CELTA: The Interview

The purpose of the interview is to find out whether you’re suitable for the course and whether you’ve got the potential to pass. My interview was conducted over Skype (voice, no video) and lasted for about an hour.

I came prepared. I read through my entire application, skimmed through a few chapters of Scrivener’s Learning Teaching, memorized TEFL jargon I thought would be nice to throw in to show off my knowledge. I thought of good answers to typical interview questions and lastly, I compiled a short list of things I would ask them. 10 minutes from the agreed time and I was pumping with adrenaline and ready to go!

Surprisingly, it was very relaxed interview. I was slightly disappointed by this, actually. All the work I’d taken to prepare for it had gone to waste. I was asked a couple of questions about my application and on the English language, but nothing too difficult. They mostly wanted to find out more about me and my past experiences.

For the rest of the “interview” I asked my questions. We went through the course organization, the resources, the location, the students, the tutors, visa and immigration queries, and the job opportunities. Everything I wanted to know was answered. I instantly felt more confident about my decision to complete the course with them. At the end, I was told I had a position and I received my acceptance letter.

I’m aware that this is not how most CELTA interviews are conducted but perhaps the lengthiness of their application task (18 pages) made up for the laxness of the interview questions – who knows?

All in all, I’m glad I over-prepared. You can never predict what type of interviewer you’ll get. They may ask you tons of questions, or hardly any. Read through your application and go over the questions you struggled with the most and finally, think of at least 3 questions to ask about the course. It’ll be worth finding out what you’re getting yourself into before you take the plunge.

My Travel Bucket List

Over the past year, I’ve been adding and removing things from my travel list.  I can’t say that I won’t change it after I publish this but here it is as of today.


      • Ride a camel, visit the Great Pyramids of Giza, and cruise down the Nile, Egypt
      • Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe


      • See the Sea of Stars at Vaadhoo island, Maldives
      • Ha Long Bay and Pongua Falls, Vietnam
      • Visit the world’s highest nature reserve at Palawan Island, Philippines
      • Thailand
      • India

AUSTRALASIA and Its Surroundings

      • Explore the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo, New Zealand
      • Visit The Kimberley and Whitehaven Beach, Australia
      • Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef
      • Stay in a bungalow on the ocean in Bora Bora, French Polynesia


      • Visit Chichen Itza and swim in the cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico
      • Attend the Carnavaaaal in Rio de Janeiro and see the Iguazu Falls, Brazil
      • Argentina
      • Panama (Feb-2013)
      • Drink something on fire (Flaming Bob Marley shots, Ecuador, Mar-2013)
      • Stand with one foot on either side of the equator (Ecuador, Mar-2013)
      • Spend 4 days in the Amazon jungle (Ecuador, Mar-2013)


      • France
      • Spain
      • Italy
      • Greece


      • Yosemite National Park
      • Yellowstone National Park
      • Antelope Canyon
      • Explore The Wave
      • Las Vegas
      • Chicago
      • Washington D.C.
      • LA (Jan-2013)
      • Trek through The Grand Canyon (Nov-2012)
      • Ride roller coasters in Orlando (Nov-2013)
      • Attend a Broadway show in New York City (Chicago, 2010)
      • Feel the power of the Niagara Falls (Jun-2009)

Other Travel-Related Items

      • Fly in a helicopter over a scenic part of the world
      • Stay at any of these 48 epic hotels
      • Experience zero gravity
      • Go fly-boarding
      • Go parasailing
      • Go bungee jumping (San Jose, Costa Rica, Feb-2013)
      • Go zip lining (Boquete, Panama, Feb-2013)
      • See a volcano spitting lava (Tungurahua, Mar-2013)
      • Climb a volcano (Cotopaxi, Mar-2013)

Do you have a travel bucket list?  What would you recommend?
Need help writing your travel or life lists? Read this article to get you started.

4 TEFL Letdowns

Teaching Children

We’ll sit in a circle, sing The Wheels On The Bus, play Pass the Parcel and do endless rounds of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes…

Kids. Running. Everywhere.

too much

The Work Week

The hours are kind of crazy but at least I’ll have the whole weekend to recuperate.


Pay Day

Yeah, baby! It’s pay day! I could use a lavish night out on the town.


paid late

Communication between school administration and teachers

If my private class, all the way across town, gets cancelled, the school will notify me immediately so I won’t have to waste my time travelling there.

I spend 40 minutes on a cramped bus, hike up an incredibly steep hill and my student never shows up. I call the school – they apologize for not letting me know.


This post started off somewhat light-hearted but the more I wrote, the more bitter I got so uh, sorry about that. Just letting you know how it is.

Were you, in any way, disappointed by TEFL? Share your thoughts with the class.

Flaming Bob Marleys

Flaming Bob Marley Shots

Flaming Bob Marley shots at the Leprechaun Bar in Banos, Ecuador

I had the pleasure of downing one of these little babies when I was in Ecuador.

They’re made from rum, grenadine, mint and banana liqueurs and they don’t taste too bad either, so if you’re ever in Banos, make sure to stop by the Leprechaun Bar.

An Odd Border Crossing

This was by far the oddest border crossing I’ve ever done. And I’ve experienced a few in my day. Flashback to February 2013 – I had just begun a tour with G Adventures. Little did I know what I’d got myself into.

Costa Rica

We left Costa Rica’s hippy, beach town of Puerto Viejo and made our way to the border at Sixaola.  It took us about 1 hour. When we got to the government office, we signed immigration forms and lined up to get our passports stamped for departure. Then, our guide ushered us to the perilous bridge of doom.

Dun, dun, DUN!!!
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Triangular Oblong Robot Knobocop

That’s the name of the formula I was learning in my Monkey Mathematics class a few weeks ago. I wish I could tell you what made up the equation but I woke up before it was revealed to me.

My brain does some crazy things when it’s on autopilot.

I’m having a hard time interpreting this one – any thoughts would be welcome!

For other responses to today’s Daily Post, click here.


CELTA: Observations and Feedback

Photo Credit: @Doug88888 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: @Doug88888 via Compfight cc

The idea of observations and feedback is to target the areas you and your peers need to improve on so that you can teach better lessons as the course progresses.

What happens when I’m observing?
You observe your peers’ lessons and hopefully you’ll be able to pick up on things the students really enjoy so you use them in your own lessons. It does get boring at times but you can tune out for the tedious moments. Make sure you look like you’re paying attention, though. Nod your head every now and then – that should do the trick.

What happens when it’s my turn?
While you’re up there playing teacher, your peers and your trainer watch and take notes. Your trainer also reads through your plan and evaluates your performance. It’s odd to look back and have 6 pairs of beady eyes staring at your every move in silence, but once you get past your third lesson, you won’t even notice them anymore. Don’t panic (like I did), focus on your lesson and most of all, focus on your students’ reactions and respond to them naturally.

When you’re done, you’ll write a short statement about your performance. Then, your trainer writes their comments alongside yours, but doesn’t show it to you until after feedback, where the group goes over what went well with your lesson and the areas that could be improved i.e. what you screwed up. Dealing with criticism is difficult no matter how constructive it is. Try not to take it personally, but look at it as a way to ace your next lesson. Dwelling on the negative will only set you back, and there’s very little time to waste on this course.

Here are a few things you’ll be evaluated on:

  • Classroom management – How do you deal with troublemakers? How do you group your students? How do you stage fluency activities to maximise student participation?
  • Rapport – Do your students seem comfortable with you and do you get along with them well?
  • Teacher talk – Do you ramble on unnecessarily? Can you give great instructions? Can you grade your language to suit your students’ level?
  • Teacher voice – Do you speak audibly and clearly?
  • Effectiveness of activities – Do your activities help your students learn the target language?
  • Learner engagement – Are your students engrossed in your activities or are they bored and waiting for your lesson to end?
  • Conveying and checking meaning- How do you present new language? Do you ask good CCQs?
  • Modelling – Are you good at demonstrating intonation and pronunciation?
  • Correcting learner language – Do you correct on-the-spot or do you wait until the end of the lesson to bring it up?

In your day-to-day TEFL life, you’ll only be observed sporadically and the feedback you receive may not be as thorough as it is on the CELTA so make the most of it while you can!