I never aspired to be a teacher. It was never a well thought out or meticulous plan, nor was it ever a goal I can remember ever having. My first encounter with teaching happened in 2009 after I had just resigned from a long-term job in the corporate world and relocated myself back to my home town and found myself in need of an income. I lasted about two weeks. I became a victim of self-fulfilling prophecy (which in psychology is roughly defined as a misconception that later becomes true). I was convinced that I neither had the patience nor the qualifications to be a teacher, so I quit and told myself, reassuringly, that teaching was not for me and that I could move past the experience with no guilt for barely even trying.
Skip over two years to 2011 when I was a twenty-four year old high school student working towards completing my diploma. A good friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in being an online tutor for conversational English lessons with children. I expressed my concern about not having any experience, and I was in turn assured that these students were only looking for someone to speak in English with. So I thought about it and eventually agreed because, again, I couldn’t turn down the offer of an income. However, I told myself that I would do it for six months, maximum, just so I could have something to put on my CV. As it turned out, six months turned into three years.
My first few weeks of ‘teaching’, that self-fulfilling prophecy kept coming back to me. I was telling myself that I was nowhere near qualified to be in charge of anyone’s learning and I was pretty sure that I was doing a lousy job and that the students would ask for a different tutor at any moment. I did notice, though, that patience wasn’t really an issue anymore and that I was actually even enjoying myself when I wasn’t berating myself for not being an actual teacher. Then a day came, maybe two or three months after I started, when a student’s mother sent me a message thanking me for helping her daughter and that she was noticing a lot of improvement in her English. I felt really touched by her words and it was probably the first time I realised that I was doing something worthwhile. Nice words and compliments continued to come in from other students and parents, to my surprise, and that’s when I started thinking that I might actually be good at this and that this is something that I could actually do as a career.
At that point, I knew that I had a responsibility and that I owed it to my students to be able to give them the legitimate help that they needed. I could have taken their compliments and bloated my ego and told myself that I was doing great just as I was, but deep down, I knew that there was more to it and that I needed to be more than just a conversation partner. That’s when I came across CELTA.
CELTA presented itself to me at such a fortuitous moment. As soon as I found out about it, I began doing the research and it instantly became a top-priority goal. CELTA was very intimidating in so many ways. Firstly, because it comes from the University of Cambridge–which has been my dream school since as far back as I can remember, but that’s another story. Secondly, it’s described as a four-week full-time intensive course that, according to my research, people sometimes drop out of due to the stress and the workload. Thirdly, the application process involved a five-page pre-interview task that would determine whether one qualified for an interview, which would then determine whether one qualified for the course. My doubts resurfaced several times and I questioned myself constantly about whether or not I was capable of doing this. What I did know, however, was that I really wanted it and I was going to do whatever was required to get it.
I got my high school diploma in mid-2011 and once I received it, I was qualified to apply for CELTA. I was accepted into the course and I completed it at the end of 2012. Since then, I’ve encountered some obstacles which have been hindering my career progression as an English language teacher–such as not having a university degree–though slowly but surely, opportunities have presented themselves to offer solutions to the adversities.
This blog is dedicated to the journey that started in 2011–it’s an ongoing journey that hasn’t been easy and has yet to really take off. There are stories to tell and stories that haven’t happened yet and I’m certain that the path I’m on isn’t linear, as it never has been in the past, but as of this writing, my goal is to complete DELTA. Whether this will come true in the coming years or disappear entirely, we will have to wait to find out.
For more information about CELTA >> http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/celta/
For more information about DELTA >> http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/delta/