Where I work, students improve their English and change their levels. Hopefully, they have improved their pronunciation, reading comprehension, their writing skills, and their ability to speak a language I take for granted every day. While I love this, it does not always reach me because there is no external validation. I decide that their level has improved. I see it, but it is more than a bit subjective.
Luckily, twice a year, I teach a course that has, as its culmination/outcome…judgment really, an international test from Cambridge University. In most cases I teach the FCE preparation course. Occasionally, I teach the higher, more difficult CAE course, but mostly I teach the FCE course which judges students at a high intermediate level. Having a clearly defined goal is a fantastic thing for a teacher. It might lead to a bid of hard pushing, but that isn’t always a bad thing.
I last finished this course at the start of December. The students took their test and everyone kept their fingers crossed. I was quite confident that, for the first time in many years, everyone would pass and several would pass with an A or B (the only distinction given–yeah, only 3 passing marks)
As it was a huge test, with thousands of people taking the test world wide, the results were not available until January. As I said, I was confident that everyone would pass. This in fact turned out to be the case. Sadly, perhaps because the marking has gotten a bit more rigorous, none of my students managed an A. Nevertheless, I was quite proud and felt very good about it.
Before you jump to conclusions, this is not Friday’s Perfect Moment. I found out a little while ago, and kept that to myself.
How this relates to Friday’s Perfect Moment is that two of my students who took the course paid me a visit before they were scheduled to leave Canada and eventually make their way back home. I think they are making stops in New York or LA before heading home, though I didn’t ask about specific details, but those seem like likely destinations.
I was quite touched that they wanted to see me and made time for them–not that my schedule was so busy, but still.
We spent a few moments reminiscing before they asked me how the other students in the class had done. Despite near constant communication being available to them, they couldn’t muster the courage to ask everyone how they did, perhaps fearing that one of them did not succeed. They were so overjoyed when I informed them that everyone passed the exam.
Their joy was quite contagious and I felt even better when I read the news the first time. Perhaps shared joy is better than solitary joy.