It’s been a whole month, can you believe it? One down, seven to go. (Not that I’m counting.) Things have gone smoother than I could’ve hoped, despite the fact that I’m tackling the struggles of my first real job in a foreign country, without really knowing anyone, and having to adjust to the language all over again.
School is great, and so incredibly unpredictable. One day, the overhead projector doesn’t work, so you better hope your lesson is adaptable. Another day, your class will be bouncing off the walls, and it takes all your patience just to get them to listen. Other days, they don’t make a peep, and you begin lecturing at the nearest brick wall, mostly because it seems more willing to participate than the students themselves.
And yet, I love every second of it. The classroom atmosphere is much different here than in the United States, but I haven’t quite figured out why yet. Students here seem to fear authority less, although that’s a wide generalization. However, I haven’t had too many problems. (Then again, I’m still somewhat of a novelty. I’m not sure if they’ll be so receptive towards the end of the semester.)
For those of you who don’t know, I’m teaching in a tourism and graphic design high school. For now, I’m teaching a wide range of topics, within graphics and tourism, but also other random stuff too. I’ve taught classes on analyzing advertisements, but I’ve also lectured on the American school system, Halloween, and even food. It just depends on the class, and what their teacher wants me to talk about.
Starting in January, I’ll begin lecturing in a wider array of classes, such as art history and Italian literature, which are my two main interests, so that’s exciting!
Enough of the boring stuff. Some other observations:
– I move into my apartment this weekend. It’s a glorious one-bedroom place with a mini-spiral staircase leading up to a loft with an extra bed. It’s in the exact center of town, with my street basically facing the main church. (Photos to follow.)
– Americans really are lazier than Italians. Here, if your destination is within a 5 kilometer radius, you will usually use your bike to get there. For example, I ride 3 km to school and 3 km back every single day. In the states, I would drive my car a block just to go to the local convenience store!
– They have vending machines that sell only milk and polenta. Yes, you read that correctly.
– People dress much differently here. They wear sneakers with pretty much every type of outfit, and lots and lots of scarves! Students dress very differently as well… Not preppy at all. I would say their style is very urban, in fact. Hats, harem pants, chains.
– Everyone here smokes. EVERYONE. EV. ERY. ONE.
– Verona is one of the most charming cities I’ve ever seen in my life. (Didn’t think I would ever utter that sentence after living in Florence, but it’s true.)
– Schools here don’t have a formal dress code, or school lunch, or yearbooks. Seriously, I brought my high school yearbook, and the kids were amazed!
Anyway, those are just some random thoughts I’ve had. I don’t want to make this post too long, but I will say this: never before have I had to rely so much on the kindness of others. Being thrown into a situation like this, you have no choice but to be brave and to say ‘yes’ to things. And the people here are absolutely incredible.
They advertised this program as one that required really brave, flexible students who are good under pressure and outgoing. When I applied, I felt like I was pulling the wool over someone’s eyes. (That’s not me. I’m not actually a risk-taker. How am I going to do this??)
The answer, apparently, is day by day. And with relative ease, believe it or not.
Until next time,