So you want to be a Celta trainer? Part 1: getting to the starting line

image of Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in training Handbook coverWho says so?

You do.  You have been asking for help and advice on social media about the ins and outs of getting trained up as a Celta trainer.  This gave me the impetus to collect what I know and what I think about this area in a series of blog posts.  This is for you.

Why listen to me?

I have been a Celta trainer for 13 years and a Celta assessor for 10 years.  In that time, I have acted as a training supervisor and trained Trainers in Training (TinTs) in my capacity as a Celta trainer, and I have conducted external moderation of TinTs as a Celta assessor.  I have been through this process as a trainee, trainer, and assessor, in other words.  I think I know what I’m talking about.  I think I have something useful to say.  Take the following information, opinion, and advice for what it’s worth.

Motivations?

You have decided that you want to become a Celta trainer.  When people decide to make the move into teacher training, they may be doing so for a range of different reasons.  Some of these reasons are good, and some of them are bad.  Some people want to make the move because they are getting bored with “just” being a teacher, with “doing the same thing over and over again”, and see teacher training as “a way out of the classroom”.

Those aren’t great reasons because – apart from the devaluation of teaching generally that they imply – anyone feeling this way about teaching is going to feel the same way about teacher training in a very short space of time.  So, if you want to become a teacher trainer, and be good at it, and enjoy it for the long haul, you will need better motivations that that.

Maybe you really enjoy working in regular classrooms with regular language learners.  Maybe what keeps you fascinated by this work is the way that it provides constantly novel problems to solve, regardless of how long you have been in the game.  Maybe you remember how much you learnt from a motivated and attentive trainer when you were just starting out.  Maybe you feel it is time to give back to the wider community of teachers and learners by offering what you have learnt about language, teaching, and learning over the years in the service of the next generation of teachers.  Maybe you want to explore your own practice as a teacher more deeply and see working with others who are learning the ropes and a useful discipline in your own development.  Maybe you want to learn.

These are better reasons.  But don’t listen to me.  Find your own.

Prerequisites?

The Trainer in Training Handbook sets out what qualifications and experience you need to be approved to start a course of training as a Celta tutor.

Prospective trainers with little previous pre-service teacher-training experience should have:

  • substantial (normally five years) varied and current classroom-based ELT experience preferably in more than one context.
  • Experience of teaching a range of levels and different types of class is a requirement.
  • the Cambridge Deltas Modules (One, Two and Three), the Cambridge DTEFLA, Cambridge English DELTA or Trinity Dip. TESOL. If the proposed trainer-in-training does not have any of the above, a transcript of the award must be submitted to Cambridge English for special consideration before training can be verified. Please note that for the qualifications to be considered they must be a post initial English Language Teaching qualification at Level 7 and they must include a practical component.
  • evidence of professional commitment (involvement in staff development, conference attendance, etc.)

(quoted from the Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in Training Handbook V4.0)

There are also personal qualities that will be necessary to do the job of a Celta trainer effectively, efficiently, and consistently well.  In no particular order, these include:

  • Self-organisation
  • Thoroughness
  • Attention to detail
  • Clarity of thought and expression
  • Ability to see the training process from the perspective of a novice
  • Empathy for the learner
  • Approachability
  • Boundary setting
  • Some ability to observe, record, and evaluate live environments in real-time
  • Willingness to make and deliver unwelcome decisions (such as grading a lesson below standard)
  • Grace under pressure

Selection?

Basically, you need to be accepted as a trainer in training (TinT) by a specific centre.  They need to accept you with a prospect of working with you post-training as an Assistant Course Tutor (ACT) for at least 3 courses.  This means that centres should not offer to train you without also agreeing to offer you at least this amount of work post-training.  It also means that you should not look to be trained at a centre where you do not plan to remain for at least three courses post-approval to consolidate your training.

This also means that a centre should not charge you for your training.  They should only offer to train you if they foresee a use for you within their team.  If they think they should charge you, then your training cannot be valuable for them and they are only doing it for the money.

You should also already be working at the centre in some other capacity (for example as a teacher) or be working for another centre who cannot offer the training you are seeking.

There should be a thorough and rigorous application process.  At the least, this should involve a wide-ranging and rigorous interview between you and the centre.  The potential training supervisor should be involved (you need to have the chance to decide whether you will be able to work with this person, after all.)  Expectations about the training process, time investment, and post-training commitments need to be made clear and agreed.

If both you and the centre agree to enter into a training agreement, then the centre would send an application on your behalf to Cambridge Assessment.  Part of this application will be an outline of the training programme that the centre proposes you undertake and this, as well as your application, need to be approved by Cambridge before you may start training.

In the next instalment, I’ll describe the training process, the training plan, and the pre-course work you will need to do.

16 comments

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  5. Kyle Nutt

    Thanks for the information. We are a language school in Italy and would like to undertake the training in order to offer CELTA courses at our centre. This means that after training we can’t stay with another school and work there. Do you know what we should do? Thanks for you help!
    Kyle

    • Anthony

      Hello Kyle, thanks for the question, and it’s a good one. If I understand you correctly, you and your colleagues are not trained to deliver Celta courses, but would like to train up. As there is no one at your centre who could do this, you are assuming that you would need to be trained at another centre, which you think would oblige you to work there for several courses post-approval to consolidate your training, which obviously wouldn’t be an option, am I correct?

      One solution I can imagine, and one which I suspect happens at other newly established centres, is that the centre gets approval in general to run courses but runs its initial courses with external, freelance MCTs and ACTs. during these initial courses, the MCT also agrees to train a trainer in training (TinT) who is already based at the centre.

      Over the course of 3-4 courses, a core local team could thus be trained up, and by the time the last member was trained and approved, the first member could have been aporved and also completed the 2-3 courses of experience-gathering before shadowing the MCT role. After this, the earliest qualified local tutor could take over the running of courses and the external MCT could leave them to fly solo. Obviously, the MCT would charge an extra fee for this TinT training, and obivously it would need to reflect not only the training effort but also the fact that effectively s/he would be developing her/his own local competition for work.

      It would probably be a good thing to have the same MCT train the core team, to ensure consistency of procedures and standards etc, but that probably isn’t essential. If I were you, I’d ask Cambridge to put you in touch with the local Joint Chief Assessor or other person who could advise you or mentor you through the process.

      Hope this helps, and get back in touch if I can help in any way.

      All the best,

      Anthony

      • Kyle Nutt

        Hi Anthony, Thank you very much for you response. I had found it extremely difficult to find this information from Cambridge so you have been really helpful!

        All the best,

        Kyle

  6. Shubhangi

    How to become teacher trainer, I am an indianw with 10 years of experience in teaching in school. I want to become a teacher trainer.

  7. Helen

    I have done the Trainer in Training and delivered several CELTA courses but I have not done any for 5 years so accreditation “lapsed” I believe! Do I need to do the full TinT again and deliver a min number of courses!! Any advice much appreciated.

    • Anthony

      Hello Helen, thanks for writing. In cases like yours it’s usual to shadow a complete course in order to refresh your training (and also complete the current year’s standardisation tasks.). Contact Cambridge for more info, or ask your centre to do so. Hope this helps.

  8. Jenn

    Hi Anthony, Do you have any information about the demand for CELTA Tutors globally? Salary/wages? How does the tutor find work once qualified? I am trying to figure out if this would be a good investment of my time and money–I am already committed to teaching and brimming with enthusiasm.

    • Anthony

      Hi Jenn, thanks for writing. I’ve asked colleagues online to reply here with their own sense of things. Generally freelance pay ranges depending on geographicla area and tutor experience/role between EUR 2000 – 4000. You may sometimes get offered less, but you’ll probably never be offered more than these figures. Tutors are generally employed by centres (in which case they work for their employers) or they are freelance, in which case they advertise for or apply for work via the various secret online channels that will open up to you post-approval (I pause to smile…) Obviously, over time, tutors build up networks and long-term relationships with centres.

      How much teaching experience do you have, and in what contexts? Are you currently working for a school with a training centre?

  9. Rich

    Hi Anthony
    I’m an experienced Trinity CertTESOL trainer and would like to work as a CELTA tutor. Do I need to do the full training?
    Thanks

    • Anthony

      Hi Rich, thanks for writing. There’s always a little discretion in the system but other experienced trainers I know did a full induction. I think it’s probably worth it, as the procedures and regulations are quite different.

      • Rich

        Thanks Anthony
        By induction, do you mean full training? I read in your blog there are three kinds of training: full, refresher and induction. What does an induction consist of as opposed to full training?

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