Future Teachers of Italian Program
Participants in the Future Teachers of Italian program are placed in English-language classrooms in Italy. Beyond building their résumé, they also enjoy the opportunity to live abroad for at least one year. The following is an article by Joshua Brown who is currently finishing his year in Italy. After, are the profiles of the three students who will be teaching there next year.
Life in Lombardia
By Joshua Brown
Given the opportunity to work in a foreign country in which I can practice a foreign language, while providing a service to the young people who reside there, has always been a dream and aspiration throughout my life. Thanks to the 2010 special agreement between SSU and school systems in Italy that was facilitated by the Italian Consulate in Boston, this year I was given this opportunity to teach in one of the best schools in the region of Lombardia, in Gallarate, at Liceo Scientifico Leonardo Da Vinci. Through the academic year of Fall 2012- Spring 2013 I am teaching as a mother-tongue English teacher, preparing lesson plans, living independently in a foreign country, and most importantly I am being immersed in a culture which I have studied throughout my career as a college student. Along with an experience, such as the one I am currently undertaking, there are many setbacks and difficulties that one can encounter. It is the duty of a student to learn from these experiences and to better understand the world in which they live. I have taken this responsibility to balance the life of being a teacher while learning from the situations in which I find myself while here in Gallarate, Italy.
Arguably the most important part of my being in Lombardy is to teach as a foreign language teacher. Each day I enter my school between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. prepared for three or five classes, which generally consist of about fifteen students. The classes which I teach vary from second year to fifth year. In Italy students not only go to school on Saturday, but they also have a full extra year to help prepare them for university and the working world. I have a set curriculum which I follow, based on one created by the European Frameworks, although I am also given many opportunities to display what I have learned in the field of education. The themes which I have presented to my students range from the mundane differences between schools in Italy and the United States to utilizing fashion icons, such as Alexander McQueen, to create fictions based on a piece of artwork. Working here as a teacher has given me the ability to better my understanding of instruction and of varied ways in which I can manipulate lessons in order to respect the needs of the students.
Aside from teaching, there are many other important aspects of living forty minutes outside Milan, Italy’s second most flourishing city in regard to financial success. I regularly take a five euro train into the center of Milan where I see the largest gothic cathedral in the world, The Duomo, or one of Da Vinci’s most famous artworks, “The Last Supper”. The city of Milan has immersed me in the world of art, modern Italy, and most importantly for me, the world of fashion. Via Montenapoleone, or “Montenapo,” is known as the Corner of Fashion. This street displays the most modern examples of upcoming trends and current fashion in the windows of its luxurious shops such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Chanel, Fendi, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Prada, Versace, and numerous other designers whose clothes I will never be able to afford. Milan has given me an example of a real life of luxury and has inspired not only my fashion sense but also my outlook on art, business, food, and life in general.
While being immersed in the Northern Italian culture I have received a better comprehension of not only the language, but of the people who live here. I find that the people here are very closed in regards to progression throughout the world in subjects such as gay rights, religion, and women’s role in society. I have personally been discriminated against and have also seen the effects of discrimination in my students, colleagues, and friends. At first, while here I was appalled by these discrepancies, however after living within this environment I have learned to take each experience as an opportunity to learn and, arguably most importantly, an opportunity to teach. I created a bond with my students of being not only their teacher in regards to English, but also an example of someone who is accepting of different ways of life. I teach them not to tolerate, but to accept differences in culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, and political ideas. This battle has been uphill and along the way I have ran into many problems, but I choose to learn from these problems and to teach my students that they too need to learn from the injustices within the world.
Italy, and particularly northern Italy, is full of beautiful examples of art, language, and culture. It harbors many years of history and a traveler residing here can learn not only about what one sees, but also about one’s self. When someone travels abroad they have the choice to see the country as the romanticized version of what they thought the country was, or to be immersed in the real culture and learn from their experiences. I have chosen, while living here, the latter option. As a teacher and a student I believe I have the responsibility to take off my rose- colored glasses and study to accept the world for what it is, while growing thanks to every situation I encounter. I have the responsibility as a teacher to always learn from every aspect of life, and to teach these lessons to the next generation so that they can be the ones to make a change in this world.
Next Year’s Teachers
Jacquelyn Weatherbee is a recent graduate of Salem State University, having earned her BA in theater performance with a minor in music and Italian. She is an actor, playwright, director, and musician, among other things. Ms. Weatherbee has a deep love of culture and wants to get out there and see the world.
Tessa Allen is an undergraduate student majoring in Art + Design, with a concentration in Art Education (5-12), as well as a minor in Italian. She is passionate equally about both visual arts and language-learning. In the summer of 2010, she participated in a study abroad program, traveling to the small town of Tuscania, Italy, and living there for a month. She is involved in Salem State University’s Italian Club, serving as President since 2011. She will be graduating this May 2013, with hopes to study Italian at the graduate level.
Karl Etzer Limage is an undergraduate student in Psychology. Originally from Haiti, Salem State University’s language programs have amplified his international view of the world. This was furthered through study abroad in Florence, Italy. He hopes that future students of SSU will get to benefit from these same opportunities and create memories that will last a lifetime.