Monday, 23 January 2012

A busy weekend - ESOL

Yukari & I were not looking forward to driving half way across the country with our little children last Friday; the fact that it snowed all that day and into the night as we prepared to leave didn't help us relax. However, despite the dangerous conditions and heavy Friday night truck traffic around Nagoya, we needn't have worried - kids fast asleep as the miles swept by.

Yukari attended a meeting of Centre Exams Managers - the people responsible for the administration of Cambridge Centres (remember, Luna is one?) and all the exams we offer. This is a lot of work, with a lot of important little details that have to be done accurately and be well planned out. Eg our 2012 exam dates have already been set & venues set up; new software has been installed and new materials sourced. It was a good opportunity for CEMs from across the country to be briefed on new developments, security issues, announcements etc - and to meet each other.

Jim attended a meeting with QC line managers from Korea & Taiwan, and peer Team Leaders (TLs) based in Hyogo & Kyushu. This was an excellent opportunity for two-way discussion of examiner performance, monitoring, and statistical analysis. It also meant we were put on the spot to submit marks as all our speaking examiners are in training & certification meetings. I was wrong, and I know why. All part of the learning curve.

Our children slept at odd angles in the car as we drove home on Sunday night, Yukari & I chatted about our experiences. She is new to the CEM job, clearly, after Yuki's ten-year occupancy. She is reassured to have met the rest (mostly) of ESOL in Japan. It is an enormous job which in other countries is a job on its own.

We hope in future we can all reduce the travel, time, cost & family burdens if such meetings - of course face to face meetings are irreplaceable...but we both feel a monthly Skype or webinar much more useful long-term. So, the weekend a regular step in the right direction; let's hope my kids won't have to cope with another 10 hours/2 nights in the car when tech can do the job.