Here’s another interview in a series I’m doing to address concerns about career options and professional development among newly qualified Indian teachers who have done the CELTA.
I met Arundhati Moebel on a course I tutored on earlier this year. I was interested in her journey because she was an experienced teacher of German and wanted to explore her reasons for doing the CELTA at this stage of her career and the impact it’s had on her teaching and professional life.
1. What sort of work were you doing before the CELTA?
I am a product of the Goethe Institute and have been teaching German ever since I
completed my teacher’s training course in Munich 25 years ago, with a break in between when I had my children. My first real job was at the Ecole Française Mumbai. (French school) where I taught German to French children.
I worked at the Max Mueller Bhavan in Mumbai where I taught up to the Intermediate level & also Business German. For 2 years I taught at Indo-German Chamber of commerce to young business students. A large part of this training was cultural & social differences. I recall how those students doing Masters degrees were more enthusiastic to learn about social norms & rules of etiquette in the West, rather than bother with grammar & vocabulary. It was a very enjoyable experience for me. I then got married & moved to France & have been living here for 17 years. I work at the Ecole Internationale Bilingue Monceau in the 17th district of Paris.
2. What motivated you to do the CELTA?
I got an offer from an International school to train their students for TOEFL/IELTS. That’s how I first got in touch with the British Council in Paris. They offered me two workshops to train IELTS students over the last 6 months.
Some of my Indian friends teaching English in Paris had taken a TEFL course & some
taught without any training at all. I felt that I needed a legitimate qualification, not only for myself but also for the school I work in. And one night I met an American at a dinner party who had completed her CELTA course in Mumbai and was raving about it. She was so excited that I felt compelled to meet her on the next day again, where she explained the entire procedure of admission & the course details to me. That was it! I came home & consulted my family first about my absence & then jumped straight on to the British Council website. As soon as they confirmed my application, I booked my ticket & a week later I started my CELTA course in Mumbai.
3. Are there any benefits or drawbacks to doing the CELTA in India as opposed to
The biggest advantage for me was staying in the comfort of my parents’ home where I
didn’t have to worry about meals. I used to feel sorry for my course-mates who had come to Mumbai & had no means of preparing food. It did make a very big difference, as time was scarce & there was so much input every day.
Besides that, my tutors were extremely dedicated & supportive. I was instantly at ease with my batch-mates, as we were all confronted with similar situations. In fact I’m still in touch with them from time to time, a part of India for me!
4. What kind of impact did the CELTA have on your teaching style in your German
To be honest, a lot that I learnt on the CELTA, I was familiar with, during my Goethe training – the methodology, pedagogy & especially non-teacher fronted communicative lessons. But I needed to brush up my teaching skills, get rid of old, bad habits & refresh my memory. Besides learning how to teach with new technology & searching for resources for my future English lessons. I have incorporated a lot of new ideas in my German lessons, all thanks to CELTA.
5. What kind of impact has it had on your professional life?
I have also been asked to take over the Cambridge centre at our school, which I consider a big honour. And this would never have been possible without CELTA!
6. Have you had opportunities to teach English after the CELTA?
Yes I did. As soon as the academic year started in September, I was assigned a 6th grade class for a month, until the school recruited a Canadian teacher. It was the best opportunity for me to put everything that I had learnt, into practice.
7. In your experience, how do French employers perceive the CELTA?
The CELTA is unfortunately not recognised by the French Government, just like in India. Private organisations, however, will accept you with open arms, as Cambridge enjoys a fine reputation in France.
8. What are your plans for professional development?
At the moment I’m completely devoted to students in my German classes. I am teaching grades 6, 7, 8 & 9. I’m constantly in touch with the Goethe Institute in Paris where I get invited to open days, workshops & training sessions. The Germans are extremely professional when it comes to organising these events and I’m proud to be part of the Goethe family.
9. Where to next?
Time permitting I would like to teach English at our school, even if it for a few hours. I have signed up for the 3 day TESOL colloquium next weekend in Paris, through which I’m convinced that I will get new ideas & meet lots of interesting people from different parts of the world. It will be exciting to work with Cambridge & run exams for them. I have already met some of the invigilators who encouraged me to take the CELTA. And now I have it.
10. What advice do you have for experienced teachers of languages other than English who intend to do the CELTA?
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who intends to teach English. Because even if you teach another language, it doesn’t mean you can teach English. You need to
familiarise yourself with grammar rules and find sources of information. It was best
decision I took this summer. With the CELTA certificate, I can teach English just as I can
teach German. As the French say: it’s like wearing two caps.