Let’s meet the CELTA Course Leader at NILE, Jacqueline Douglas! 

It’s the team of passionate and experienced staff at NILE that makes our courses and workplace so special. Today I’m interviewing Jacqueline Douglas, NILE Senior Trainer and CELTA Course Leader, to get to know her professional background, and to find out what advice she has for those embarking on their CELTA course and English Language Teaching career.

Q: First things first, what is a CELTA? 

Jacqueline Douglas NILE

CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, though it has recently acquired the new title: Certificate in English Language Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages. It’s a pre-service course, meaning it trains people to become English language teachers, and as it's  awarded by Cambridge English Language Assessment, part of Cambridge University, it is regarded as the entry pass into the ELT industry worldwide. 

Q: Who is the CELTA for?

The CELTA is intended for people who would like to be English Language teachers who don’t have any prior experience of teaching. That said, in recent decades, it has become common for teachers, possibly non-native-speakers, to do the CELTA if, for example, they want learning in their classroom to be more active and interactive, and also to boost their employability and gain worldwide recognition as an English language teacher. So you don’t have to have any previous teaching experience to do the CELTA, but if you do it may still be the right course for you!

Q: Why choose the CELTA?

The CELTA is widely regarded as the gold standard of teacher training qualifications, particularly due to the teaching practice element. As well as teaching input from your tutors, CELTA candidates also practise teaching every other day with an eager class of real students. This is in comparison with other TEFL courses which, although they market themselves as having the same “120 hours” in a course, will either be 100% teaching input with no teaching practice, or the teaching practice will be to their peers on the course, rather than with authentic students.

The CELTA teaching practice is real and that is where many participants feel the real learning takes place.

That all seems clear now, thanks Jacqueline! We’ll look into the course requirements, course formats and how to apply later. For now, let’s get to know Jacqueline a bit more and find out what words of wisdom she can offer prospective CELTA students. 

Q: So how did you become CELTA Course Leader at NILE?

Jacqueline Douglas NILE

It was an exciting journey that involved travelling and teaching English in various countries such as Spain, Turkey and Bolivia, to then becoming a teacher trainer and working in China, Egypt, Greece… - on five continents, in fact! I’m also a CELTA assessor which means I peer assess other CELTA centres to ensure their courses are up to standard. I’ve also done the next qualification after a CELTA called the DELTA, and an MA - happily with NILE! So I’m always developing myself, and this leads me to where I am today, having joined NILE in 2022 as a Senior Trainer and CELTA Course Leader.

Q: What’s the most rewarding and challenging thing about being the CELTA Course Leader?

I find it really rewarding interviewing candidates, bringing them onto courses and helping them on their teaching journey.  What’s challenging? Occasionally having to reject people’s CELTA applications if they’re not quite ready. Oh and desk-work! I thrive on people-contact so jump at any opportunity to get into the classroom.

Q: What advice would you give someone about to begin their CELTA journey?

Firstly, be prepared to work hard. You’ll want to clear your diary for the duration of the course!
Secondly, be prepared to hear multiple perspectives from your CELTA tutors - because as a Cambridge requirement you will have more than one. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and be open to embracing the occasional ambiguity.
And finally, once you’ve qualified from the CELTA, be a real “yes man/woman!” Try every type of teaching position available to you, whether it be Business English, teaching young learners, exam classes, etc. Just make sure you ask 'Will there be support, as this is new for me?' A range is good because, not only will you be more likely to find the type of class that makes you tick, but a breadth of experience is a key requirement for going on to do the DELTA.

Q: What’s your favourite spot in Norwich?

Definitely looking out over Norwich market with its colourful striped roofs, and the sense of openness that it brings to the city centre. It feels like there's room to breathe in Norwich. 

Q: Tell us something about yourself that might surprise our readers.

About 10 years ago I travelled the world in 9 months - without flying! If you're wondering how I crossed oceans, well… Multi-week voyages on container ships! And then overland, many trains and buses. It was fantastic. 

Q: How do you feel about your decision to embark on your ELT career?

It started as a means to an end - a way to travel. But as soon as I got into that classroom on my teacher training course, I was hooked! It's given me years and years of enrichment, fulfilment, laughs and satisfaction. The decision I made to come into English language teaching has been one of the best I've ever made.

So far we’ve learnt that Jacqueline is an adventurous soul with a love of Norwich and an interesting singing voice! More importantly, I hope we’ve learnt that Jacqueline’s career has been varied and exciting, from her early days of teaching whilst living overseas, to her years of sharing her expertise with trainee teachers on CELTA and beyond. 


CELTA Course information

Has Jacqueline’s story inspired you? If you’re looking for flexible and rewarding work at home or abroad, the CELTA course may be the perfect next step for you. Here’s some important information if you are thinking of embarking on a CELTA journey:

CELTA course requirements:

• Your English level needs to be a C1/C2 level.
• You need to be 18 years old or above.
• You need to show the appropriate motivations to become an EFL teacher.
• You need to have availability to commit to 100% of the course, and be healthy enough to withstand the demands of the course.
• For the online courses you will also need certain equipment, for example access to a computer, stable internet connection

and a headphone/headset.

The application process:

As well as the requirements listed above, you also need to pass the application process. You will be required to submit an application form, a CV and an application task - the task is normally about grammar and an element of basic methodology - and finally you’d need to pass an interview.


Available CELTA courses with NILE
The face-to-face CELTA course is a full-time 4-week course, Monday-Friday, at NILE in Norwich. You will be taught in a group by our experienced trainers, have full use of NILE's resources and teach a real class of learners living in Norwich. The Online CELTA is delivered Monday-Thursday for 5 weeks. Your teaching practice will be live with learners from all over the world, with your tutor observing you online. Your input sessions will be a mixture of online study, live online events and tutor support.
The Mixed Mode CELTA course is a 5-week course that takes place at NILE for 2 weeks Monday-Friday, followed by 3 weeks online, Monday-Thursday. You will teach real learners in both modalities, giving you experience of face-to-face and remote teaching. As with the Online couse, the last three weeks will be a  mixture of online study, live sessions and tutor support. The Extended Mixed Mode CELTA course runs over 12 weeks. It follows the same model as the Mixed Mode course with input and teaching practise in both modalities, but after 2 weeks face to face at NILE, the next half of the course is part-time online over the following 10 consecutive Saturdays.


You may be wondering…

“Will the tutoring and support be the same for each course modality?” The answer is yes! You will receive exactly the same amount of tutoring and support whether you student face-to-face or online.

“Will my future employers know which modality I have taken?”  While the report we write will mention the mode of course, the qualification is exactly the same - you will have the Cambridge CELTA.

More Frequently Asked Questions

CHoose your cELTA and apply

For any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our CELTA and DELTA Administrator on delta.admin@nile-elt.com 

We look forward to meeting you on a future CELTA course - good luck!