By Daniela Pesconi-ArthurBeing an English teacher from Brazil and having always worked there, I was happy with my English degree. But I had dreams of travelling the world. I had dreams of using the English language in other places; with different people. The ICELT (In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching) is a certificate for those teachers who already have some experience in the classroom. It is a world recognised certificate (as is the CELTA, but the CELTA is for inexperienced teachers) and you learn loads.
While working at a language school in Brazil, my lovely coordinator and my director asked all the teachers if they wanted to do the course. It would involve a 3-week intensive phase, and after that each trainee would have a tutor to work with on the assignments, lesson preparations and lesson observations. I jumped into the opportunity as fast as I could!
I have to admit and warn you, dear wannabe teacher. It wasn’t easy. It is not easy. Once you learn to “think critically” about your lessons, there is no way back.
The intensive phase was exhausting. We had workshops all day, and the rest of the time was used to read, do “homework” (ever think of assigning three pages of homework to your students? Well, think again…) and prepare mini lessons. In the classroom, you just hoped the tutor wouldn’t call your name. Anyway, the intensive phase ended, and we went back home and back to work. Get on with those assignments, have some lessons observed (my tutor was a lovely, funny man, who I’d had the luck to have as a teacher) and get it over with.
Think it was that easy, eh? Again, I was completely wrong. The intensive phase had been the easiest. My first assignment had been “murdered”… I thought I knew English by then (hadn’t I been teaching it for 6 years?), but when I first met with my tutor and saw all his corrections in RED (I never marked my students work with a red pen again!)… I nearly cried! If you are a native English speaker, you might not go through that. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. But one thing I tell you: don’t be intimidated. Whenever your assignments look like they’ve just come back from a paintball field, just smile, take it humbly and move on. Just remember: an ICELT (or CELTA) course is a place to learn how to be a better teacher and a better person: organized, patient, self-motivated, tough, resilient, creative. And also, be prepared… you’ll be able to embrace the world!