Diary of a London CELTA-girl


International House London CELTA training centre 

Week Four

MEC Commissioning Editor and recent CELTA graduate, Jenny Lovel, writes:

‘It’s nearly over. We return from the bank holiday weekend having completed assignment four, a reflection on what we’ve learnt on the course and having had some sleep. Despite the end being in sight the class is feeling less than jubilant. Last week one of our classmates left the course, unable to cope with negative teaching feedback and a couple of failed assignments. We’ve become so dependent on each other that he’s sorely missed. In addition, the bank holiday weekend has given us a taste of the social lives we’ve put on hold to do the course. Everyone tells stories of breaking down in tears of happiness in restaurants and partners with frayed patience. We’ve also all lost weight while doing the course but none of us would recommend the unique CELTA blend of sleep deprivation and sugary foods as an alternative to Weightwatchers.

On Wednesday I have my final lesson. I’ve now got the lesson planning down to a mere three hours so, in contrast to my other lessons, I’ve actually had some sleep the night before. The lesson is on the present perfect (shudder) so I decide to keep it simple and elicit the form of the language from the students. Unfortunately I write something on the board which isn’t right and fail to notice until heckled by my tutor. Deeply embarrassed, I teach the remainder of the lesson looking a bit red and sweaty but in general the lesson has been a success. More importantly, it’s my final lesson and my teaching practice is over! I feel like putting my jumper over my head and running round the classroom in celebration. The only remaining challenge is another un-assessed “carousel” lesson (where the class is divided into groups which rotate to a different teacher every 15 minutes) on the Friday. But a game of “Guess Who?” superficially to revise vocabulary about personal appearances goes down a treat and everyone enjoys it. We’re in the pub by 4 pm eating baklava, a gift from a student, and drinking beer. We’ve all passed.’

Do you remember the day you passed your CELTA? Have you ever used MEC to help you reinvigorate the present perfect? What do your students think of MEC? Leave a comment.


  • Jenny,
    I wanted to say ‘Whew!’ at the end of this.

    As well as bringing back memories, these postings would make great discussion points in a teacher training seminar. Funny, vivid, horrific moments… lots to relate to personal experiences.

    I hope life is less frantic now.

    Posted by Susan Holden on June 12th 2007
  • Hi Susan,
    I’m glad you enjoyed my blog and thanks so much for your comments. Now that the CELTA course is over I can reflect on how useful it was and how pleased I am to have had the experience. I have to admit that a relaxing holiday in Spain has helped to put this in perspective!
    I had my fair share of funny, horrific and wonderful experiences as you say, and I think these were heightened by the course being so intensive. The pace was relentless, and bouncing back after a bad lesson was often difficult because we were all so tired and felt that we had an emotional investment in our lessons. What I found refreshing was that we weren’t competing against each other. Everyone in my teaching group was willing to help out if anyone seemed stressed or upset. It enabled us to put our experiences in perspective, and to see the funny side where sometimes it may not have been immediately apparent!
    Anyway, I’m pleased that my CELTA blog brought back memories.

    Posted by Jenny Lovel on June 12th 2007
  • Hi Susan,
    Thanks for your blog. I will be attending the CELTA course soon and it is nice to have some feedback about how ‘intensive’ this course really is. As much as I am familiar with lesson planning, I do not enjoy it much at all. So I guess I’ll just have to put my game face on and try my best. I hope I will also be in a cooperative teaching group such as yours were. I’ll let you know if I survive my CELTA experience =)

    Posted by Flavia on February 08th 2010

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