Interview With Hilal, Recent CELTA Graduate In Istanbul

Hilal Hastaoglu lives in Istanbul and recently completed an intensive CELTA course; she was kind enough to do an email interview for the TEFL Logue. (You can get her story and thoughts first hand by subscribing to her ESL Base TEFL Course Diary) In the near future, I hope to be able to offer interviews with a number of recently graduated TEFL trainees – these can be useful for insight into a particular course, and also for comparing different courses or different relevant aspects of courses (full-time/part-time, at home/away, in-person/online, etc.).

Hilal shared a personal story in her email interview which, I think, gives a good background to why she chose to pursue teaching:

“When I was 5, my grandmother taught me how to play teacher-student with my Cabbage Patch dolls. Her dream for me was for me to become a teacher (she thought I had the talent for it). As time passed by, I was taking steps into becoming a businesswoman instead. One day, I realised that I’m not doing something I want and my grandmother is absolutely right.”

And so it began…But first things first. Why did she choose the particular course she ended up doing?

“The reason why I decided to take the CELTA was because it had teaching practices and a good reputation world wide. I thought going overseas to take the course would be best. However, when I heard of the International Training Institute in Istanbul, I changed my mind. After studying in 16 schools and living in 6 countries, I really didn’t want to see another suitcase or an airport. So, why go abroad when you have the same quality in Istanbul.”

Hilal considered the most challenging aspect of the course to be one that came up during the teaching practice; having taught one-to-one lessons in Dubai, with Arabic-speaking students, she assumed that English would be much easier for Turkish learners – not so! She found the difference between the written word and the way it’s pronounced in English difficult for learners to overcome because their own language is phonetic, and noticed one particular pronunciation issue (the “th” sound) as well.

Stay tuned to find out how the CELTA changed Hilal’s outlook on teaching, as well as her advice for those considering doing a TEFL course in Part 2.