CELTA at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity

How Kate Mor­ri­son’s teach­ing ca­reer fol­lowed her from Tur­key to Hal­i­fax

The Coast - Career Minded - - PAID CONTENT -

Re­flect­ing on past ex­pe­ri­ences and ap­ply­ing them to her teach­ing method is one of Kate Mor­ri­son’s tricks of the tu­tor­ing trade. Ev­ery teacher builds their own style; for her, be­ing aware of her own teach­ing prac­tice is the chal­lenge.

“I had to re­flect on my own prac­tice and per­for­mance in the class­room,” says Mor­ri­son. “As a re­sult, it sup­ported my teach­ing later on.”

Be­ing re­flec­tive and aware of our­selves isn’t a nat­u­ral skill for ev­ery­one. But as a teacher who taught abroad be­fore re­turn­ing to Hal­i­fax and be­com­ing a CELTA tu­tor, Mor­ri­son is get­ting a lot of prac­tise trav­el­ling the road of self-dis­cov­ery.

CELTA, or Cer­tifi­cate in Teach­ing English to Speak­ers of Other Lan­guages, is awarded by the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, and taught in Hal­i­fax at The Lan­guage Cen­tre at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity. It’s an in­tro­duc­tory English-teach­ing course for a range of stu­dents, from those who have no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence to those with ex­pe­ri­ence, but no cer­ti­fied train­ing.

This pro­gram puts trainees face-to-face with a class­room of stu­dents, giv­ing them real-life teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. This helps trainees di­rectly ap­ply what they learn, as they re­ceive feed­back on lessons and teach­ing prac­tices im­me­di­ately.

Com­ing back to Hal­i­fax af­ter teach­ing abroad in Tur­key for eight years, Kate Mor­ri­son had to re­flect again and ask her­self if she had ap­plied a lot of these tech­niques to her prac­tice.

“How am I keep­ing a record? Im­prov­ing my­self and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment? I’m on that path and I still want to learn and keep learn­ing. It was an awak­en­ing mo­ment when I was watch­ing and ob­serv­ing, and re­mem­ber­ing what I learned when I took CELTA my­self,” she says.

See­ing that table pro­mot­ing CELTA, and then com­plet­ing the course 10 years ago, Mor­ri­son feels like the pro­gram truly se­cured work for her while she was abroad.

“I had the op­por­tu­nity to travel and ap­ply for com­pet­i­tive in­sti­tu­tions. Most job post­ings re­quired CELTA, and I felt se­cure to ap­ply,” she says. Em­ploy­ers around the world know what they are get­ting from a CELTA-cer­ti­fied teacher as there are cer­tain stan­dards that they keep.

The op­por­tu­nity to teach abroad was ap­peal­ing be­cause she could work, travel and feel safe as she was do­ing it. Even­tu­ally her job fol­lowed her to Hal­i­fax, when she con­nected with the CELTA pro­gram at The Lan­guage Cen­tre at SMU. Con­tin­u­ing along this ca­reer path, Mor­ri­son now works as both a teacher and as a trainer.

“We of­ten hear: ‘What kind of prospects do I have af­ter the pro­gram?’ You have so many op­por­tu­ni­ties to go abroad, to teach, work, travel. Even here in Nova Sco­tia there are lan­guage cen­tres, ISANS, and on­line teach­ing. There are so many dif­fer­ent av­enues you can go down for teach­ing both here and abroad,” says Mor­ri­son.

Mor­ri­son says that within the four­week course, trainees are go­ing to learn a lot, but they have to make sure to al­ways re­visit what they learned in the course and ap­ply it to the class­room.

“Keep re­flect­ing and try to ap­ply what you learned to help your style of teach­ing. It’s an in­tense course, but it’s in­tense for a rea­son. It’s an im­por­tant pro­fes­sion.”

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