Alumni Spotlight: Hana Abuzaid

Hana is a hard-working and confident English teacher based in Quito, Ecuador. Her travels expand far beyond her home country of Libya where she’s had the opportunity to see the world – working from destination to destination awaiting that next big opportunity to self-develop.

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Why did you choose this program?

I was in need of a certification that would help me stand out as a professional English teacher in Ecuador and around the world. I had heard of the Cambridge University Press’ CELTA program and decided it provided that exact expanding professional opportunity I had been looking for since I left Libya. Not only has it benefited my students, but it has also given me far more confidence in the classroom.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider (Education First Quito) was very transparent with the trainees entering the course. They gave us valuable materials about teaching methodology and books that refreshed my memory of English language grammar. I felt informed during the 4-week intensive course. One of the advantages of the pre and post-course was the opportunity to network with CELTA trainees old and new. It also includes job opportunities for newly qualified teachers. Besides reading materials, the course offers students plenty of videos that will enhance their preparation for the course.

Overall, going into the course is mostly taken care of as the institution maps out the logistics of it all. In regard to my personal organization, I had to maintain perfect student responsibility by managing tasks such as preparing lessons.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

CELTA is a fully-integrated program that really opens bridges for trainees to flourish. However, it will also stretch them to their limits. It’s important to maintain a clear mind during the intensive course.

My biggest piece of advice is to not work during the course. I convinced myself not to, and it was the biggest benefit. I wasn’t as stressed during the process, and I knew it would open opportunities after the course to make up for that time that I was not working.

Organization is key. In 4 weeks, you will be given loads of materials. It’s absolutely essential to organize all of these documents as you will feel overwhelmed with the amount of paper you get. This also extends to being technologically savvy when it comes to making lessons. Writing your lesson plans is great but eats too much time. You will want your computer!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

From the second day, you will be teaching English. The tutors are really qualified and open to the concerns and learning of their trainees. Their help goes beyond, and they prepare you for everything.

We start with a class or input session where one of our tutors goes over an important aspect of teaching such as lesson planning. This conceptualizes key points where trainees become aware of what to include in lessons, how to teach and correct students, lesson planning time, and so on. All of the mock classes were with local adult students. The main areas of focus were how to develop student-to-student communication in the classroom in regard to grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

In a process of trial and error, trainees are given the chance to observe experienced teachers where they make specific notes and analyses of where to improve. On the whole, you will be assessed by incorporating these techniques into your new teaching style every day during the course.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was born and raised in Libya so English is not my native language. However, over the years, I have developed my English language skills by traveling around the world and accepting unique working opportunities where it expanded.

However, CELTA will make a non-native nervous no matter the experiences as it’s the next level in teaching. We were told that our understanding of the language must be higher than natives themselves. I overcame this fear by building confidence and being the best student I could be. I always made sure that everything was clear for me and never shied away from asking a question. What’s great is that course tutors will never reject one of your needs. I felt like I could approach them with my biggest course dilemmas, and they’d be there to support me.