I had been teaching Chinese language in Singapore for many years. My students included a wide range of individuals from different countries, language backgrounds and age groups. I took pride in improving my students’ Chinese standards and seeing them get better everyday, from not knowing a single word of Chinese to being able to read and write, and sometimes even speak like a Chinese. However, I still felt inadequate at times because I felt that I lacked the necessary qualifications. I had always wanted to earn a certificate of international Chinese language teachers, but I had no clue as to where to sit for the examination. From my online research, I found that there were some certificates available but they were not official. I was stumped on where to find an official certification examination for international Chinese Language teaching.
It was not until September 2015 that a friend teaching international Chinese notified me about the official launch of the Certificate for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (CTCSOL), the only official examination available. I was estactic and decided to get myself certified.
I learned from the briefing by HSK Centre (Crestar) that this examination is divided into two parts: written examination and interview. Extensive knowledge is required to pass the examination. Apart from this, candidates have to pass HSK Level 6 examination in order to attain the certificate. This is a difficult task indeed. Right after the briefing, I registered for the examination, and bought some reference books.
The time for exam preparation was very limited because I spent most of my time working. Thanks to my abundant experiences in the education sector and my extensive knowledge in arts, I managed to pass the written examination, which covered some arts topics such as Badashanren (pseudonym of Zhu Da, a famous painter of the Ming Dynasty) and Qingming Shanghe Tu (Along the River during the Qingming Festival). The examination was difficult and I was grateful for my arts background.
When I was on vacation in China at the end of the year, HSK Centre (Crestar) informed me about mock interviews. Having been through the tough written examination, I registered for mock interviews without hesitation. I didn’t do well in the mock interview because I was fatigued by the long journey from China to Singapore earlier that day. After that, I took the interview training courses to improve myself in terms of teaching skills and classroom management, and passed the actual interview in the end.
From the written examination on 31st October 2015 to the interview, and then to the HSK Level 6 examinations, it took me half a year. During this period, I gradually discovered my limitations and found my goal. I understand that the international Chinese teaching career is a long and arduous task. CTCSOL is just a testimony to my professional qualification. I still have to keep on learning in order to contribute to the international Chinese teaching scene.
— Ms Lu Shaoling