From BA to Oh Man! We’ll take good care of you…

Eric did the CELTA with us back in March this year.  Armed with his new teaching techniques and a head full of ideas and activities, he started applying for jobs around the world.  Here he updates us on his travels and where’s he’s ended up…


Neil and Fran,

How goes it? 
I’m writing to let you guys know about what’s new with me. I traveled a bit around South America after the CELTA. After that, I began the job search with my fiance.  Armed with the CELTA and our three years of experience teaching children in South Korea we had multiple offers from Universities and language institutes in countries such as Russia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Turkey, and, where we ended up accepting positions, Oman. These were just some of the countries we applied to, so the list could potentially be more extensive.
An important note about interviewing after the CELTA is the use of the technique terminology. Not only does the CELTA teach you how to conduct a well-oiled class, it also gives you the vocabulary employers look for in their hires and allows you to label methods which previously might have been evident but unnamed (e.g. eliciting).
‘ve recently taken on a position teaching at a university in Oman. It’s a small college outside a rural desert city, but I think it’s the perfect opportunity for me to get my feet wet in higher education. I teach classes of around thirty students segregated into male and female classes. Sadly, this hurts the CELTA method a bit, but I’m chesting handouts, eliciting, CCQing, and generally trying to keep my lesson plans up to snuff.
You guys really did wonders for my classroom management and preparation. The students seem to enjoy it, and they remain engaged (which could be a result of their culture or my wonderful teaching savvy, I haven’t figured that out yet). 
–The individual Emoji pair/group Emoji whole class method works wonders in a class of beginners at the university level. Not only does it help with time management, they really seem to take to it once you get them in the swing of things. After the first class they would actually be quiet while doing an exercise because they knew they could talk with their friends afterwards. I think everybody likes to showcase their knowledge a bit, so it’s an incentive to do well on the activity at hand then tell your friends. 
–Pre-teach vocabulary is key at this level. Though I haven’t taught the Ss how to use IPA, showing the stress and having them repeat the word using a sentence works wonders. 
–CCQs and ICQs. They help. They’re wonderful. Coming up with them on the spot is growing easier the more I do them. You were right. 
–Gist task Emoji Detailed task. I’ve tried this twice, and both times it seems to have helped with their comprehension of the text/listening. Putting the activity into context puts them in a better position to learn, and with such a rural community context can be difficult to understand sometimes. 
–My board management is markedly better. It really helps, especially in the class of all girls. They’ve taken to using the same color distinctions I use. Clarifying your methods and giving them better notes to look back on.
Living in the desert has its drawbacks, but I have my now fiance, Danielle, who’s also teaching at the university. We’re keeping each other from going mad out in the sticks. Neil, that little talk about the ‘future tense’ might have sparked something deep inside, after all. I’m planning on starting my MA in Linguistics around January. 
Anyhow, I wanted to touch base and let you guys know that I’m using my CELTA for good. 
Hope all is well in BsAs. 
We hope you enjoy Eric’s account and if any of our other alumni are reading this please do drop us a line and let us know how you’re getting on…
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Considering doing a CELTA

Here are a couple of useful resources for those of you thinking about doing a CELTA but are still not quite sure what you’d be letting yourself in for…

First up, is a very useful video from Cambridge English – The Ultimate guide to CELTA:

You do need to register to watch the video, but it’s well worth it and the website as a whole is an excellent resource for all you budding teachers out there.

Secondly, a very useful Facebook page which discusses doing CELTA courses all around the world.  Funnily enough, it’s called CELTA!  And you might see one of our tutors, Neil, posting some helpful advice on there every now and again.

CELTA on Facebook

And this is also where we found the third and final suggestion for today – a brand new blog by a teacher just off their TEFL course.  Read their account of what they got out of the course and you can’t fail to be inspired!

ELT Experiences

And if you do the CELTA here in Buenos Aires we promise you’ll get even more out of it than Jared did!

Hope these suggestions help you to make the right decision.  Please add comments if you have any other favourite sources or questions about our courses.

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From CELTA to Saudi…

Elizabeth did the CELTA with us here at International House Buenos Aires in February 2012. Here she writes about her experiences teaching in Saudi Arabia post-CELTA. Enjoy!

For most of my first year, I was teaching as a classroom teacher at an International School. I taught English (literature), Math, and Science. Very different from what I was hired for.

13594_Al_Khobar_City_Saudi_Arabia_only_Passport_holder_can_view_NiceFun_6_1  map

When I was first hired, I was hired to teach adult women at a language center/training center in Al-Khobar. This being a contractor position, I was first contracted out for a month to a government high school to teach at a camp. It went ok – wasn’t organized and the assigned curriculum didn’t work at all, so I came up with alternative topics. The curriculum I was teaching was rather outdated (a lesson on directions is good, a lesson on how to turn on a computer seems unnecessary) but we made it work. After the camp, I started teaching at the language center. I taught level 1, conversation for level 5, a TOEFL class, and another camp for the Human Resources Development Fund (another camp, but more like business English).

We were off for 3 weeks for Ramadan and then in October the language center had to reduce its number of foreign teachers due a drop in demand, so I was transferred to the company’s new international school. I then taught 3d grade boys as a classroom teacher. The school was going through the process of gaining AdvancEd accreditation, so everything was very hectic. I finished out the year and in the fall I am going to be teaching EFL again for grades 3-5.

Overall, teaching in Saudi Arabia isn’t bad. In the end, most of your life will be at work so you have to make sure that you’re at a decent place. The culture here isn’t as strict as you think and many of your problems will be with work and coworkers. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of restrictions on what you can and can’t do, but if you put in time to really know what the restrictions are before you go, you’ll have less of a problem. I know Dave’s esl cafe isn’t a great place to get information about a workplace, but you can get some insight as to what people are complaining about – and the type of coworkers you’re going to have. Take what they say with a massive grain of salt, but it is a resource about a workplace. At least check to see if they pay on time. Overall, teaching in Saudi Arabia has been an interesting experience. I’ve gotten to do a wide variety of teaching jobs all with one country, and I’ve learned a lot about different types of jobs available. I’m excited to do one more year but I’m not sure about long term.


The Middle East is changing rapidly and you never know what might happen. I live right across the bridge from Bahrain and many of my students are from an area in Saudi that is known for protesting – Qatif. I haven’t seen anything happen, but you never know. It’s an absolutely fascinating place to teach with good students and an interesting culture. I recommend trying to teach here, if you’re prepared, for at least a year.

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From ladders to mountains – cutting Demand High down to size

A Muse Amuses

This is a talk that I first did at the Macmillan Annual Conference at the Anglo on Saturday May 11th 2013.  I then repeated it as a workshop at International House in Buenos Aires on Friday 31st May 2013 at our weekly interschool teacher development meeting.


IH Facebook photo

They were two very different and very worthwhile experiences and they both showed different ways in which using the ‘Demand High’ meme (as Adrian and Jim suggest we call it) can be a very powerful reflection tool for teachers of all experiences in all contexts.


First of all, in Montevideo, Hitting the Heights was much more of a talk, since there were around 300 people present and we were in an auditorium at a conference, so the set up was very talk-oriented.  Hence the use of the following slides, which you can access here: Hitting the Heights

But let me talk you through them…

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A trip down memory lane with Martin Eayrs

ImageMartin Eayrs has posted a fascinating trip down memory lane, nostalgically recalling the early years of International House Buenos Aires on his Blip…forty years is a long time!

Definitely worth a read as we celebrate 60 years of International House…

And remember if, like Martin, you started out with IH, then please do sign up to our Alumni list so we can keep you up to date with all things IH – free teacher development workshops and conferences, free resources, competitions and just keeping in contact with the IH teaching community…

See you at an IH event soon!  Let us know if you use one of the IH60 lessons…

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Happy 60th Birthday International House! Lots of teaching presents for everyone, as Neil outlines here in another of his series of blog posts about the IATEFL 2013 conference in Liverpool last week.

A Muse Amuses

So IATEFL  2013 has come to an end and all of the delegates have left Liverpool.

But in many ways the conference is only just beginning.  Now there’s more time to read and reflect, to revisit and review, to draw conclusions and put into practice.  I hope to continue doing this throughout the rest of April.  But for today I’d like to show you the best bit of the conference for me, in case you didn’t have the chance to visit it – the International House World stand!


The reason being this year International House celebrates its diamond jubilee – 60 years since John and Brita Haycraft set up the first school in Cordoba, Spain.  We’ve come a long way since then and to celebrate we’re giving away lots of fabulous presents to teachers, as well as giving you lots of fabulous opportunities to contribute yourselves and get your students…

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Hits and misses from the IATEFL Day One ‘pool

Neil’s following the IATEFL conference from afar – Sandy, Maggie, Penny and Delia vie for his attention…

A Muse Amuses


So as promised, here’s what I got out of Day One at IATEFL. To be honest it feels like not very much, since I haven’t had much time to dedicate to it at all – just a few visits to twitter and a quick read through a few emails. I was hoping to watch the plenary session by David Crystal when I got home but then I got distracted by an irrational urge to make Delia’s braised red cabbage to go with the left overs from last night’s beef. Sorry, David, I promise I’ll watch it very soon (I have it on in the background as I write this). Here it is if you’d like to join me…

Congratulations too, David, on your new website launched today as well: something else to bookmark and come back to. Although I was all ready to explore The Memors until I…

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I’ve never been to IATEFL…

Neil’s following IATEFL for us, join him for some tip top professional development from the biggest EFL conference of the year…

A Muse Amuses

My 16-year-and-counting career has had its ups (I’ve just finished a fabulous intensive DELTA course and am about to write a synchronous online Delta Module One course) and downs (at the last count I’ve made about 26 trainees / students cry on my courses / in my classes) , highs (I’ve got the longest title in ELT – International House World Organisation Academic Coordinator for Resources and Director of Studies Support)and lows (I’m responsible for co-ordinating IHWO’s Live Online Workshops), ins (I’m a member of the Delta-and-Lancelot-qualified-and-working–in-South-America group of one) and outs (I’ve never slept with a fellow IH teacher)2, but in 15 years of EFLing I’ve never been to IATEFL.


This year’s conference kicks off tomorrow of course and I’m not going.  But, since various moons are colliding…

…I have a ‘slow’ week at work

I haven’t blogged much yet…

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Celebrating the success of the Olympics Opening with a reading lesson for B1 to C2

Wasn’t the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games brilliant?  Danny Boyle and those thousands of volunteers did a fabulous job keeping us entertained for over three hours on Friday night, revelling in the best of British music, history and culture. 

Why not share the brilliance with your students through this reading lesson, based on the BBC  review of the event. 


Olympics Opening Ceremony Reading Students

Olympics Opening Ceremony Reading Teachers


Olympics Opening Ceremony Reading Lesson Plan

and your off!

Hope your students and you enjoy it.  Let us know what you think.

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The Post-CELTA Joys of teaching in Jujuy by Emily Droege

Hi Neil and Fran!

After just over a year in AR (a fabulous year!), I’ve just returned to my home near Albuquerque New Mexico.  I thought I’d give you all a quick update on what I’ve done with my CELTA.  

Emily and her TP group from May 2011

I kept teaching business English for American Forum in Capital Federal until December when my family came for a visit.  Then in January I moved to northwest AR.  At first I volunteered at a youth camp and did a bit of sightseeing until I found work at a couple of English institutes in San Salvador de Jujuy.  I loved it!  That move was the best thing I could have done.  Life has a much slower pace up there, everyone was extremely open and friendly, and the landscapes are just awe-inspiring.  

Awe-inspiring landscapes of Jujuy

People were delighted to have a native speaker as their teacher and I had abundant opportunities to work on my Spanish as I was living with a Jujueño family.  I taught a bit of everything–beginning English for 7-11 year olds, general English intermediate for professional adults, and upper-intermediate for adolescents.  My favorite was definitely the kids even though I was pretty limited in terms of classroom and resources.  Much as I loved being in Jujuy, however, I’ve now returned to the US to complete my elementary teacher certification, hopefully with TESOL and bilingual endorsements…we’ll see how that goes.

Emily’s students on a trip to England

The director of one of the institutes in Jujuy said she would love to employ more native speakers or arrange some kind of cultural exchange if you have any graduates interested in teaching in other provincias.  

I highly recommend the school–it was a delight to work there, not just personally but professionally as well.  Of the three institutes I taught at (one in BsAs and two in Jujuy), this institute was by far the most organized.  Pay is competitive (better than what I generally saw offered in BsAs!) and timely.  Classes are small, up to 8 students, and even though the institute is young they are well equipped with resources and technology.

I hope you’re both doing well in BsAs.  

Best regards,


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