More Similarities Than Differences

“I see more similarities with my school back home than the differences in the classroom.” is what I have said to the Italian students when in the teaching field. I am truly grateful to have been given the opportunities to not only teach in high school classes in Italy but to have observed classrooms in Greek schools, a Hebrew school, a Vatican school, and a Reggio Emilia school.

The bright eyed, cheerful, and smiling faces of the students make me feel beyond welcomed. The teachers in each classroom were more than nice to me too which really made an impact. They represent their professions extremely well. The students faces light up when I enter the room because they are eager to learn about more outside of their world in Italy. Being able to show them American culture makes me ecstatic to be the one to share with them topics they may have never been exposed before. Gadium Et Spes shows that one individuals mission to humanity is essential and how as educators we should value how Christ drives us one step at a time.

When teaching in the school about diversity, the American holiday of Thanksgiving, American music genres, and European classes vs. American classes I learn a lot from the students. One would think that teachers are the ones bringing the students closer to learning but it goes both ways. I have learned an abundance of different things like the Italian grading system and their fifth year exam from the students.

Similarities I have recognized consist of the following; The class sizes (15-20 students) are the same, the way that the desks and chairs face to the front of the room for a better learning environment are the same, and the willingness to learn is overall the same. However, there are differences between the European/Italian classes and American classes. The discipline portrayed from the teacher is not the same as the teachers that I have had in such a way that they do not tell their students to be quiet when they need to be. The high schoolers speak over the teacher, chit chat with their peers, and spend time on their phones while the teacher is literally teaching! It would really aggravate me if I had a lesson prepared and had to make sure that my students understand the material by a particular period in time and they did not pay attention while I am speaking. It was quite the challenge to speak over them at times while having a language barrier on top of the situation. I could not imagine tolerating that every day like most of the teachers were that I was observing. Also, the classrooms do not appear learner friendly as much as American classrooms do solely because there are no posters in the building promoting a kind, anti-bullying, clean, germ free, non-procrastinating, and listening learning environment. The students have little to no technology in their schools as well as little to no world maps.

The school that I am placed in is called James Joyce Vallericcia. The students have five years of high school alone. They are anywhere from 15-19 years old. The English language is not a main focus among the students however, social studies and world history very much is. I have taught all 5 years of the students over the course of the many classrooms I have been in at James Joyce Vallericcia.

I strive to earn the most out of my academic career as an Adolescent to Young Adult Language Arts/English Education major. A profound moment for me that connected me to teaching was when the students just smiled and had questions for me prepared. It made me very elated with joy to see the majority of the students hands raise up with excitement!

The school is not wealthy by any means but is not extremely poor and lacking all in all. James Joyce Vallericcia is definitely considered to be a rural school near Albano. Students travel on buses from outside of the city. Some students have to wait outside of the building in the cold weather because the buses only transport at certain times and students cannot enter in until the bell rings. It is about 30 minutes away from the Walsh campus. The population of students is rather small. Classrooms have anywhere from 15-20 students and if I had to make an estimate, I would state there are 500 students total.

To conclude, I am very thankful to have the opportunity to learn and experience the art and skill of teaching globally. There are similarities and differences between Italian schools and American schools and I thoroughly enjoy learning this by doing.

This picture of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade was included in the powerpoint presentation that was prepared for the high schoolers. They got very excited when learning about the different floats that roam the streets of New York City.

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