a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures
When I arrived at my language school in Cambridge, I realised that things were very different in this part of the world. Before this I had taught in Asia in mainstream schools and a tiny little language school in London which didn’t add much to my experience, if I’m honest. In Cambridge, though, besides the fact that I was in a city of immense knowledge and undeniable intellectual awesomeness, this was the first time I was awakened to the true world of EFL: the research, the talks, the conferences. This was all new to me and after feeling a little stagnant for a while, I finally felt excited about life in the classroom again.
As a result, I was up for any challenge given to me. I had just graduated with a Master’s from Cambridge University, so I was feeling quite chuffed with myself and I happily told the DoS I was sure I could do anything. That’s what you do in job interviews, isn’t it? If you’ve never done something before you say that you’ve always wanted to try it and you’re sure if you do some research and preparation you’ll be fine? So that’s how I ended up teaching a whole bunch of exam classes.
Oh, those poor students. Trying to get your head around all the different exams, the different tasks,marking criteria and exam skills can be a whole lot intimidating. This is not your happy-as-we-go-along General English. This is S-E-R-I-O-U-S. To say I was quite confused would be a euphemism of the highest order, but once it all sinks in, it actually does make sense. Exam classes do need to be approached differently, that’s for sure, and there’s a definite goal which can make things both more difficult and easier, but in the end I found I enjoyed these classes more than my other ones, and I still do.
Back in the beginning, though, I did find it overwhelming, so I decided to make a table to show my brain the different aspects of all the exams. I have a sneaky feeling there have been a few changes to some of the Cambridge exams – the FCE etc – but the general ideas should still be the same.
Have a look if you are new to the exam world and can’t tell your KET from your PET.