Testing: A Language Diary Entry

It’s testing time! In a few days, I will take a German language certification exam. This is something I thought I would never do. So I have some very mixed feelings about it.

The Good Side

When I started learning German, I wanted it to be a hobby. That is, not a chore, but something I do for fun. Since studying for a test is a chore — and signing up for it costs a lot of money — I decided never to make myself worry about it. On the other hand, after I failed a mock test early this year (See the Language Diary entry Recovery), I have worried about something else for months: What if I am avoiding testing only because I know I won’t do well? The good news is that soon I will no longer feel stress over it.

And it will be nice to have a definite answer to the question: “What level are you?”

Then again, there was nothing wrong with my former answer: “I have no idea. I’m learning for fun, not for testing.”

The Bad Side

I feel that I was pushed into taking the test. And in a way, I was. My teacher’s students may have a very good passing rate in certification exams, but that is because she focuses so much on that end goal. One of the first questions she asked me was when I planned to take the B2 test, because she wanted to help me study for it. And when I told her that I had no plans of the sort at all, she started trying to change my mind.

When the Bavarian tutor joined her school and started working with me, she gave him the same mission. In fact, the only reason I finally agreed to testing was so that both of them would get off my back.

And the reason she was so persistent about it was that she wants me to be a teacher in her school. Despite how good I already am at German, I simply can’t teach without a certification. A B2 certificate would be very good for me . . . but also great for her. And the more I think about it, the more disrespected I feel.

The Bombshell

The first time my teacher asked me to work in her school, I said: “Ask me again next February.” I had some private plans that required me to stay in my current job until then. (I still do.) When my teacher persisted, I explained those plans in more detail. She stopped offering me a position, though she continued pushing the advantages of getting a certificate. In anticipation of February, obviously.

Then just last week, one of the tutors from the school said that she was so excited that I would be joining them next month.

I looked at her to check if she was joking. She wasn’t. Neither was another tutor, who was sitting right next to her. Both of them seemed thrilled. There can be only one explanation for it.

Despite everything I have said to my teacher about wanting to remain with my current company until next year, she heard only what she wanted.

The Conclusion

I will take the test and do my best. And after I get my certificate, I will visit the school, to return the books I have borrowed. Then I will take a break for a while. If my teacher really wants me to teach there, she can ask me again . . . next February.

What do you think of certification exams?

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