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After CELTA: where next?

celebrate

Congratulations on passing!

Whether you passed with an A, B or C grade matters a bit at the moment but won't matter at all after you have worked in ELT for a little while.  All that will matter then is your commitment, knowledge and skill.
Once you have recovered from the celebration party, you need to get a bit serious and decide what to do with your shiny new certificate.  This is a page of advice from someone who has been training and employing teachers for a long time.
The intention here is to help you avoid the usual pitfalls.  You have a proper teaching certificate now, so can afford to be slightly more demanding of potential employers and avoid the bandits and slave masters.


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Where are you going to look for work?

The choice is really between working in an English-speaking environment (the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc.) or a non-English-speaking environment (just about everywhere else).


school

How do you decide where to work?

A brief internet search will discover lots of tales of woe from people who failed to check out what they were being employed to do and where exactly they would be working.  Some of these are true horror stories.
The moral is that you need to check out any institution that offers you work very carefully.  There are bandits in ELT just as there are in many other fields.

If the environment is familiar to you (e.g., if you are a citizen of the country where you want to work), then you will know the pitfalls already and be prepared to look carefully at any contract or statement of conditions, pay, holiday entitlement etc. that you are sent or given.  If you are not offered such a document, be very careful and suspicious indeed.
In an ideal world, you will be able to visit a potential employer in person and talk to other members of the teaching staff.  That is, however, often not practical so asking good questions is the next best approach.
In unfamiliar cultures (to you), you need to be careful to make sure that:

  1. the salary will allow you to live reasonably comfortably if not in much luxury
  2. your hours of work will be set out clearly
  3. you will be guaranteed a minimum and maximum number of teaching hours per month or week
  4. the school or institution will have a conventional grievance procedure and equal opportunities policy
  5. you will get some time off
  6. the employer will help you find accommodation
  7. your duties and working environment are clearly set out and acceptable to you
  8. you will have the support of a properly qualified academic manager and/or colleagues and there may even be an in-house development programme
  9. the school or institution will be a member of some sort of local professional organisation or association
  10. the school has a reasonable resource base of books, supplementary materials and equipment
  11. you are reasonably confident that the culture, language and local conditions will be something you can tolerate if not actively enjoy encountering
  12. you are prepared to teach the sorts of students the school or institution recruits

If a potential employer cannot give you the information in 1 to 10 above, do not sign a contract.


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Getting your CV organised

There are lots of websites out here which will give you useful advice about how to write a good CV.  Use them by all means but keep it personal.  Your CV should reflect you rather than just be a standard document.  One site, at the University of Kent offers a huge amount of advice which is, somewhat ironically, quite poorly laid out.
The following is based partially on the results of a large survey of employers asking what they prioritise when reading a CV (2011 Orange County Resume Survey).
That survey found (among much else) that:

  1. Nearly 90% of respondents want either a chronological (most recent first) list or a combination of skills and experience by type plus a chronological list.
  2. Nearly 100% of employers want either a Microsoft Word document or a PDF file.
  3. 90% + of employers agreed that A resume is a job-seeker's 1st interview.
  4. Almost nobody wanted a CV in an email.  Make it an attachment to an email.
  5. Half the employers asked said they read cover letters.  A quarter said they ignored them.  Keep yours short.
  6. 80% of respondents reported that they spend less than one minute reading a CV.
  7. Employers are consistently unimpressed by generic CVs.  The CV you submit must be specific to English Language Teaching.
  8. Proofreading, spelling and grammatical errors in CVs were cited frequently as reasons for not inviting people to the next stage.

Here's a summary:


steps

Next steps

After you have been working as a full-time English language teacher for a while, you will know if this is the career for you.
If it is, you need to consider what to do next to build on your initial CELTA teaching qualification and progress to senior teacher or academic manager positions.  You may even want to branch out and get into management generally, teacher training, publishing and so on.
To do that, you will need one of two qualifications, preferably both:

  1. A diploma-level qualification.  The two which are recognised as benchmarks worldwide are the Cambridge Delta and the Trinity DipTESOL.  A section of this site is devoted to training for the Cambridge Delta.
    Both these qualifications are very practical and require high levels of teaching skills, which are regularly assessed both internally and externally, in addition to a thorough understanding of background theory.
  2. An MA in TESOL or something similar.  Such courses are quite expensive, usually, but there are many with on-line modules and some wholly delivered at a distance.
    These are usually not recognised teaching qualifications per se because they do not contain assessed teaching practice.  A Master's degree is, however, a very important qualification if your ambition is to train others or manage teaching teams.


Where jobs are advertised.
This is a short list.  There are lots of other sites but be sceptical of some claims and always check things out.  See above.
eslcafe.com contains some useful information and job advertisements for positions in Asia and the world
tefl.com for information on qualifications and jobs
The Guardian the newspaper's English language teaching job advertisement page
Teaching House for a database of teaching jobs worldwide
The British Council for English language teaching placements throughout the world
Voluntary Service Overseas if you are considering volunteering to get some initial experience
Saxoncourt recruitment specialises in teaching positions in Taiwan, Japan, China and Vietnam
Flying Cows for teaching positions in China, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam as well as on-line teaching
The Jet Programme this is the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme for jobs there usually working alongside Japanese teachers
References  
CV Survey the Orange County Resume Survey
CV writing advice The University of Kent's advice page
go to the CELTA index