Having finally qualified a couple of weeks ago, yesterday I started my new role, examining IELTS Speaking Tests for the British Council. Whilst I've practiced running dummy exams and graded recorded interviews, I've never before done both things simultaneously. It's tricky as you;re aware that the things that you say, the timings of the activities and the consequent analysis of the candidate's ability are all monitored and posthumously assessed in great detail. So I need to concentrate hard and get everything right.
Last Friday was my first day alone in the house in many months - and probably my last for a while! So I did the manly things of sawing the legs shorter on my office desk, the less manly thing of vacuuming up the mess I had made and the positively unmanly thing of making a loaf of bread. Just call me Mr Gender-fluid!
Some new water drinking fountains have been installed around Green Lake, which is a great idea in the current hot weather.
But woe betide anyone who tries to drink from them! They have been commandeered by the local pensioners who queue up at them all day long to fill bottles, buckets and pots with the free drinking water! To say elderly Chinese people are "thrifty" would be something of an understatement.
Spent a few days this week back in ChongQing - smoggy city with a population of some 30 million. After a day of review and practice, I retook the 3-hour Certification Test and this time passed the thing. So I'm now a qualified Examiner for the British Council. I'm heading back to Kunming later today.
I'm "studying hard" this week as I have returned to ChongQing to have another go at passing the exam I failed a few weeks ago. It's my last attempt - if I fail again, I move on!!
But with everything closed tomorrow for May Day (a National Holiday here), I should also get a chance to "play hard" too. I'm looking to get some good views of the the Yangtze by boat or cable car.
I was summoned to my University last Friday to appear in a promotional video they are filming. About a dozen foreign faces were there, though most were students or S.E. Asians (in their national costumes). My role was to "look at a book, adjust my glasses and smile at the camera". My demands for a character backstory and a fruit-filled changing room were ignored. But I suspect Hollywood will be in touch soon enough...
JD has been involved in a few incidents of naughtiness at his school recently. Nothing serious, but he's now finding out what a punishment feels like! One small positive to come out of it was they he was quick to confess each time, without us having to pressure him or investigate. So at least he has a conscience....!
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