10 Jul Learner Spotlight: Tom P.
Tom P. spoke to us about his long-time passion for teaching and how it pursued him to finally switch careers and commit to a full-time teaching job. Find out about how he successfully completed the CELTA program and what advice he gave to future trainees.
Hi, Tom! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m originally from the south east of England but now live in Dubai. I have been living in Dubai for about 4 years now although I still spend some of the year in the UK. When I’m not teaching I love anything to do with football. I have been engrossed in the ‘World Cup’ for the last few weeks, but I also play from time to time. I’m also a regular down the gym and enjoy watching movies.
Why CELTA? What drew you into it?
I was always passionate about teaching and it felt like the right time for a change and to pursue this passion. Teaching has always been something that I wanted to do ever since leaving University; however, my career path took a different route. I chose CELTA as the qualification is from the University of Cambridge (UK) and highly respected throughout the world. I relished the fact that I could learn a great deal about teaching in a short period of time. It tackled both theory and practical which would fully prepare me for the real world of teaching.
What did you consider as a career path before teaching?
Before teaching my career path was very much corporate. I had several jobs within different businesses before eventually deciding to take the plunge and become a teacher. Within the corporate world, I always enjoyed the training aspect of my role and managing teams so in some respects it wasn’t a huge change of direction. I use a lot of the same skills that I always have.
“I relished the fact that I could learn a great deal about teaching in a short period of time.”
What are your memories of CELTA? How was the experience?
I have fond memories of CELTA. You form a bond and friendship with the other students on the course as you go through the experience together. I still keep in contact with them. I remember the first class that I taught which was daunting at the time, as it was only the second day of the course, but also very exciting and rewarding. The experience is intense as you are learning a lot in a short period of time but the rewards are great as it prepares you for the real world.
What is life like after the CELTA program?
Since the CELTA program, I have been teaching adults on a regular basis which I thoroughly enjoy and every day throws up a different challenge. You are continually learning as a teacher.
” The experience is intense as you are learning a lot in a short period of time but the rewards are great as it prepares you for the real world.”
Describe a typical day in your teaching career.
The first thing I think about in the morning is how I want my classes to go for that day so therefore preparation is key. I decide what learning outcomes we will focus on during the day and plan accordingly and this gives me the confidence to deliver a successful class. During class, time flies as it is interactive and fun and the students always react to this which creates an enjoyable working environment.
What was it like for you as a teacher adapting to a new culture?
Well, I had to adapt to a new culture in terms of a different part of the world but also the change in culture from the corporate world. For both instances, I found the transition very smooth as I believe people pretty much want the same things whether you are a student or an employee.
What do you feel your strengths and weaknesses in teaching are?
I would say my strengths are the ability to connect with students and motivate them to get out of their comfort zones. I would also say my preparation, creativity, and enthusiasm help in every class and I explain difficult things in an easy to understand way. Being a native speaker one of my weaknesses is to use idioms or expressions that the students may not understand but once they are explained and the students understand what they mean then everything is ok.
What advice would you give to other CELTA trainees?
If you are serious about becoming a teacher then go for it!! It is a great experience and it will give you all the tools and confidence you need to become a competent teacher, but remember the course is intense and hard work so prepare yourself for that. Good luck!
Are you looking for a career change or career break? Consider enrolling in a TESOL or CELTA program.