Venaria Reale, Italy
Coming into this, I never thought I would become so passionate about this kind of work. It’s only been three weeks since my journey began but already I notice improvements in my students’ English skills. As a teacher, that is all I could ask for. I love seeing how much they are learning, even if it’s just using the correct tense of a word. In the beginning, a lot of the students were scared to speak because of the fear that what they say might be wrong. Now, more students have enough courage to at least try. Their interest levels have increased and are more engaged in the material (schoolwork is typically not something 11-13 year olds enjoy doing).
In my ideal world, students show respect and are well-behaved. But we all know that isn’t the case. Today was definitely a challenge. Apparently “sit down” and “be quiet” doesn’t mean anything. Throughout the entire period students kept talking and walking all over the place for no reason. Among the chatting were racial comments directed towards me. I’m usually not affected by this kind of middle school (literally) behavior, but the fact that a language barrier kept me from fully understanding what was said bothered me, a lot. I tried to understand why those comments were made but “non detto niente” was all I got. What made it worse was that three of the students videotaped me while I was trying to figure out why the word “Chinese” made the class laugh hysterically….
With all that has changed over the decades, I was taken aback by the fact that racism still exist. Instinctively, I took offense to those slurs and wanted to put the blame on those individuals’ lack of respect and poor behavior. However, as an old colleague reminded me, it’s not a matter of racism but instead, ignorance. Ignorance is the reason behind most prejudices and judgement. Sadly for these students, they don’t know what is and what isn’t acceptable to say. And unfortunately, they attribute negative connotations to races different from their own.
A few hours ago, I was ready to call it quits because of comments made towards me. However, now I see that my time here has just begun. I am not here to only teach English, but rather to educate my students on diversity and acceptance of ALL individuals. ANDIAMO!
In retrospect, I really don’t know why being videotaped bothered me so much that it made me want to leave. I’m famous! And besides, Italy is wayyyyyy to beautiful. Take a look:
Reggia di Venaria Reale
Il Museo Egizio
Eccetera: Family, Food, & Students How am I more than 10 years older than these kids?