My CELTA course is finished; I’m entirely sure I passed; our group have gotten drunk together to celebrate getting through one of the toughest months of our lives; and my bags are packed in Strasbourg.
For the last month I’ve been staying with a family who don’t speak much English or German. They constantly struggle with whether to attempt telling me stories over the dinner table and have done their best to make me feel at home even though I don’t know the language or culture. It’s been challenging at times but knowing I can call them when I need help with anything has made the process of being away from all my family and friends a little easier.
The course itself put stresses on me that I never knew possible. But, having said that, I seemed to thrive on the piles of work to be done and the organisation and planning that went into getting through each day. The first days of teaching brought nerves that made me question why I am doing this again, but like everything difficult the reward was worth the work. By the end of the course teaching was coming naturally to me and just as I help my boyfriend every day with his English, I felt that helping these students was just as important and interesting.
To anyone considering doing the CELTA course I couldn’t recommend it enough. I weighed up the pros and cons of doing a course completely online – the price was far lower than the 1500 euro I paid in Strasbourg but the teaching experience you gain will make your money back within a couple of months. It was amazing to go from feeling like I had no teaching experience to being able to take a class for an hour and run out of time to complete all the tasks I wanted to do. the point of CELTA is all about making lessons student-centred and to be able to get them talking so much English – in one beginners class I was able to teach them vocabulary for spaceships and aeroplanes – without speaking any of their language made me a very confident teacher and I know I’ll be able to find good work in Stuttgart as a result.
It feels like yesterday we were in Berlin celebrating the end of 2013 and now the three months I was so excited about for the travel and move, but feeling anxious about completing the course, are over. Now comes the difficulties surrounding changing visas as I go on a job seeking one. Being taken off a working holiday visa for the first time in Europe is a good feeling and makes this place feel even more like home, even though I haven’t settled into Stuttgart yet.
In the UK, coming off a working holiday visa was particularly difficult and meant I needed to commit to one company for the long-term. In Germany, things are a lot more relaxed – because I’m Australian I can go on a specific visa to look for work and then I automatically change to a work permit when I find something.
The process might seem easier but with it all being in another language the next few months will be tough. Knowing that I’ve survived the CELTA and have found a passion for teaching is giving me a lot of strength to get through it all though.