CELTA course report (2b)

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

Of the 57 former trainees answering our second-phase survey, 37 (65%) were still in ELT. Three were teaching another language and 2 more were involved in education in a non-teaching capacity, giving a total of 42/57 (74%) still in the education sector.

The table below gives the results for both phases of the survey:

When took course Responses In ELT In teaching, other Not in education
Early 05 24 19 (79%) 1 (4%) 4 (17%)
Early 04 16 10 (63%) 2 (13%) 4 (25%)
Sum. 03 33 18 (55%) 4 (12%) 11 (33%)
Sum. 02 27 12 (44%) 6 (22%) 9 (33%)

The combined results of the two phases of our survey give the following figures:

When took course Responses In ELT In teaching, other Not in education
6 months out 40 29 (73%) 3 (8%) 8 (20%)
2 years out 60 30 (50%) 10 (17%) 20 (33%)
ALL 100 59 (59%) 13 (13%) 28 (28%)

As shown above, six months after the course, 73% of trainees were still in ELT, with a total of 80% still in teaching as a profession.

Two years on, those figures were 50% and 67% respectively.

Of those no longer in teaching, we had people in admin, business, fashion, theatrical lighting, selling cars and "being a Mummy", among others.

How those no longer in teaching rated the course

Second time round we asked those no longer in teaching to rate the course (a question we had not asked in the first edition of the survey), with the 17 reponses being given in the following table:

Date of course # 5
Very useful
4 3 2 1 Not
v. useful
Early 05 5 4 0 0 1 0 4.4
Sum. 03 12 7 2 2 1 0 4.3
ALL 17 11 (64%) 2 (12%) 2 (12%) 2 (12%) 0 4.3

The average 4.3 is in fact exactly the same rating given by those still in teaching (see previous page).

The course itself does not therefore seem to have influenced whether or not they stayed in teaching.

Reasons for not staying in TEFL

The results of the first edition of our survey suggested that poor pay was a factor for 6 of the 20 people who had left the profession.

The second time round, poor pay was mentioned by only one of the 20 people no longer in English language teaching. One other had been unable to find a job in ELT (cf. none the first time).

For most, it seems to have been either a question of "another opportunity" arising or else, more specifically, they had gone into another area of teaching.

For some, English language teaching is a means of travel. When she answered our questionaire, Kath Robinson was working as a reporter in Ibiza, and planning to go back to teaching in the winter, and said: "Doing the course was a turning point in my life. Essentially I now have a ticket to earn a living in almost every country in the world. The hardest thing is deciding where to go!"

Apart from the jobs mentioned above, we had two people teaching French, one French and Spanish and another teaching her native Spanish, having found it difficult to get a job as an English teacher as she wasn't a native-speaker.

How long they stay in English teaching

Most of the people taking the CELTA course do take up teaching jobs, at least initially. The following table shows how much experience in ELT they acquired before leaving the profession:

Date of course # None Under month Under 3 mnths Under 6 mnths Under 2 years
Early 05 5 0 1 0 3 1
Early 04 6 1 1 3 1 0
Sum. 03 15 3 1 1 5 5
Sum. 02 15 1 0 1 1 12
ALL 41 5 (12%) 3 (7%) 5 (12%) 10 (25%) 18 (44%)

As can be seen, nearly 70% stayed in teaching for at least three months, with 44% staying between six months and two years.

Of those answering the survey, we detected only one for whom the experience does not seem to have been a good one. Gina May cited poor pay as her reason for leaving ELT, and said "the jobs available were awful [with] low pay and lack of support".

Gina also felt that "the course was simply too short and too intense". She didn't give up teaching, however, now teaching Spanish to children in Norway.

Similarly, the first phase of the survey found only 1 out of 21 for whom ELT had been a bad experience.

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

Was the course worth doing?

For those staying in teaching, though not in ELT, taking the CELTA course does seem to have been worthwhile. Winifred Monaghan, working as a supply teacher for 6 months and about start a new job teaching French in a secondary school in Liverpool said "the CELTA helped me a great deal with regard to planning and evaluating lessons. I also learned to use a variety of teaching strategies to improve my teaching and throughout the course I gained a great deal of confidence within the classroom".

Shortly after completing his CELTA course, Alan Flynn moved to Finland: "I was offered a job as an IT Technical Trainer based partly on my previous work experience and probably more so on the confidence I was able to project during the interview in my ability to teach."

Alan feels that "the CELTA course offers a lot of transferable skills". He says that "although I chose to take a different position I still use the lesson planning techniques and other skills learned on the course".

Currently "temping at a financial company whilst looking for work", Liz Jones "was unsure English teaching was for me long term". The course was, nevertheless, "one of the best experiences of my life". Liz says: "I made some amazing friends and I feel that I really got to know Barcelona even in such a brief time. My proudest moment was looking at my certificate and seeing the list of countries that I am now certified to teach in! Look out world!"

It was Jayne Leggott who gave her current job as "Being Mummy!" She said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching TEFL and was sad to leave. The school I worked in was really supportive, I taught a range of different classes, had some great students and met some really interesting people. I would definitely like to teach again in the future!"


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