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An Interview with Florence Online Part-time CELTA graduate Dave Zucchelli

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Dave Zucchelli

Dave comes from the nearby city of Bologna and swapped Emilia-Romagna for Tuscany for his online CELTA teaching experience via Florence. A self-confessed ‘linguistic nerd’, Dave came into the CELTA course with a range of relevant experience behind him. He had worked extensively as a private tutor, teaching not only English, but also other languages and subjects, as well as teaching English online in the past few years. This had given him a good grounding in English language teaching, but to progress further in the ELT world and to build on his knowledge and methodology, Dave decided that the CELTA was the right step for him. Dave took the online part-time CELTA course with Europass in the summer of 2022 and we spoke to him about his time on the course…

Why did you want to take the CELTA course?

When I decided to start a new chapter in my life after working as a freelancer for a few years in ELT, I knew I needed a solid and recognised qualification and that the CELTA was a cornerstone in this regard.

What was the application process and pre-course experience like?

Applying was easy. I contacted the Europass Academy in Florence, and they got back to me immediately with instructions, a pre-application task and reference materials. Even at this early stage, it was a great experience. After registration, the centre offered all trainees access to a bundle of online preparation courses on an e-learning platform to acquire some important basic concepts. I liked the whole process and how I began learning before the course even started. 

How were the Florence CELTA tutors?

They were very well prepared, professional and responsive to our needs and feelings throughout the course. They were both our teachers and our supporters, always there for us and available to an extent that I sometimes found surprising. It’s certainly not easy to tutor other professionals, but they demonstrated that they had all the skills needed.

How did you find the online learning experience?

In retrospect, I can say that I missed the fact of being in person far less than expected. The first two weeks were the toughest since I wasn’t used to learning in an online-only environment. But with our course tutor’s support, I went through them without problems. Once I got the hang of the setting, I could concentrate on building rapport with my fellow trainees and be more and more effective in my online teaching practice. I now have a more robust grasp of online teaching than I could’ve had if I had enrolled in the in-person course.

What was the relationship between the CELTA trainees like?

We got along very well. Since we were in groups of six, I had a closer relationship with my group members. However, the course was structured to make us interact with all the other trainees regularly. I think that was the main advantage of the forum tasks we had to perform weekly. By the end of the course, I had made friends with a few colleagues who weren’t in my teaching group and with whom I’m still in touch.

Which parts of the course did you enjoy the most?

I am fond of writing ideas and devising plans, so I particularly loved writing assignments and lesson planning. I was sort of expecting that, but I didn’t know how much I would’ve learnt through the process. It’s not easy to explain how well intertwined the different parts of the course were to test and train our skills simultaneously.  

What will you do now that you are CELTA qualified?

I plan on becoming a full-time ESL teacher and student advisor and developing professionally inside an international institution. I’ve been sending applications for just a couple of weeks and already got interviews. I really look forward to some teaching abroad, too.

Would you recommend the course to others?

Definitely yes. Not only does CELTA boost your opportunities to find a job and give you so much knowledge to nurture you as a teacher for a long time, but it is also a great formative experience on its own.

Click here to apply to take the CELTA in Florence