If you’re wondering what the CELTA course does, it basically teaches you everything from lesson planning to grammar points to pronunciation exercises. Part of the program focuses on actual teaching, so you’re tasked with researching and developing segments of lessons, depending on the assigned skill.
In short, the CELTA is an excellent program, and I strongly encourage anyone serious about teaching English abroad to invest in the course. I also think it’s best to take the class in the country or region where you would like to teach, the reason being that the instructors will be able to break down specific issues that are common in that language. Trust me, it helps a lot.
But going through the CELTA intensive is like stubbing your toe every day–in the same spot. By week three, it’s like an Acme anvil just dropped on your foot. My classmates and I were so tired, and so frazzled, and so sleep-deprived, that we gave up all pretenses of making an effort with our hair and wardrobe, and came really close to showing up in pajamas.
The six of us made it through the program. I met some great teachers-in-the-making, and I learned far more than I’d expected to. Most of it was a blur at the time–and for a month afterwards–but I’m seeing the value in the course with every session. Something, however, was still missing.
I’d moved into an apartment the evening of my first day of school, but a failed attempt at greed on the part of my landlady meant that I had to repack my four suitcases and move into a small bedroom in her flat. Sleep deprivation, coupled with living out of–and on top of–those suitcases for another month, caused a major meltdown. I knew I needed to find a permanent place to call home when a ten-minute search for a pair of jeans set off a crying jag. I went to school puffy-eyed and wearing sweats.
Why was finding a home so important to me? Looking back, I think it was a couple of things:
First, I needed my own space. Growing up, I had only one sibling, and we each had our own room. Even after I moved out of my parents’ house, post-college, I spent the majority of those years living by myself. Now, here I was, away from home and from everything that made sense to me, living with an elderly couple who were strangers to me–and don’t speak any English. I couldn’t even cook for myself–a simple omelette–because it was her kitchen, and she was extremely territorial. Nice, but territorial.
Second, I was ready to start “mi vida en Madrid.” When you spend months planning a major change in your life down to the last detail, potholes in the road aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. All I wanted was to unpack and figure out this next chapter. The crazy, Sangria-soaked chapter.