Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The answer, my friend...

My thoughts are elsewhere lately, and I haven't been blogging much over here at Allora Aspetta. There has been a lot going on these past few days, in all sorts of areas of my life, but one area that has been keeping my mind on work is the Intensive English Course that I've been teaching. I'm sure you've noticed that I keep posting about the blog we're working on together: Blowin' in the Wind, which is actually the second blog that I've started during one of these ten day sessions (the first blog, The Surviving Fleas, is from July's course). Each of the ten days of the course consists of 8 hours of lessons, which my co-worker Claudia and I divide in half, her teaching grammar and exercises in a 4-hour session, and me continuing with conversation and activities during the other 4 hours. 8 hours is a lot, and with just an hour for a lunch break, it can be a bit exhausting for the students. Still, it's not as tough as it sounds--we do a lot of games and fun conversation activities (we've even watchecd movies!)--and the students are all around my age group--we talk about things that have to do with people our age, and we laugh. A lot. Actually, for me it's a little bit like play. It's rare that I get to say that about a job, so I feel kind of like it's been a bit of a blessing. Especially lately.

A mix of photos from the 10-day intensive English course. This group is dubbed Blowin' in the Wind based on the blog that they have created. From top left: Sandro, Ombretta and Irene, Svetlana and Flavio

Yesterday was the last day of the course, and, as expected, it was kind of hard to say goodbye to everyone. When I was younger, I used to work as a camp counselor, and the feeling you get when everyone says goodbye on the last day of camp is a bit like the way it feels to say goodbye to a good group of students: there are a lot of emails and cell phone numbers exchanged, promises to keep in touch, and some people say goodbye with tears in their eyes. Also, the blog has been more MINE than theirs lately, since this group hasn't been quite as blog oriented as the last one, so I find that, even when I'm home from work, I'm still updating their blog (there's a new calendar, polls, etc.! I've gone crazy) like it's my own baby. The group has promised to take that back into their own hands, but letting go of it for me is hard, too. As groups like this normally do, we've already said that we'll plan to get together to speak English over dinner, or that we'll meet up at various events, but, also like groups of this nature, that bond and strength that holds everyone together for 10 days sometimes dissolves once life is back to normal. Anyway, we'll see.

I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say with this post, except to pay tribute to my last 10 days of lessons, my fun and friendly students, and the way that they've helped me get through some rough spots that have been going on in my life lately, outside of work and Italy. These days I've needed someone there for me, and, in a way, this group was it, more than I expected. In the future, there will probably be more courses like this (there's actually one scheduled for mid-October already), if I can fit them into my schedule with the rest of my private lessons, teaching gigs etc. (I feel like I'm always trying to fit pieces of my work puzzle together in such a way that I'm working all hours of the day), and if that is so, I look forward to them. Each group is different--you never know what to expect. But I think, overall, if you put a group of people together to learn English for 10 days straight, something good and positive is definitely going to emerge from the experience. So far, that's how things have been--better than expected every time. Thank you, Blowin' in the Wind folks, for that.

Now I might just have to lug out the guitar and start strumming Bob Dylan tunes. Not such a bad fate, is it? :)



At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hang in there bella, things will work out :)

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Stelle in Italia said...

thanks Lori...i'm trying! :) actually we got some good news at the beginning of the week, so we're all a little bit less worried.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous TNP said...

How would an American go about teaching English in Italy? My son, an honors graduate, expressed an interest.



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