EFL Snakes and Ladders EFL class games

Published on November 14th, 2016

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Remembering… My First Day of the CELTA

I most certainly have plenty of fodder to peck here on my many recent adventures in the Balkans and Turkey (and trust that I’ll get to them poco-a-poco).  But meanwhile…

It’s been awhile since I published a post on either my long-ago (5 years ago today!) CELTA course or my EFL (English as a Foreign Language – not to be confused with ESL, teaching English as a Second Language in places like the U.S., Oz, the U.K.) teaching here in Cuenca, Ecuador. And while I now only teach a couple of private English lessons here in my bitty (but oh so perfect and sweet) apartment, Facebook reminded me this morning of what it felt like on that very first day of my CELTA course in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

“First day of the CELTA – 10 hrs. of head-spinnnn! Tomorrow I teach (yikes!), a group of 16 “Elementary Level” students (20 yr. old university students) – albeit my lesson is only for 20 min. The lesson was dictated: Devise a game of “Snakes & Ladders” with simple English questions on random squares. Geez, I’ve never even PLAYED Snakes & Ladders! Nonetheless see pic for my game board – I even bought 1,000 dong suckers for the winners of each group of 4. My 1st impressions of the CELTA? I’m jazzed, dizzy and EXHAUSTED – and this was only the FIRST DAY!”

First day of CELTA class - my Snakes and Ladders gameboard

Given that I was then but 24 hours into my new “Teacher” persona (I’d never been a teacher in my native land), the thought of facing a sea of Vietnamese students who barely spoke a word of English was understandably daunting indeed.

But today?  With nearly 5 (happy) years of drumming English into the adorable heads of Vietnamese tots under my belt (not to mention teen and adult students at all English levels – including an Ecuadorian gynecologist, and a high level B2 English class of teachers that needed to pass the FCE test in order to keep their jobs)?  Shoot…

A quick 20 minute class?  Ha!  Now I can do a 2 hour class – IN.MY.SLEEP!

In short, let this be a lesson to those TL readers out there that are either considering taking the CELTA course, or perhaps presently in the harrowing trenches of it…

Take it from me – not only is the CELTA course not nearly as scary as you might think, but having that sweet honey in your pocket (it’s the gold-standard of EFL courses – recognized by the best English schools the World over) is – PRICELESS!

Remembering my 1st day of the CELTA course


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About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!



2 Responses to Remembering… My First Day of the CELTA

  1. We took the CELTA course in 2012 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico with the idea that we could supplement our savings if we stayed in Mexico. I went into it thinking we were both college graduates and what could be so stressful? Ha! We spent the month filled with highs and lows and either our 2nd or 3rd week in we alternated between wanting to quit (luckily we picked different days) and encouraging each other to stick with it, if only because we didn’t want to tell our fam & friends we’d given up! We met some amazing friends we still stay in contact with today and, even though we didn’t go job-hunting, we used our experience to volunteer for a few months in Antigua, Guatemala at an all-girls school and spent several months teaching at an NGO in Granada, Nicaragua. Looking back it was a great experience that taught us about sticking it out to the (successful) end!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Three Days in July, A Cyclorama and the Enduring Symbolism of GettysburgMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Yup Anita, few get through it without at least a few tears. It’s not that the content/tasks are so difficult – it’s just very intense. The schedule is brutal and they cram a LOT into those four weeks.

      I too had my moment (about 2 weeks in) when I was ready to call it quits. But thankfully my dear fellow CELTA comrades talked me out of it. It truly is the very best training for teaching EFL.

      Good for you for likewise sticking it out. As you must know by now, “just because you can speak English – in no way means you’re capable of TEACHING it”. That goes for trained U.S. school teachers as well. BIG difference knowing how to teach – when most your students can’t understand even HALF of what you’re saying.

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