My Dutch administrator send me a note to tell me that the results of two of my three tests were in – she hadn’t received the third yet but remain at the same level for Listening and Reading. There’s no indication of my scores or whether I’m moving within a series of tests within a level, just a reminder that my 18-month limit is not far off and I should keep improving.
The tests were easy: unless I got careless picking from the multiple-choice boxes, I should have done fine. I followed up to ask about the scores and thresholds but was told that I’m being handed off to a new administrator.
Similarly, when I visited the Gemeente, I found that my new administrator (January) had handed me off to another new administrator (March). This fellow apologized for not answering calls: he spontaneously took a few days off because the weather was nice. “I like not working,” he smiled. Wouldn’t we all.
I find it all very frustrating.
The Daily Dutch commitment was yielding solid progress in Reading (I read the FD and Volkskrant daily) and Writing (I know most of the words I need). When I ride the train, I read the Metro, de Pers, or the Spits: there was a charming story that I really enjoyed today without having to refer to a dictionary. Listening and speaking are lagging, but I’m increasing my diet of radio, television, podcasts, and time with neighbors.
I’m increasingly concerned that there is a gap between these activities and the content of the test. The college is heavily oriented towards learning social norms and finding a job; the test questions all dealt with getting along with neighbors and getting job interviews. My daily interactions are with doing software design and discussing politics. It’s different vocabulary and audience, and maybe they don’t overlap.
My Dutch neighbor tells me not to fight the system. Stop reading the newspapers and start learning the classroom primers. Stop having conversations with businessmen and start having dialogs with shopkeepers. Do more practice tests; focus on the portfolios.
I’ll try. It does make it hard to stay motivated, though.