go ahead and take the course. I mentioned a lot of positive aspects of the course, and I have to say that I 100% believe it was a worthwhile investment for me.
However, there are a few reasons why people may wish to think long and hard about investing in the course so, in the interests of fairness, here are my five reasons you shouldn’t take a CELTA course.
Make no mistake, £1,300 for a four week course is not loose change. As I mentioned in my previous post, if you’re looking towards EFL teaching as a long-term option then the course will pay for itself over time due to the potential higher earnings you could get. However, if it’s just a quick couple of months of teaching you’re after in order to earn a bit of travel cash/beer money, it’s perhaps a little pointless. This brings me nicely on to my next point…
You don’t need it
In the grand scheme of things, a CELTA certificate isn’t essential to ensure that you get an EFL job. Sure, it can help make your application look stronger and potentially help you earn more money, but you won’t struggle to find a job without it.
Some countries are fussier than others, but there are also plenty of schools in a lot of Asian countries that will happily take you on if you’ve got a white face and can speak English. A lot actually depends on how fussy you are – not the school!
It’s been a good four years since I actually did anything academic, so this one took me by surprise.
Throughout the four week course you have to submit four assignments – including potential resubmissions – as well as lesson plans for six hours of observed teaching. Back when I was teaching in Singapore, my lesson plans consisted of a bullet pointed list which I would occasionally type up on my iPad if I had the time. Safe to say I got something of a shock when I realised that my lesson plans for the CELTA course had to be laid out perfectly and detailed to the point of being anal. The lesson plans actually took considerably longer to create than the length of the lesson itself!
It takes over your life
Ok so it’s only a month, but prepare to have no social life, become a recluse and generally think of nothing but the CELTA course for those four weeks. I really underestimated how intense the course was going to be. At the interview, my soon-to-be tutor said you really need to write off your social life for the whole month. Naturally, I thought this was a bit over the top and carried on going to gigs and hitting the gym throughout the first couple of weeks.
Come the end of week two, I was completely rundown and overcome with illness. Every spare hour I got from studying (which wasn’t many!) was spent at the gym or doing something active instead of having a bit of downtime; it completely wrote me off. It showed in my work too, as one of the lessons I taught towards the end of the week was actually considered ‘not to standard’, which piled even more pressure on me!
You aren’t guaranteed a job at the end of it
Of course, the CELTA certificate goes some way towards making you more appealing in the eyes of the employer, but it’s not as if you finish your final lesson and you’re fending off the job offers left, right and centre. You still have to go through the application process just like everyone else, go through countless Skype interviews (shirts on top, pyjamas on the bottom) and sell yourself just as anyone else would. Don’t think that it’s a free pass in to employment!
All in all, the CELTA course was really worthwhile for me. I feel I’m a much better teacher than I was before the course, but it doesn’t come without its pitfalls! In my opinion, if you’re looking into TEFL as a long-term option then the CELTA course is definitely a worthwhile investment. However, if you’re not too sure whether you want to be a teacher and just want to do it to earn a bit of money to fund your travels as you go along, then I would seriously suggest thinking long and hard before parting with so much effort and money.