“N.B. – Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once.”

It’s now getting close to three months since I started working here in 20151202_105404.jpgPhnom Penh and my first term is drawing to a close. The school I work for works a four term year, ten week term, though the number of public holidays here means the ten week term often takes more than ten weeks to deliver. There is only one term with no public holidays, which is important when I only get paid the time I work.

The end of term means exams and we are right in the middle of them. 20151202_103932.jpgSaturday started the writing and, for some grammar, exams. Now these are being marked before we start the listening and reading again on Saturday so we can get the whole thing wrapped up by the end of term, and, more importantly, payday.

Students you haven’t seen before, or only infrequently suddenly appear 20151202_111947.jpgagain. Some ask if they will get a mark for their speaking, which is mostly up to the teacher, when you haven’t heard them say boo to a goose all term. All the new arrivals puts a strain on the moto parking, as you see from the first picture above and left.

Students know the score and quickly have the classroom organised with 20151202_105425.jpgthe desks, unlike the usual TEFL horseshoe shape, now in nice rows with one behind the other. Some, even when there are only five students, as in the photo above and right, get so carried away they organise almost all the other seats in the classroom into rows even though they all have to be put back at the end into the horseshoe shape again!

Saturday is the day I’m not looking forward to as all the other classes have a lesson after the last test giving time to get the marking done. It’s pretty 20151202_155840.jpgmechanistic as the reading and listening are either right or wrong and there is an answer sheet so it is just a matter of going through, marking the correct or incorrect ones and then adding them up and giving the students a mark. However, the Saturday class has no subsequent one. It is the last one so the test is set in the first part of the lesson. Thern the students get a break whilst I mark the tests. All the other information about attendance, speaking etc. has to be entered before hand, then once the marks are entered in results sheets have to be printed off for each candidate, checked for correctness. and then given to the students. I have been advised to ask the students who have failed to come out with their bags so they can fade away if they wish. For the rest of the classes, they do the test Monday or Tuesday and I mark it and have until Wednesday or Thursday, respectively, to get the result to the students, at the end of a normal lesson when I have to teach them for up to two and a half hours, a normal lesson where both they and I know it is really filling in time until I give them the results, before giving them their results. p1140213_22920844930_oThe nice thing is that in the evening, after the Saturday classes lunchtime finish, is the company Christmas Party where we get to eat and drink at their expense in a plush hotel in Phnom Penh, at the confluence of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers (pictured) followed by dancing which some of my Khmer colleagues have been assuring me is value even though it only has half an hour slot in the agenda for the party. Here’s looking forward to Saturday!

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