I don’t know where to start.
A long time ago, I really needed a job. That job turned out to be teaching English. Oh, how I cringe when I say that I teach English. I never wanted to. I’ll never be your ‘typical teacher’. I can never remember the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs and the finer points of grammar tend to slip my mind.
And yet, language is an interesting concept, and so is the way we construct our sentences. Vocabulary can be fun, paradigms are pure poetry, and phrasal verbs are an ideal instrument of torture. Plus, so many people seems to have ‘problems’ with the English language here, and … I like helping people. It doesn’t matter what I help them with, really; I just like helping things go smoothly. I’m fucked.
But nowadays, most people don’t seem to want to have lessons to learn a language. They gear their study to one main thing: passing an exam which will unlock doors in the world of work and for future study.
I’d been teaching for a few years when I was told that if I got a teaching qualification I’d be able to start holding courses in university and examining for Cambridge – the main authority for guaranteeing standards are met in English exams worldwide.
I was extremely lucky to be able to go to London and study at International House. But I never got any jobs, and was turned down time and time again for Cambridge exams because ‘you ain’t got no degree’. Yikes! But for some reason, earlier this year, I got an email telling me I could apply for examiner training, so I did!
Cambridge standards are punctiliously noted and applied. Examiners are often examined themselves to ensure everything is as it should be. I should know the Cambridge method: after all, one of my lessons at International House was supervised by a man (inspector) from Cambridge and it can be nerve-wracking!
I can’t spill any real secrets, but I can say that examiners aren’t allowed to access materials beforehand, and the same materials have to be given back to the Cambridge centre ASAP after exams have been held. Examiners are also supposed to look ‘appropriate’, meaning that they have to meet the standard image of an examiner in their country of activity (that must be why my friend who’s a professor at university always looks like a circus doll when she does exams!).
Anyways, my first exam is water under the bridge; I made some mistakes but only one was genuine and due to first time nerves … the other was linked to the fact that my colleague was in a damn hurry to get it all over with and thought I was an expert, whereas I wasn’t sure of procedure. And guess what, it was held in the liceo in Macerata … my old school. It felt really odd returning as an adult!
I’ll be ready next time, and I’d better bloody well be, cos I think I have another one coming up soon.
image credits: https://www.teachinghouse.com/blog/why-i-love-being-a-cambridge-speaking-examiner/ http://profesornativogratis.com/cambridge-yl-exam-part-4-flyers-questions-teachers-pdf/ https://atlaslanguageschool.com/blog/top-tips-for-preparing-for-the-cambridge-preliminary-pet-speaking-exam/http://profesornativogratis.com/cambridge-yl-exam-part-4-flyers-questions-teachers-pdf/