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Jenny.Rtw@gmail.com

Posted By: Jenny <Jenny.Rtw@gmail.com>
Date: Wednesday, 18 December 2013, at 10:00 a.m.

Now about a month ago I finished my Celta course in Krakow, with the British Council.

I did some teaching and had the chance to put myself on the test, which proved me I have learned a whole lot, but I knew that before anyway...

The course is 4 weeks long - seriously, I have never 1) learned so much in such a short time 2) worked so hard for such a long time, but before you get scared of, 3) never enjoyed learning and working hard so much. Also seriously, it was fun all the way. :)

I skip all the hard facts about Celta courses as you can read them anywhere (and most of the stuff you read is true).

So, why am I so happy about choosing to do the course in Krakow (yep, Krakow is beautiful, just lovely actually, you could wake me up at three am and take me for a walk, I'd be in. The amazing old buildings, good food, kazimierz with it's laid back atmosphere, warm and cool and endless bars and cafťs and street art, nice people, so on and on). But there are more, just as important factors.

As I mentioned the course is very intense and that means, it will, if you are not totally hard, cold blooded, touch you. It did for me anyway. It was personal. It isn't just about writing assignments and lesson plans, it is about how you deal with the workload, with the feedback of your tutors and your fellow course members, how you feel in the classroom and around your new Celta friends, or let's even call it family for the four weeks.

So your tutors/teachers Magda, Basha and Declan are part of your new family for the time being. And they are good company ;)

Obviously, the are professionals, knowing their business. But what I found incredible is, they do this crazy course every month; every month new people, old problems, same topics, .... but I didn't feel it. They seemingly treat it with enthusiasm every time again. Not just we worked hard, they were working hard, both for and on us, too. And I felt, they did it with their hearts. I just guess, they must love their job, I don't know how else Basha and Magda manage to be so warm and caring, how Declan keeps his good well placed humor.
Coming back to their professionalism, why did it feel easy and hard at the same time to learn so much, because they use the techniques themselves and i saw the effect for myself (short attention span? Don't you worry, they are masters at keeping you on track. And you will become one, too), countless lesson ideas and techniques I collected subconsciously in our input sessions. During feedback sessions, I hung to every word they said as I quickly realized, everything they say is really useful, true stuff. Just buy it, they are Gods if it comes to teaching. But find out for yourself ;)

I finished the course pretty good, and I can for sure say, it was not just because I worked hard, but because my tutors got it out of me, supported me, and most of all kept me highly motivated.

This is what constant feedback does to you, you are exhausted and done after a hard nights work, your sheer endless lesson plan is getting blurry in front of your eyes and you just wanna get it over with. Then after the lesson, they tell you, how well you planned, how good your freer practice was and how much the students liked your story, what's o ever. But that, to improve things, you should talk a bit less, watch the timing, if you plan this a bit shorter you have....
Forgotten is the hard work, you are already back on track for the next lesson with fresh improvement ideas and having a boost of energy knowing your lesson wasn't all that bad, yes, you can actually do this!
And never be afraid, they always find nice words - their aim is not to get your moral down but up up up.

So, for me, most part of the course was about my colleges and about the tutors. I was lucky about having a really nice group, but if you pick Krakow, you pick not just a nice place, but, in my eyes, the right tutors.

After the course, I went to Istanbul, where I started a job in a somehow fairly unorganized school and even though it's not like the Celta classroom anymore, I clung to my knowledge as it was my life saver. I might be saying this with an inch of proudness, but while I saw other teachers close to drowning, I managed to paddle back up with my Celta techniques.

It is a line much used to describe Celta courses, but I can't help it, it just so true: it is hard but so rewarding. For me, just the experience was worth all the time, money and effort.

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