Sunday, June 22, 2008


The very last writing before the test. Time was ok, also the subject was fine. The result...see by yourself:


Telecommuting is becoming more and more common, and there is a reason for this phenomenon: telecommuting presents a variety of advantages over working in the office. Because of all of these advantages that improve the lives of the employees, a lot of people prefer telecommuting instead of commuting every day to the office. Personally, I believe there are three main advantages that telecommuting offers to employees: saving time, flexible schedules and comfort.

The most important advantage of telecommuting is the time that employees can save with it. As everybody knows, time is golden, and saving it is very wise. After years of waking up very early in the morning and face a terrible traffic jam or crowded metros and buses, who wouldn't like to sleep one hour more and just walk in one minute from the bedroom to the office to start working? I know a lot of people would be happy with the exchange. Having more time makes people happier and more motivated for work.

Beside the time people can save by telecommuting, we can't forget about the flexibility of the schedule for those who telecommute. As long as employees respect the deadlines their bosses give them, they can use their time however they want. They can go to the gym in the morning, they can spend more time with their children, they can walk the dog, have a calmer and healthier lunch. This would not be a problem if they could make up for these hours in the evening or at night. Also, when employees can have a flexible schedule that allows them to live their life with more freedom, they will definitely feel happier, less tired, less depressed and more willing to work.

Finally, we cannot forget about the comfort of working from home. People can sit on a comfortable chair, decorate the office the way they want, have the best cup of coffee, listen to their favorite CDs and even wear a sweatshirt and flip flops instead of suits and uncomfortable shoes. All of these comforts also contribute in making the quality of employee's life much better.

As you can see from the advantages I just described, I prefer telecommuting rather than working in the office every single day. The advantages and improvements in the life quality are truly important. Sadly, being a teacher, I don't think I will have this possiility any time soon. However, if I ever have the chance of doing that, I would certainly telecommute rather than commute to work every single day.


I wrote this essay the day before yesterday, as a preparation for the test. Timing was great, I could plan, write and proof read! The subject was not that interesting, though...


"Promotion" is one of employees' favorite words, especially because it involves money. Organizations, then, use "promotions" in order to make their employees feel better, keep them working inside the organization, provide them an extra motivation to work better. This is the general idea behind promotions in every organization; however, different organizations deal with promotions in different ways. We can say that there are two main kind of promotions: those based on seniority and those based on performance.

The promotions based on seniority offer advantages both for the worker and for the employer. On the one hand, the worker feels safe working for the same company for many years because he knows that his fidelity to the same company will be rewarded every once in a while with a promotion. On the other hand, also the employer gains something with that. In fact, it is really expensive and time-consuming for the companies to train new personnel. By giving promotions based on seniority, companies make sure that the employees will keep working for them and this reduces possible expenses with training new people.

Promotions based on seniority, though, do not provide the same advantages that the promotions based on performance do. Promotions based on performance, in fact, provide different advantages to both the employee and the employer. The employee, on the one hand, will know that his efforts in trying to do a good job will always be acknowledged and awarded at any time. When the employee feels that he is being rewarded for his good job, he will want to keep doing a better job to try to get more promotions. This way, the employer also has an advantage: his employees will always be motivated to work hard, which will be good for the whole organization after all.

As we can see, both kinds of promotions provide some advantages to employers and employees, so that it is hard to say which one works better. From my stand point-of-view, I would say that I would prefer working for an organization that acknoledges my good work no matter how old I am in the company. When my good work is acknowledged and rewarded, I am sure I would feel more motivated to keep working for the same company, even though I would lack the security that organizations with promotions based on seniority grant to their workers. This is why I prefer promotions based on performance rather than those based on seniority

Grading students

I wrote this text some time time ago, to prepare for TOEFL. I don't remember if the timing was right, but I remember this was a subject I did not think too difficult to write about. Let's see how I did:


Grading students is known to be one of the hardest parts of being a teacher. Teachers sometimes prefer to rely on test grades, but some other times prefer to see the participation of the students in class. Personally, I believe both grade systems present positive and negative aspects.

When the grades are based uniquely on exam results, the process is more "impartial" on the one hand, but also more impersonal on the other. Being impartial in grading tests might be easier for the teacher, but the students might not feel that the teacher is close and concerned about them. Besides, there is always a chance that even the best students don't know the answer for one question, so that grades based on tests are not always the best tool to evaluate the preparation of the students. However, we have to consider there are students that are shy and do not like to participate in class. For these students, grades based on exams might be better.

The same kind of shy students that do not like participating and talking in front of the other classmates might be strongly disadvantaged in those courses where grades are based on participation. Since they do not like to participate, even though they study hard, they would never get good grades. Nonetheless, grades based on participation might be good for students that like to participate and show their interest in the subject. Moreover, the teachers that use this system are usually felt like being closer to the students and able to evaluate their progress more attentively.

Personally, I believe that none of these systems is actually very good if taken separately. I believe, instead, that, in order to give every student a chance, a fairer grade system should be based both on exam results as well as on participation. In this way both the shy and the outgoing students would be able to show their improvements and their hard work. Since it is up to the teacher to decide, I believe a sensitive educator would certainly take this into account, proving to be closer to and concerned with his own students.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

All is well that ends well

I finally made it in 30 minutes! I wrote and revised practically my whole the end, though, I thought of adding one more sentence (it was not really necessary, though) and I didn't check how much time I had! Pretty dumb thing to do, because the window shut down while I was writing and I couldn't finish the sentence. I sort of messed up at the very end. I'll have to remember not to do this on the day of the test...

Everything else went pretty well, I goes my text, so that you can see y yourself (574 words, btw)


Sometimes there are unexpected things that happen in our life and that toss us in the most dreadful desperation. We get very upset, angry or sad when an event changes the course of our plans. However, not all bad things bring about bad outcomes. It can happen, in fact, that unpleasant events turn out to bring us pleasant surprises and results. This is what happened to me almost eight years ago, when I was forced, against my will, to leave my home country.

I lived for most of my life in Italy with part of my family. My mother, though, lived in Brazil with my brother and all of her part of the family. At the age of 16, for several reasons, my parents decided it was better for me to move to Brazil and live with my mother. I do not need to say it was a big shock for me, and I really did not want to leave my school, my studies, my friends, my city and that part of my family with whom I grew up. However, I did not really have a choice and I had to move.

Starting my new life in Brazil was not easy. First of all, I did not know anybody there. Also, because at that time schools were closed due to the holidays, I did not meet anybody for a long time. Another obstacle I found was the language. I did know some Portuguese, but not so much and I had not spoken it for almost 12 years. The first few months, then, were really sad for me.

Once I started going to school, I met new people and things were a little bit easier. Nevertheless, I still wanted to go back home, not only for the friends and for my family, but specially for my studies. In fact, it was hard for me to adapt to the way schools worked in Brazil.

I do not know when exactly, but at a certain point I started realizing I would not go back to Italy. By then, I was already preparing for my Brazilian SAT and I was applying to go to a Brazilian university. Little by little, I stopped feeling homesick and I did not feel that desire to go back to Italy any more.
After two years that I had been living in Brazil, I finally went back to Italy for a short visit. I found my friends there and my family and it was wonderful to meet them again. However, I also saw the sadness, the bad humour, the stress and the unhappiness that my friends and family were experiencing. This is when I realized I was actually lucky to have had a chance to live abroad. This experience, that started in the most unhappy way, turned out to be my salvation. If I had stayed in Italy, I would probably have experienced the same stress, negativism and unhappiness that my friends were going through.

As you can see from my experience, unpleasant events that start bringing about sadness or anger may actually surprise you with wonderful results. It may be hard at the beginning and the situation might require a lot of strength from us, as it happened when I first moved to Brazil, but sometimes it is really worthwhile, as I later found out in my experience. After all, as Shakespeare used to put it, "all is well that ends well".