CELTA course report (1b)

What about those who do not stay in ELT (TEFL)?

Of the 43 former CELTA course trainees who responded to the survey, 21 (49%) are no longer in ELT, although 4 are in another field of the teaching profession, with two back in the US teaching high school, and one "teaching math at a tutoring center & working at a restaurant" (you see, it's not just English teachers who need to supplement their income at times!) - giving a total of 25/42 (58%) in teaching of one form or another.

With a further four having gone back into full time education, and four more currently job hunting, we therefore have 9 out of 43 (21%) definitely no longer in TEFL.

An immensely useful experience

For those going into other fields of teaching, the course seems to have been useful. Alison Ralston, now a middle school Spanish teacher, reports that "I loved the CELTA course and found it immensely helpful. In a very short time I felt prepared to run my own classes. Although I am able to employ many of the techniques I learned in CELTA in my current classroom, I wish I could find a course as efficient and effective to show me the tricks of the trade while teaching Spanish to adolescents in a traditional school environment here in the United States. I thought the course was a perfect blend of theory and application and it was immensely useful."

Even those no longer in English teaching in fact seem to have found the CELTA course a useful one. An Environmental Education Officer, former trainee Sarah Grundy (who found the course a "life-changing experience") says "the CELTA course gave me many transferable skills that have been invaluable in each of the roles I've had since (…) I'd be a bit stuck if I'd never planned a lesson or played the role of teacher before".

Bad experiences

Only one of the 21 (under 5%), Seamus Keating, seems to have found TEFL as a profession a bad experience, reporting "no security, no support, no professional recognition, no resources, clueless money-grabbing cowboy academy owners unwilling to invest, long hours, travelling, cancelled classes without pay etc". We have no doubt that such language academies do exist but our results suggest that, happily, this is not the norm.

Evidence from elsewhere suggests that many of the "cowboys" have been driven out, perhaps by increasing competition - something which is certainly the case in Barcelona itself.

We accept the fact that if all former trainees had answered our questionnaire, the 5% figure might be higher: it is possible that the better the experience, the more likely trainees were to answer.

The course plus subsequent teaching: a positive experience

As a further indicator, we rated comments made as showing whether or not the trainees no longer in ELT found the whole experience (CELTA course plus any subsequent teaching experience) a positive or a negative one. 9 out of 21 (43%) were very definitely positive, 2 (9.5%) we judged definitely negative, with the remaining 10 (47.5%) either making no further comments, or ones that did not reveal attitude to the experience.

Reasons for not staying in TEFL

"Poor pay" was the reason given by 6 out of the 21 (28.5%) for no longer being in ELT, with none saying that they couldn't find work, and only 1 saying "poor prospects".

The remaining 14 gave a variety of "other reasons", among which the most common (5) was that teaching English had primarily been a means of seeing something of the world. One, Kathryn Henderson, "found that teaching English was a great way to travel and live in another country"; Lane Bruchey (one of only 2 who did no teaching after the course) "decided to backpack around Europe and then move back to the United States".

Emma Hines "did the CELTA course to help me with the 3 month voluntary work that I had already applied for in Bolivia" and is "pleased that I have it to go back to should I choose to".

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See also

Report 3 (2013)

About the Report

Report 2 (2003-2005)

Still in ELT | No longer in ELT

Report 1 (2002-2004)

Still in ELT | No longer in ELT