I am assigned to be an English teaching assistant for three months at a “superior school” (which is essentially a high school) that is about five miles away from where I’m living.
My first day began at 8 AM on Wednesday, February 10. The oldest of my host brothers attends this school, so that morning I followed him.
We left the house around 7 AM and walked about 500 yards to the local train station. The train arrived at 7:18 and we got on board. The school is three stops away so it takes about 15 minutes.
Train station panoramic view (click to enlarge):
The train is absolutely packed to the gills with students… there is no room to sit. This occurs on a few trains daily because the vast majority of the students take the train to school, and all at the same time. The transit agency uses older, dated trains a few times per day during the commute to and from school, because the older cars can fit more people. The rest of day they use a more modern train.
We got off at our stop and the horde of students made their way along the 5 minute walk to school. I was stricken by just how similar this felt to an American high school – all the teenagers congregating in the morning, thinking they are supremely cool and talking about whatever it is teenagers talk about it.
I walked into school (see the picture at top) and my host brother located and introduced me to the two teachers I’ll be working with for the next three months. They are both colorful people who have a fun dynamic with their students.
That day, I went to five classes. The students are very interested in what I have to say and ask many questions. I explain to each class where Ohio is, where Cleveland is, where I went to College, what I did before coming to Italy, what I’m going to do after. The students are older (14-19) so they have been studying English for several years and have a good ability to make basic conversation.
School is fun! One week later, the school is my favorite part of the experience so far. The students enjoy listening to me and ask many questions. I am getting a little bit tired of introducing myself though, so I hope to get into more substantive lessons soon.
Sorry for the lack of pictures in this thread! I didn’t want to wander around the school taking random pictures. Eventually I’m sure I’ll get some photos with the students. I did take several pictures of the town where the school is located. It’s a beautiful town which, according to Wikipedia, has existed since at least the 11th century. Legend says it is the birthplace of the breadstick. It sits right at the edge of the Alps and many homes are built into hillsides similar to what you’d see in Appalachia. The medieval cobblestone streets and castles are filled with modern shops and offices. As always, see my flickr page, accessible through the menu in the upper right, for more photos. The below photos do not do the town justice so I will try to get some better ones at some point.