A day in the life of a Cambridge English: First teacher
Read more about a day in the life of a Cambridge English: First teacher. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Christa Husen from Bielefeld! We wish you and your students all the best!
“I am sure you didn’t know that the VHS Ravensberg, a small VHS in Northrhine Westfalia, offers prep-classes for students who want to take the Cambridge Exam. Yes, they do. They co-operate with local comprehensive or grammar schools and therefore about 30 students have passed their FCE-Cambridge exam in June 2010 and 2011, some really very successfully.
Now, what does a day as a teacher for these highly motivated students look like? First of all- I am prepared, material ready, CDs ready, the exact number of fotocopies … Second, I get to the Storck-Haus on time in order to get the classroom prepared. Then – it is a quarter to four in the afternoon the students arrive. They have had lessons in the afternoon and are a little tired and outworn so the first thing we start off with is oral work like debating or comparing pictures-this livens up and prepares them for the oral exam at the same time.
After this warming-up I have chosen to do a listening–comprehension exercise because now my students are able to concentrate fully. Listening comprehensions are not too difficult at this level but they are much easier than in the actual exam. My students like listening–comprehension exercises because they listen to real–life conversations and interesting news stories in a variety of accents.
A short break ( a drink of Coke and a sweet snack ) enables my students to go for the next task – the writing task. I have the feeling that not all students like to do the writing task in class. Concentration is required to make sure that you understand the task well – planning is also needed and before you actually write down something appropriate, check if you have really considered each point. The writing task consists of two tasks actually – the first one is always a letter , either formal or informal. German students don’t have much trouble with informal letters but they are not so familiar with formal ones. The second writing task is more like what our students are used to in school. They discuss a problem or they write a story . It’s fun when the students read out their debates, letters or stories. Each time I take their written work home to mark it and I hope they stop making the same mistakes next time.
What most students hate is the Use of English – task because they are not accustomed to the methods used and many students make many mistakes which is of course a little frustrating. But during the course of time they get better at this task and I often support them by filling in little special grammar exercises. And believe it or not – I revise important vocabulary with them each lesson. Just for the fun of it . Well, on a typical day we can’t do all the exercises so the Reading Task is on alternate days. But when we meet on a Saturday we have time to practice the complete 5 tasks that make up the exam.
I think it is a good idea that training for the Cambridge FCE is outsourced and done by an external teacher. And I like it :-)”