The 7 Worst Things about the CELTA

If you’re going to take the CELTA, you’ve probably been warned: It’s not easy.

“You’re taking the CELTA?” some certified teacher has scoffed, “Ha! Good luck.”

You’ve been cautioned; it’s a commitment, it’s stressful, it’s expensive, and hey, you might fail. Well, guess what? It’s all true, and here’s why. Here are the top 7 worst things about the CELTA.

#1 You will have NO free time. None.

Are you almost finished watching a new TV series? Have you just started reading chapter 22 of a thrilling detective novel? Well, you won’t be finishing either of those any time soon.

IMG_1734 (2).JPG

The CELTA will decimate you’re free time. When you’re not in class, you’re writing lesson plans and completing assignments. When you’re not writing lesson plans and completing assignments, you’re feeling guilty because you should be.

And if you’re one of those unlucky souls to be completing the CELTA in their hometown where family and friends are constantly present to distract you from you’re studies, then you’re going to have to lay down some serious boundaries. “Sorry guys, I can’t go out. I have to finish an assignment. Again.”

#2 You Won’t Be Doing Any Sight-Seeing

So you were told that you would have no free time, yet you decided to complete your CELTA in Bangkok anyway, because, “Hey, I can write lesson plans between trips to the Grand Palace and floating market.”


No. Nopedy-nope. You can’t. And that nagging thought that you are only a short bus ride away from the beach or the mountains is only going to make you’re studies that much harder. There might be sunshine and waves a few miles away, but you’re going to be sweating over an old copier.

So prepare yourself, hopeful sightseer, because you’re going to spend the majority of your CELTA praying for that last weekend when you’ll finally be free of observations and lesson plans. See you later, self-reflections! Hello, gorgeously tanned skin!

#3 Dear Native Speakers, Grammar is Going to Beat You Up

Remember when you were thirteen and you’re teacher asked you to label the nouns, verbs, and adjectives in a sentence and you thought, “Why do I need to know this nonsense? I can write and speak just fine.”

As per usual, thirteen-year-old you was wrong. It turns out you really did need to study that grammar. And if you plan on staying in TEFL, you’ll need to know a lot more than what a noun and a verb is. Time to download some Jeremy Harmer, ladies and gentlemen.

#4 You Will Have to Redo an Assignment

If you were a straight-A student in school, then this one might be hard for you. No matter how knowledgeable you are about the world of grammar and TEFL, there will probably be an assignment or two you will have to redo. That’s what the CELTA is all about: improving. …Even when you were really hoping you were perfect already.

IMG_1475 (2)

#5 Money, money, money!

Speaking of not passing every assignment, what happens if you fail? You certainly don’t get your money back. The CELTA course will cost several thousand dollars, and if you take the CELTA abroad, then you will also be paying for food and housing and transportation. You might even be paying for airfare to get to your CELTA locale.

This monetary investment can add even more stress to the already demanding observations and assignments. Sure, the experience and certification is definitely worth it, but sometimes it can really feel like you’re gambling with your hard-earned money.

#6 Your New Friends Are Just as Stressed as You Are

You and you’re classmates have spent the morning sweating about the third conditional, dissecting you’re own strengths and weaknesses, and then loading you’re brain with practical teaching methods. One of your new buddies suggests you go for a beer after class, but instead of having an uproarious time with these funny, creative, intelligent crop of new teachers, you spend the evening with glassy eyes, recounting how you failed the last assignment.


There might be some fun days on your CELTA, but if you think you’ll be abandoning you’re worries by going out for a pint with your new CELTA buddies, think again.

#7 Criticism. So much Criticism.

The necessary kind.

Criticism can be hard to hear, but sometimes it’s necessary.

By the end of the CELTA, you will be a better teacher. You may decide not to teach “The CELTA Way.” You may not spend all of your class time doing pair-work, or you’re students might actually love your teacher-centered approach, who knows. Regardless, your teaching will improve. If nothing else, scrutinizing every aspect of your teaching for four weeks is sure to make you more aware of yourself and your profession.


Don’t let these 7 worst things about the CELTA scare you off.

In the end, it will be worth it. Yes, these are the top worst aspects of the CELTA, but these things are also the best, because no other course will cram as much experience into four weeks than the CELTA. When you’ve finished, you will have the boost of the Cambridge status on your resume, the new TEFL methods, and the experience of meeting new people and taking a class in a foreign country.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s