La Scuola

25 Jan

This week has been spent visiting most of the schools I will be teaching at. Earlier in the week Tina found out that I’m only allowed to teach at 3 schools at once, so the plan is to work at Federico Toscano, Via Visso and Tempo Pieno until April, and then Sant’Anastasio and Santa Croce after that.

So far I have visited all of the schools apart from Santa Croce, which is apparently up in the hills somewhere and only has 2 pupils in year 5! Everyone at the schools has been very welcoming, the kids made posters and banners saying things like ‘Welcome Louise’ and ‘Benvenuto in Italia’, while the teachers offered me various kinds of cake, pastry, pizza, pie, fruit…basically enough food to keep me going for the rest of the day.

I will be mainly teaching year 5, although every week I will also spend a bit of time with some of the younger ones, right down to year 1. While I was sitting in on one of the year 1 classes I realised how challenging it can be to teach something as basic as numbers in English, when they only just have a grasp of what numbers really mean in their own language, and they don’t entirely understand how the symbol for a number also means the same thing as its name.

In the older classes I was bombarded with all the questions they have been learning recently, which mostly revolves around ‘What is your favourite ### ?’, so now everyone knows my favourite colour, food, animal, music, musician, shop, season etc. etc. I have also found a kindred spirit in a 10 year old at Sant’Anastasio who appreciates Drake as much as I do.

When being put on the spot with children you sometimes have to adjust your answers, either for their general English ability, or because the answer probably isn’t appropriate eg. when asked your favourite animal, don’t say Slow Loris, and when asked about The Beatles (all Italian children love The Beatles) only to realise their only song you know all the lyrics to is ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’, it’s best not to mention it. I don’t want to be responsible for a sudden influx of 9 year old hammer-wielding murderers.

One thing I have noticed is how different Italian children and from the English. Here, they are a bit more confident and a lot more enthusiastic towards strangers, especially foreign ones. The rules in school are more relaxed than in England, so if a child is a bit upset and they want a hug, you’re allowed to give them one, whereas in England if you accidentally bump into a child you tend to get put on the Sex Offender’s Register. The teachers also trust the children more, so they are allowed to go to the toilet without being accompanied or to take me to find another teacher and be trusted to come back to their classroom instead of running away.

I am already really excited about working in the schools and getting to know everyone more, and many of the teachers have offered their son/daughter to show me round town and take me out for pizza, so it’ll be nice to get to know some other people nearer my own age.

Sights of the day

I didn’t have my camera with me at the time, but in the toilet at a restaurant I went to last night there was a poorly translated sign on the seat cover dispenser saying “Woman, this is for you !!!“. There was a bidet in there as well, which I found to be more than just a little bit weird.

There is also a bidet in the bathroom in my house. I have no use for it but hate to see something go unused. I was thinking I could put a fish or terrapin or something in there, just to liven the room up a bit.

In the classroom

(This is a new section where I’m going to put funny things seen/heard at school.)

Many Italians find the letter ‘w’ difficult to pronounce, and sometimes replace it with an ‘h’, or a sound somewhere in between, as demonstrated by Brian and Stewie:

At an open evening for Federico Toscano last night I was helping out with a demonstration of learning English using the interactive whiteboard, and we were looking at the fairytale ‘Hansel & Gretel’. When it came to the part where their dad took them out into the woods and left them there to die, due to the teacher’s accent it came out as ‘Their father took them out into the hoods and left them there to die’. I guess that would kind of work in a modern retelling.


2 Responses to “La Scuola”

  1. Tina January 26, 2013 at 16:37 #

    Complimenti! Mi piace molto il tuo blog!

  2. Marino Muntjan January 27, 2013 at 03:53 #

    Hi Louise grazie per le belle foto di Spoleto siamo sicuri che ti troverai bene in Italia

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