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Graduate story: Life after the Cambridge CELTA qualification

maria Tine, a graduate from Celta course in Oxford TEFL

Maria Tinel is an Australian English language teacher based in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is a mother of three boys who reinvented her career after putting it on hold to raise her family.

She has a passion for languages, connecting with people and is also a great listener. So, she enrolled in the 100% Online Part-Time CELTA course with Oxford TEFL between October 2021 and February  2022.

In this article Maria tells us how she started her career as a English teacher and how her professional life changed after completing the CELTA qualification.

Life after CELTA

Hey there, I’m Maria. Originally from Australia, I’m now living in beautiful Switzerland, where I get to teach English at one of the coolest language schools in town.

Last year, I completed the 100% online part-time CELTA course at OxfordTEFL, which was an awesome experience that helped me become the teacher I am today. I’d like to share what I’m doing and how I got here.

Why did I change career paths?

I spent a significant portion of my career in corporate travel, working for a large global organisation in Paris and Sydney.

But, about a decade ago, I made the decision to put that career on hold to raise my children. During that time, I moved to Singapore, and I discovered my love for Southeast Asia, especially Bali and its people.

I decided to start my own vacation rental business in Bali. Hired some amazing local Balinese staff to help me, and before I knew it, I was also teaching them English. It was such a fulfilling experience for me, knowing that I was helping them gain a skill that would benefit them in the long term.

Fast forward six years later, I moved to Switzerland, and I was faced with a new career decision! With my prior experience teaching English in Bali and my love for interacting with people from all walks of life, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career teaching English as a second language.

maria tinel.graduate from celta course in oxford tefl

Why did I choose to study CELTA?

One of the great things about the CELTA qualification is its international recognition. Employers all over the world know and respect it.  This means that wherever I go in the world I can take my CELTA qualification with me and use it to secure employment opportunities in different countries.

The CELTA program is designed by none other than Cambridge University, a highly esteemed institution known for its academic excellence. That’s why I knew that when I enrolled in the program, I was in good hands. I knew I was getting the most professional and comprehensive training available in the TEFL world. 

However, what really drew me to the CELTA program was its practical focus. This was a game-changer for me because I wanted to learn how to be a teacher, rather than just learning about teaching. And that’s what CELTA did! Don´t get me wrong, we still had theory to cover and assignments to complete, but the Teaching Practice component was at the forefront of the course and it allowed me to apply the theory I learnt to real-life teaching situations. 

What was the online teaching practice like?

So, let me tell you about my experience with the online teaching practice component of the CELTA course. I chose to study the part-time online CELTA at OxfordTEFL because it offered the flexibility to fit the course into my busy schedule, and also gave me the opportunity to learn how to use online teaching tools. 

The online teaching practice component was such a well-organised part of the course. We were divided into groups of five trainees, and I was lucky enough to be in a fantastic group with trainees from all over the world, each with different ages and backgrounds. During each session, we took turns teaching 45-minute lessons to a group of adult students. When we weren’t teaching, we would observe our fellow trainees’ lessons and prepare feedback for them. 

After the teaching practice session, we would take a short break and then it was time for feedback. The feedback I received from my peers and tutors was invaluable and constructive. With each lesson, I was able to refine my teaching skills. 

The most insightful experience for me was observing other trainees when they taught. It was great to see what worked and what didn’t work in a lesson, as well as how the students reacted to the lessons and the dynamics of the classroom. This helped me deliver better teaching practice classes in the following session, and the improvement was noticeable! 

Overall, I had a fantastic experience with the online teaching practice component of the CELTA course. It was great to learn from such a supportive and experienced group of tutors and fellow trainees.

Why did I choose to take the CELTA course with OxfordTEFL?

While I may have made it seem like a breeze, let me tell you – CELTA is no walk in the park! It’s an intensive course that requires a lot of hard work and dedication to make it through successfully. 

I’m so happy I went with OxfordTEFL for my CELTA qualification – they were awesome! The CELTA tutors were fantastic and really helped us get to grips with the theory of teaching. They gradually improved our teaching skills, so we felt confident and prepared. Overall, it was an amazing experience.

What did I do after graduating from the CELTA course? 

After graduating, it took me about three months to land a part-time job teaching groups of young learners and teens face-to-face. This wasn’t my original plan as I really wanted to focus on teaching adults, but my hard work and dedication soon paid off and my manager started assigning adult learners to my portfolio. 

I am fortunate to work at a highly professional school. I underwent a two-week training program where I had the opportunity to observe and be observed by the Academic Director and other qualified teachers. Additionally, every six months, the Academic Director observes one of our lessons to audit our performance and provide valuable feedback to ensure we stay on track and continuously progress as teachers.

Fifteen months after completing CELTA, I now teach a diverse range of students, spanning from young learners to teens and adults. My classes cover a variety of needs including General English, Business English and Cambridge Exam Preparation classes. 

It’s been a challenging year with a steep learning curve that I’m now starting to reap the rewards. What was my secret weapon to get through this stage of my career? Read on to find out more….

How did I move from teaching English online to teaching English in a school? 

Well, I learned as I went along, making tweaks to my teaching. It can be a bit nerve-wracking. But, I had a wonderful team of highly experienced colleagues to support me at my current school. Plus there are loads of resources out there such as webinars, videos and workshops.

I also found joining Oxford TEFL Connect to be particularly helpful. The platform offers an extensive range of information, webinars and forums that I can access at any time.

You can also book a 30-minute online coaching session with a qualified teacher/tutor once a month. This has been invaluable for me, as I can receive individualised support and guidance on any teaching challenges or questions I may have. 

Why did I choose to take teacher development courses?

Teaching young learners and teens can be quite a challenge, but I found a great solution to help me navigate this teaching terrain.

I quickly enrolled in two courses offered by OxfordTEFL, namely the Teaching Young Learners and Teaching Teens development courses. These are part of their suite of Teacher Development Courses, which are designed to help teachers like me upgrade their skills in specific segments of ESL teaching. 

Both courses were incredibly beneficial, providing me with practical tools and strategies that I could immediately apply in my classroom. The course content was divided into three modules and was delivered entirely online, which meant I could go through it at my own pace.

During each course, I was assigned a highly knowledgeable and experienced tutor. At the end of each module, I had an online one-to-one tutorial, where I had the opportunity to discuss any challenges or questions with my tutor. 

I’m currently enrolled in the Teaching Cambridge Exam Classes teacher development course. I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills and knowledge as a teacher, and I’m confident that this course will take my teaching to the next level. Plus, I can’t wait to help my students perform their best in the exam. 

What’s next?

My next focus will be on developing my skills in teaching Business English and incorporating my own experience working in corporate environments.

My goal is to help my students achieve their language goals, whether it’s improving their communication skills or expanding their vocabulary in their field of work.

I find it fascinating to discover the different industries, services, and interesting occupations of my students, and use that knowledge to make our lessons more engaging and relevant.

I will definitely enrol in the Teaching Business English teacher development course as well. I believe it’s important to invest in myself just as my students invest in their professional growth.

Also, I’m really excited about creating my very own online English teaching service. With so many platforms and options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.

That’s why I’ve decided to enrol in the Teaching English Online teacher development course at OxfordTEFL next year. I believe this course will equip me with the skills and knowledge I need to successfully establish and grow my online teaching business.

To wrap things up

I can honestly say that the CELTA course was worth every penny. It equipped me with all the essential teaching theory and practical experience that I needed to kick-start my new career teaching English as a second language.

What I love most about my current work is that I’m not just teaching, I’m continually learning and developing my skills. It’s incredible how much my students teach ME, and I believe THEY make me a better teacher. I love having the challenge to assist them in improving their language skills. It’s a truly rewarding experience!

Would you like to gain an internationally recognised qualification to teach English as a foreign language anywhere in the world? The Cambridge CELTA is your fist step into a rewarding career as an English teacher and is requested by around 75% of employers worldwide.

We offer:

4-week 100% Online CELTA courses

14-week 100% Online CELTA courses

4-week face to face CELTA courses (in Barcelona)

Get in touch with us at [email protected] to find our more or apply via the course page above.


Returning to his career of teaching: a graduate story – Denis Hub
From CELTA trainee to language school owner: A Graduate story: Artyom Schelkunoff
Interview with Online CELTA graduate: Kseniya Hiarchuk
Interview with Online CELTA graduate: Sophia
Where are you now? CELTA Graduate story: Emilio Hernández

Meet the author

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