Kseniya Hiarchuk is from Belarus and recently completed our 100% Online CELTA course. She has worked as a teacher of English in Belarus for three years and then she moved to Qatar. She worked as a cabin crew member until deciding that she wanted to change her career. In this blog post, she explains her decision, experience on the course and plans for the future.
Why did you decide to take get a CELTA qualification?
I was thinking about changing my career and I wanted to come back to teaching. The only qualification I had was a Bachelor degree I had got in Belarus. Unfortunately, the degree I got was not a qualification that would help me to get a job abroad.
My fiancé is a teacher. I asked him which certificate I needed to get job in his school. He said that his boss mentioned that the Cambridge CELTA is considered to be a good and recognizable qualification. Having a CELTA qualification means a person has a higher chance of getting a job in an international school.
What attracted you to the 100% Online CELTA course with Oxford TEFL?
I wanted to get into a CELTA course in Doha, but unexpectedly Doha closed for visitors on the 16th of March. I came back to Belarus when the current epidemic situation caught me and restricted my movements. I planned to marry in April, but unfortunately that had to be postponed. My fiancé joined me in March and we spent a month in Belarus.
One day I was going through information about the Cambridge CELTA in Doha when I opened oxfordtefl.com. I was surprised to see that there was an offer to take the course online. That seemed to be a great opportunity to get a certificate whilst being at home and in a city where there was no center to get the CELTA at all. Also, I was excited to get real practice of teaching online on the course. I was excited to learn about Zoom features and try to teach online using it. At the same time I was afraid that my knowledge would not be enough to get into the course and finish it successfully. Oxford TEFL has very good reviews and a good reputation. They provided support in finding job.
What was the application process like?
I filled the form in and answered an essay question about my language learning experience and was then required to complete a grammar test. The test was not difficult for me. However, it required going through some basic grammar information. It refreshed my knowledge and prepared me for hard work. On completion of the test I was interviewed by Justin. During the interview he commented on my test and asked me about the course. He was friendly and I was accepted onto the course. The same day, I paid for the course and received the pre-course task to do.
What was your day to day life like during the course?
The first week was not tough; I was positive and full of energy. There were three groups of us, in total 16 people. Each group had a tutor. My studying process can be described in the next way: I taught 2 classes per week of 40 minutes and I taught 2 classes of 60 minutes during the last week. Other trainees in my group were observing my classes. After that, we had an hour discussion and each of the ‘teachers’ received feedback from our colleagues and a tutor. Every day I had input sessions that lasted for 2 hours. During these, the tutors taught us how to teach different classes and different levels. I also had 4 assignments to do during the course. I had time to prepare for classes in the morning and some time after an input session in the evening. I tried to do more planning and write my assignments on Saturday and Sunday.
What was the teaching practice like?
I delivered my classes online. I had a Power Point together with my lesson plan ready. I planned all the instructions I wanted to use. I used my other laptop to have my lesson plan in front of my eyes. I taught A2 and B2 students. Most of the students were from Spain and the Czech Republic. They were people of different ages, gender and nationalities. They were talkative and positive. I enjoyed teaching them.
What were the other people on the course like?
There were five of us in my teaching practice group: Alex from Switzerland, Chris from the USA, Mona from Romania and Mostafa from London (born in Syria). Everyone was very supportive, especially Mostafa. Each of us faced different difficulties. I think the team you are in means a lot and luckily I had a very good team. We shared our feelings and we helped each other to continue on the course. There were 16 people in total on the course from different countries such as Russia, Sweden, Canada, and Africa. We supported each other, providing useful links and information. There was a moment when I lost my enthusiasm and energy. I felt like I wanted to improve, but each and every class I faced new difficulties. During those times, the people from my team and the tutors helped me.
What were your tutors like?
I had two tutors on the course. Jon is a great professional with an amazing sense of humor. The feedback on my lessons with Jon was very helpful and informative, as well as practical and applicable. He allowed us to try and then discuss what we did, how it worked and why and what we should change in future classes. He was honest and straight in his analysis, setting high standards, but at the same time being supportive. He has a good sense of humor. What I really liked on the course is that theory went together with practice.
When I moved to the second group of students, the tutor was changed. The elementary group that I taught was under the guidance of Nigel. He was positive and honest in his feedback. He was always supportive and approachable. We discussed our classes and got his recommendations for the next classes as well.
What was the most challenging aspect of the course for you?
The assignments were challenging for me. I didn’t pass my first assignment from the first submission. I had to change it and resubmit. I passed all the next assignments from the first submission. It required time and effort to finish them. However, I feel that I have improved my writing skills while doing them. I also improved my knowledge about teaching theory. I got a list of very useful books which I will also use in the future to improve my knowledge.
Which one thing do you wish you had known before the course started?
My expectations about the course were realistic. I am glad that I had a good grammar knowledge background. The tutors provided me with a good list of websites and books. If a student can use available resources, one will manage to complete what is needed.
Who would you recommend this course to?
If you would like to be a teacher and you are looking for knowledge and tools to improve your professional skills, you should enroll yourself into this course. Make sure you have a sufficient amount of time and you are ready to work hard. It might not be easy, but it will help you to feel more confident in teaching English.
Don’t miss this chance to gain your CELTA qualification 100% online. Complete the application form here and take the first step to becoming a certified CELTA teacher intensively over 4-weeks or 13-weeks.
How can I find out more about the 100% Online CELTA course?
Visit our main course pages for our 4-week or 13-week 100% Online CELTA course or complete the enquiry form below and we will be happy to help you.