Better Than Solitary Joy

close up of beer glass against black background

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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.

Congratulations FCE class of Autumn 2018.  You did it!

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About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
This entry was posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, ESL, happiness, students, success, teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Better Than Solitary Joy

  1. How lovely to know all your work helped your students with their hard work. When you taught overseas were you ever told everyone had to pass and it was up to you to make that work? This happened to me in China, I had to come up with some fancy grading skills! A private school and so different from much of how exams are treated in China.

    • Anthony says:

      In my time overseas, I worked at a private language school, so there was not pressure to pass everyone. Had I worked in an actual school–that would no doubt have been the case.
      Currently, I am more often cautioned to be stricter rather than lax. We are hoping to get more involved with a program to get our students to go on to higher education in Canada. As such, they want the emphasis to be on ability.
      I suppose there would be pressure if we had more of these students and the universities or colleges needed their money.

  2. Alphe says:

    Ah amazing!
    I passed my FCE exam at some point during high school and my CAE… about 6 years ago? I remember those weeks of continuous cramming in hopes to be able use the fanciest, most sophisticated vocabulary wherever possible in the exam. And the stressful wait for results. I’ve been considering taking the last exam in the series, CPE, for quite a while now… I don’t need it and it costs a lot, but I’m kinda tempted to take it, just for personal satisfaction. Though on the other hand, knowing myself, it would again end up with weeks of having my nose stuck in coursebooks, for something I really don’t need. Oh the dilemma!

    • Anthony says:

      Some of my students take the exam more as a “challenge” or motivation to study rather than a real need.
      Of course, it does help some people immigrate to different parts of the world–although maybe IELTS is taking that over.

  3. Hunida says:

    That’s amazing, Anthony! You must feel so proud! 😄

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