Updated: May 3
5 Things about Teaching in Torino
1.School Days in Italy
School in Italy starts at 8AM and ends at 2PM so the students can go have lunch. There’s no cafeteria at the school so everybody goes home and eats with their families or gets food at a restaurant. For me, this meant going to my host grandparents house for food and wine 😋
In Italy, students remain in the same classroom with the same people their entire time in high school. Instead, the teachers change rooms when the periods change. This was definitely something different for me because that just never happened in the States. It was interesting to see all the students making their classrooms reflective of who they were as a collective. Typically, it's the teacher that adds their personal touches, but this was the complete reverse.
2. Weekly Schedule
As a volunteer English teacher, I had anywhere from 12 to 18 classes a week. Teachers scheduled for me to come and do conversation lessons with their students. During the week, I saw each class at most once. This was the best way for me to be able to visit as many classes as possible during my three months at the school. I was also requested to give science and math classes in English as well. I can’t escape my engineering background.
I got to meet hundreds of students, but I only got to see them once a week so it was hard to really know them. They all knew me though. Everybody spoke to me in the hallways and was excited to practice their English with me. It was literally impossible to learn all their names, but they all had an impact on me and my decision to become a teaching nomad. My time in Italy set the foundation for me to embark on a three year journey as an international teacher.
3. Classroom Set-up & Lesson Planning
All the classrooms were equipped with a computer and screen. I prepared all my lessons using Google slides and simply plugged in my flash drive at the beginning of each class. I also had a co-teacher present during all the classes, but they didn’t really say much during my lessons. They were mostly there for classroom management and to translate if it was absolutely necessary.
I had plenty of resources available to me at the school. If I needed to print, make copies, or cut out bingo boards, I could do that. Working at a language school also allowed me to have a lot of books readily available if I needed to use them. My co-teachers were always willing to be a sound board and offered advice on how to make my lessons better. My host family even contributed sometimes to my preparation process! I didn’t spend too much time lesson planning, but when I did I enjoyed it.
4. After School Program
My school organized an after school program specifically centered around my time at the school. I met with my after school program once a week for two hours. The language levels were very mixed and that was done on purpose. I had students that were really passionate about English and wanted to improve and students that were mandated by the teachers to attend. We played games, laughed, ate snacks and learned.
Having this extra time with the students was a great way to try new things that we didn't have time for during the normal school day. I was also able to give more one on one time to those will lower language levels. I had hundreds of students during my time in Italy, but my after school students quickly found their place in my heart.
5. Public Transportation
Public transportation and my two feet were my methods of getting around in Turin. My school provided me with a monthly transportation card that I could use for the buses, metro, and tram. I walked to the metro station and bus stops on a daily basis. That and eating farm to table is probably why I lost so much weight during my three months.
The public transportation system is fairly simple in Turin and I quickly started branching out. Once I got comfortable, I started using my time off to get off at random bus and metro stops to explore. This led me to finding parks, restaurants, and neighborhoods to wander around.
Volunteering in Italy changed my life and there will always be a place in my heart for Turin (& pasta con toño😋). When the world goes back to normal I'm booking a trip to go see my host family as soon as possible 😩