love thursday: new experiences

school erasersSome of you know, although most of you don’t, that yesterday I was initiated into the Expats Club. Yes, I’ve been here over 3 years, but time has nothing to do with this membership. You see, in order to be a true Expat in any non-English speaking country, you must teach English.

And I’m finally in.

I’m working for a private language school, but my classes are at a local ; the students are high school age except for one who’s somewhere around my age. After Day 1, I am appreciating and loving new experiences.

school desksThe students are motivated, excited, and love to speak. I asked them to introduce themselves to one another, and they went ahead and had mostly correct conversations in English. I was just looking for “Nice to meet you.”

I have two classes, two hours each, back to back, twice a week. The first class has 4 students, and the second has just 2, so they’ll be sure to get a lot of attention. The school supplies all the materials *and* lesson plans, and from the pay they’re offering, I also won’t feel exploited, which is nice.

During the lessons, we’re the only ones in the building except for the cleaning crew. I’ve always loved schools when they’re empty, and I’m free to roam and explore. I hardly think it comes from a naughty “What can I do while others aren’t around?” vibe, as that’s so not me–more of a geeky “all these school supplies to play with” thing.

Of course, in Italian schools, Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is rather bare in that sense, I learned–can you even see the tiny bits of chalk in that picture above on the left?

I did find this, though, which, as far as I can guess, is either used to direct traffic, signal kids to be quiet, or, you know, “signal kids to be quiet”:

In my wandering, I also found one of those nifty coffee-making vending machines. I put in 2 euro because there were no prices listed but figured that should cover it, and then tried to get a cappuccino. Nothing. Caffè macchiato (espresso with a splash of milk)? Nothing. Espresso? Nope.

Finally I pressed some kind of chocolatey thing, which I was sincerely hoping was not the Ciobar-like delight I’ve praised in the past. Even though I love the rich, creamy mixture, I just wanted something to drink for caffeine’s sake.

My new friend delivered. Big time. And then gave me 1, 70 back. That was a 30 centissimi cup of heaven, my friends, and it wasn’t just one of those little espresso shot cups either. How many of those do you think I had during my 4 hours? If you guessed more than one, you’re catching on.

And then, in a move which (yet again) exposed me as a weird foreigner, while a normal person may have been pouring over the first day’s lesson plan, I was taking pictures.

I may be an English teacher, but don’t worry–I’m still a blogger first. I think you’ll see some big differences from those hospital photos I posted (thank goodness).

The atrium:

school atrium

Some of the decor:

school decor

Part of the courtyard:

school courtyard

And finally, the view from the courtyard.

view of soverato

If you look on the left where the houses meet the sea, you can see a tiny bit of the beach:

Happy Love Thursday everyone!


[tags] love thursday, soverato, calabria, ionian sea, schools, liceo, don bosco, teaching, ESL teaching, terra cotta jars, erasers, desks, courtyards, atria[/tags]

17 Beans of Wisdom to “love thursday: new experiences”
  1. Gil

    Good luck with your new venture. Everything looks so clean and bare (desks, walls) it looks like a brand new school or very well taken care of. You will have to take the hospital administrators on a tour of your school and show them how a building should be maintained.

  2. Tracie B.

    congrats on your new job! have fun 🙂

  3. Shirley

    Auguri,hope the kids all behave themselves for you. Love the lolly pop stick.

  4. alexmom

    Wow, that’s great!!!Sounds like a terific opportunity. How are you getting to and from school? Congrags and have fun!

  5. alexmom

    oops….typo. I meant *congrats*

  6. Waspgoddess

    There is something very peaceful about the photos. I hope you’ll enjoy your new job. Look forward to reading your observations in the future.

    Ps. I have joined the Love Thursday thing. Come and have a look 😉

  7. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    wait a minute. that is a school? Very pretty and what a view.

    auguri on your new job!

  8. Andrea

    Excellent! Glad you took the plunge into teaching English. My sister is doing the same in Thailand, and I certainly have some experience in that area myself.
    Where is the school? I’m having trouble placing it in Badolato…
    Very much enjoying your blog and living vicariously through you!
    Andrea Calabretta

  9. Bongga Mom

    As always, your photos are gorgeous and make me want to live in Italy. Good luck with the english teaching, and I’ll be reading with interest about your new job.

  10. PastorMac's Ann

    Oh how great! Wonderful pictures. Thanks so much for taking us along on the start of your new adventure. That chocolately drink sounded heavenly.

    Can’t wait to read about how things go for you as you teach!

  11. Giulia

    Tanti Auguri è Buona Fortuna!
    The school looks very well maintained, which is a +++! The photos are beautiful. I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw the paddle. My 7th grade math teacher in America used to have one that he used to try to “scare” us with when we got out of hand. He would just take it out of the cabinet and place it on his desk and give us an evil stare. Of course, he never used it on us… but the fact that he tried to put fear into us is funny. I hated it then, but laugh about it now.
    Now, on the other hand, I believe that paddle means “you’re a gonna get a whoopin” over here!
    I wouldn’t put it past some of the teachers here. I hear stories about it all the time. I don’t agree with it at all. If my daughter ever came home and told me that any of her teachers laid so much as a finger on her… there would be hell to pay!
    Anyway, enjoy your new surroundings and students, and try not to get too “paddle happy!” :p

  12. sognatrice

    Thanks for the good wishes everyone. I was amazed at the state of the school myself, as I had only previously seen an elementary school, which was just gross. P tells me the impressive upkeep to this school is b/c this one is run by priests, etc…so I told him we need to get them in charge of some public hospitals (and elementary schools) too 🙂

    Gil, this school has been around forever–there are pictures lining the atrium of classes dating back decades; it’s all about the upkeep here, and they do a great job.

    Andrea, the school is in Soverato, and Alexmom, I’m using good ole public transportation to travel there. For now at least.

    And Giulia, I’m with you on corporal punishment (and so is P). If we ever have kids, and someone at school so much as flashes that lolly pop stick…but yes, I’ve heard it happening around here too.

  13. Delina

    Congrats! I taught in a liceo here for a while. The kids were great – lots of laughs. 😀

  14. Johnaesthetica

    When I first saw the desks, and the traffic sign looking aparatus, I thought they were ping pong tables and a really long paddle.

    That’d probably be more fun. Hah.

    Congrats on the new job, and I’m still envious. Sulla costa!

  15. Becslifeonline

    Ooh congrats to you! Hope you’ll have loads of fun teaching – and getting paid for having fun too? Bonus! So do you have to be able to speak fluent Italian in order to teach english there then? Awesome pics as usual… and yeah… I thought it was a ping-pong table and bat as well! Ha ha.

  16. Shan


    The pictures are wonderful. It looks like a beautiful school.

  17. Something...

    Great looking school especially as far as Italian schools go! Have fun in your new job.

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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