There are various routes to becoming a qualified teacher of English. TEFL is a very popular certification and very flexible in the types of courses available. We decided to do the CELTA, which is the Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults awarded by Cambridge University. It seemed to us the most widely recognised and reputable qualification, which we felt would prepare us well for teaching.
The CELTA course is offered in loads of different schools all over the world. We did our research and decided to go with one in Montañita in Ecuador, simply called ‘Celta in Ecuador‘. It had raving reviews and it was recommended by a friend who did the course the previous year. It also has a good reputation being accredited to The British School of Language and International House. CELTA in Ecuador is a 5 week course, rather than the standard 4 weeks offered by most schools. It’s also in a beautiful location, 10 mins walk from the beach and from the chilled out surf town of Montañita. It’s a residential course so you live, study and teach all on the same site, which is called Casa Cacique. There were 12 of us on the course and we each had our own private cabaña, complete with hammock chair on our porch! We also had our own pool in the middle of a lovely garden with butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as a few cockroaches and possums at night!
Montañita is a great little town on the beach. It gets very lively at the weekends, when the clubs open and the bars spring up along Cocktail Alley. We very quickly made friends with our students who worked in the shops, bars and surf schools in the town. It was great to know the locals and feel a part of the town, rather than just another gringo passing through.
At Casa Cacique, we were also very well looked after and fed. The meals were delicious, hearty and always double-carbed, which is very typical in Ecuador! The staff were all super friendly and attentive, making our lives so much easier and less stressful when the work piled up. They even took care of the cockroaches and possums for us in the middle of the night.
The actual CELTA in Ecuador course was fantastic and exceeded all our expectations. The trainers, Ben and Andy, were extremely supportive and approachable. They were very hardworking and it was clear they cared about their job and their students. They were a lot of fun too and usually joined us on our nights out in town.
Monday-Friday, this is how our days went:
8am – Breakfast– always with delicious juice, cereals, toast, and some kind of eggs, pancakes or empanadas.
9-11am – Input session – this is where we were taught the skills and theory needed to teach.
11am-1pm – Guided Lesson planning – this is where we got help planning our lessons and discussed in more detail feedback from the previous lesson we taught.
1pm – Lunch – Always a delicious soup followed by some massive meal, usually fish/meat and rice, along with lots of vegetables, potatoes, plantain, salad, beans…etc.
5.30-7.30pm – Teaching – The students arrived and we took it in turns to teach, with 2 or 3 trainees teaching each class – the Elementary and the Intermediate.
7.30-8pm – Hot feedback – where we discussed the lessons we just taught.
8pm – Dinner.
The course is known for being very tough and a lot is expected of you in such a short amount of time. We were expected to teach on day 2, so it’s heads down straight away. Having said that, it was a lot of fun and we all found it really interesting learning about our language, how it’s learnt and how we can teach it to anyone, no matter what their first language. All the assignments and feedback you receive throughout the course are very clear and straightforward. We had 4 assignments to do, each no more than 1000 words. We had to teach 10 lessons – 2x20mins (unassessed), 6x40mins and 2x60mins. In the end, you can be awarded a Fail, Pass, Pass B or Pass A. There was a lot to learn and a lot of work to do, but we definitely found it to be manageable. To pass the course, you essentially need to be willing to work hard, do as instructed, take on board feedback and respond to it.
I would highly recommend CELTA in Ecuador to anyone. For us, it was the same price with all living costs included as it was for the course alone back in the UK. On top of that, you don’t have the added stress of commuting or having to prepare your dinner at the end of a long day etc. We usually had our evenings and one day off at the weekend free to spend on the beach or to explore the local area. It’s a really sociable atmosphere and we made some great friends, which we will definitely keep in contact with.
It was such an amazing 5 weeks living in such a beautiful place with great people. We really didn’t want to leave! But it’s really exciting to think that now we are qualified to teach English anywhere in the world. It also means we can actually stay in Ecuador and are plan to live out here is, well, going to plan! Woop!
Details of the CELTA in Ecuador course can be found on their website:
and on the CELTA in Ecuador Facebook page: