Friday, July 13, 2007

Language audits, summer work, summer vacation (not)


I haven't had much time to keep up with the news lately, much less to post something here, because I've been a little busy doing "language audits" for one of the schools I work for. The audits are on incoming students, mostly for the next school year, but occasionally there are students who want to start right away and do some studying this summer.
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The language audit is essentially an interview to verify the level students have been tentatively assigned according to a written examination they have taken. Usually their final level is right at or very near the level they tested out at. However, some people do much better in an interview situation than on a test and vice versa. Therefore, at times a bit of an adjustment may be required.
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It's interesting work, as I get to talk to different people all over Spain (the interviews are done over the telephone) and find out about their careers, their perceptions of English language learning and a variety of other subjects. One of the things that actually touches me is how important this is for most of them. It reminds me that there is real significance and value to teaching English.
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On the practical side, finding administrative work like this is one of the ways an EFL teacher can earn money during the summer months, when the school year is technically out. This is important because while some English teachers in Spain get paid vacation, many do not.
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So, this summer work has been taking up a bit of time, along with the few students of mine who are continuing with lessons through July. Of course in August EFL opportunities will lessen again.
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One thing I don't like about teaching English in a situation like this, is that I don't get much of a summer vacation, if any. After all, when there's no work, there's no pay coming in.
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On the bright side, it's a such a wonderful place to live that the lack of a lengthy vacation away is not so bad. Plus, there are a lot of public holidays in Spain. And with that, I'll count my blessings and go out for my evening "paseo."
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Chao amig@s,
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Carloz

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