Tag Archives: final exams

Waffle on Saturday

Uh-oh! The weather blog is back.

A few days ago, it was 32°, and clear and sunny. On Thursday the rain was probably the heaviest its been since Typhoon Haikui in July last year. The day started as drizzle, which was rain by lunchtime, and after a brief hiatus, it returned with a vengeance and didn’t ease until sometime on Friday morning.

Friday seemed to start dry, but when I left for school, I discovered that invisible light rain was falling. This is the stuff which is as saturating as heavy rain even although it can’t be seen from the window, and leaves no clear traces in puddles. But eventually, that turned into micro-drizzle for most of the rest of the day before the rain returned in the evening.

This morning the rain is still invisible, but I can see the telltale ripples in the puddles along the lane behind Jinma.

I’m sure that this is one of the wettest and most contrary springs that I’ve experienced here. We started the week on 32° and got drenched on 20°.


The week in education.

The PAL students have had both of their English exams. The Reading and Writing paper was par for the course. I think the note-taking and summary exercises may have been a little tricky because of the risk of distractions. The summary, which was about the advantages and disadvantages of e-books, was at risk of becoming a summary about e-book readers, I think.

Ex. 6 was a letter to a friend about borrowing something. I can imagine that the language of polite requests, which occurs in one of the early units in the book, had long since been forgotten, and I can also imagine how dull and mundane the requests were. It was another topic which though outwardly rather dull offered scope for some far-ranging flights of fancy.

Ex. 7 was an article about success. I’m sure the little darlings whipped out their finest clichés and used the usual Chinglish phrases about having “a big achieve­ment”. I thought about the topic myself and concluded that success is the product of achievement set against ambition. Success is gradient, from complete fulfilment of an ambition to any degree of partial fulfilment after that. At some point, the level of success is no longer satisfactory.

The Listening exam was on Friday, but I haven’t seen the paper yet, which probably had the usual stuff about chocolate, fruit, and dinosaurs.

It seems that I’m probably going to be teaching AS and A2 English next year, but there are certain issues with the timetable which make things awkward unless there’s a second teacher. I’ve also been told that we probably won’t be getting a third AS class next year (but the best laid plans etc.). The new students in those classes are either very good or very bad with nothing in between.

I don’t know quite how the rest of term is going to pan out. Part of June will be IELTS and TOEFL classes, but part of the next three weeks needs to be English class with the AS students, who are going to be having an English exam early in June. The main problem is that we’ve run out of time and there are other things such as SATs to distract students from reality.

Wins and losses

My least favourite character in MASH.

Yes, farewell Kim Jong-Il, thou monstrous turd in the swimming pool of humanity. The thing of second least value on Earth is still worth infinitely more than you ever were; and also, you were complete rubbish in MASH.

In the Imperial Palace, the Emperor breathed a sigh of relief at the news. The stinky little goblin wouldn’t be back to steal more spoons.

“Miriam,” he said to his wife, “we’re using the good silver tonight.”

Meanwhile, Vaclav Havel, a man of much greater worth and therefore a much greater loss has also died. Unlike Kim Jong-Il, the BBC has the world paying tribute to you. Kim Jong-Il merely gets reactions.

We’re going to get days off around Christmas and New Year, but this afternoon, Peter came and told us we’re now going to get the Monday and Tuesday off. Guess what that means. Yes, we’ve got school on Saturday before. It gets worse: it’s probably going to be Tuesday, which is my bad day. Bugger. Oh, and I’m going to be doing some babysitting first thing on Friday morning while other people go off on holidays.

This morning a new version of Φrεεgaтэ appeared. The previous version had actually been quite stable, and had lasted much longer than any of the versions I’d been using previously.

While we’re talking about all those things the Empire hates on the Internet (aka almost everything), I still can’t see the point of Facebook and have, by and large, lost interest in Google+ where two or three people do all the posting as far as I can tell.

Well, I should go and cook tea before I realise that the final exam is much closer than I thought.

The End of Exams

Pens down, you little bast… darlings.

The final exams for the term are now over and marked. How did the students fare? Like this:

Speaking: Good
Listening: bloody awful
Reading: So-so
Writing: Good
Use of English: So-so

It’s pretty much what I was expecting. Class 14 were a low IELTS 4.5 and Class 15 a high 4.5 shading into a 5.0. (We gave them an FCE-level exam and converted the marks to an IELTS equivalence. 4.5 is in the upper intermediate range.)

Term isn’t quite over. We found out this morning, however, that we won’t be doing any more teaching this term. Not that we were going to. Those three lovely letters – D, V, D – were dancing before us in their flimsy attire, flirting naughtily through light, silk night apparel… Ahem!

Anyway, I have to write some sort of report for the headmaster. I have no idea what I’m meant to say.

Dear Headmaster,
If the only active students are removed from my class next term to do IELTS preparation, I’ll end up talking to my hand.

We don’t know what we’re actually going to be doing next term. The original idea was that Senior 2 should do IELTS, but I think they had to get at least a 5.0 in this exam. Out of our classes, potential IELTS students will probably number about sixteen, with a few possibles who might be considered. But that excludes the majority of the students.

My prediction is that we’ll continue teaching Cambridge English for Schools and we’ll move onto Book 4. The question is whether the potential IELTS students are allowed to choose what they do, or are told what they’ll be doing. I think it’s unlikely that James and I will be teaching IELTS preparation, but only time will tell.


One is the easiest number to vote for.

The contest to find a replacement for Charles Kennedy appears to be a non-starter because it appears no one wants to run against Menzies Campbell for the job. The more interesting story seems to be about those who plotted against Kennedy in the first place.

Kennedy denounces plotters – pp. 2, 3, 4, 5
Sir Menzies Campbell to lead Lib Dems – Additions and corrections, p. 85