Ioana Serbanescu is an English teacher at Colegiul National Bilingv George Cosbuc in Bucharest where she has taught English language, culture and civilization and human rights for fourteen years, as well as preparing students for Cambridge exams. She is a speaker and examiner for Cambrige exams, an IELTS examiner and has also collaborated with the British Council within the Britteen Club.
Additional to her teaching experience, last summer she chose to continue her professional development and take the CELTA course. Here is her opinion on the benefits of the CELTA training.
When Do Teachers Stop Learning?
In the story of my life, the summer of 2013, when I did the CELTA, marks the beginning of a period of renewed enthusiasm for teaching and professional development. When I first shared my intention to take the course with other English teachers that I knew, I encountered all kinds of opinions – some saidit’s ok, others that I should not take it because I already have teaching experience, and only one who said it’s really worth it. So I embarked on the CELTA adventure not knowing exactly what to expect.
What followed was a month of intensely gratifying hard work with lots of fun times and tense times, challenges that you come up against and obstacles you learn to overcome. And in all this you are not alone – there’s always the friendly and professional support of the tutors who will guide you into finding your own solutions to improve your teaching, and the warm atmosphere of the ‘prep’ sessions among the other trainees. It was a month of constant learning, learning by doing and by trial and error, a month filled with feedback to help you grow.
Never before had I been given so much professional attention, never had my lessons been under such careful scrutiny. I was quick to realize that the only way to improve my teaching was to follow up on what I was told and make sure mistakes are not repeated. The feedback was always considerate but to the point, and trainees were expected to show progress throughout the course. This is mainly why I think the amount of teaching experience has little to do with the decision to take the CELTA. There is always room for improvement in everybody’s teaching, and you’re always encouraged to push your limits and become better irrespective of the level you start at.
Overall, apart from the wider employment opportunities the CELTA offers, it’s on a personal level that its merits should be acknowledged. I have returned to teaching better equipped to face the challenges of the classroom, and more ready to experiment with new techniques. I have also become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses and I am constantly reflecting on my teaching searching to identify points for improvement and leaving the classroom with the satisfaction of a job done to the best of my professional abilities. Last but not least, a month of vigorous teamwork helps to develop friendships that will probably last for a very long time.