Thursday, 17 May 2012

Reaping the rewards

With the last re-sits of the final exams last week bringing an end to the majority of our teaching, a major part of what we are doing here is now over, a fact of which we are very aware and so are the students. Although we still have six weeks left, it has been nice to feel appreciated, with lots of the students thanking us for teaching them and telling us they will miss us when we go back to our country.

With exams to invigilate and mark for almost 200 students, we had a very busy but on the whole quite positive few days at the end of April. The days of oral exams were particularly intense; a lesson in how much concentration is required to give 100% attention to each student, without thinking about the previous one or the next one or how many more there are to get through. Intense, but also intensely rewarding, especially with the senior students, who showed us that all the hard work had been worthwhile. One of our very first TVED experiences last October was observing the equivalent exam with the previous batch, and there is no doubt that our current students demonstrated more language but particularly more confidence in speaking English: our strongest students spoke fluently, but more rewarding was that even among the weakest students, nobody was tongue-tied and silent.

Once round one was completed, rounds two and three saw gradually dwindling numbers as many students passed and were signed off; but we were no less busy as we had intensive remedial classes with our struggling students (and our lazy ones) in the hope that most would make it through – and most did.

After a full timetable of “last chance” exams last Tuesday, Wednesday was D-Day for the remaining students, the day when we would sign their clearance forms, with good news or bad – and for most it was good news. After each round of exams we have been the bearers of some bad news, but lots of good news. Although it has been difficult to tell some students they haven’t passed, there have also been some real highlights in telling students they have passed: not so much the ones who we knew would pass all along, but those who have had to work very hard to make it through, and have received the well-earned rewards of their labour. The smiling faces with an occasional touch of disbelief, the handshakes, even a hug from one or two; the students who kept coming back to ask to see their score again, just to confirm it was still a pass a few hours later; the 100% pass rate in both subjects from WFT, our weakest class in each year group, through hard work and a lot of solidarity; those are the moments form last Wednesday I will remember and treasure. 

And those who are left, the last 18? Well with our naughtiest class dominating the fail lists, I think even the students, deep down, would admit that a lot of those who failed it may be because they haven’t worked quite as hard as they might have done! But we are not giving up yet and are still hard at it with special assignments (for which read intensive extra classes) and we’re hoping they will all be signed off, before we leave ...

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