Communicating Outside of Our Comfort Zones

Throughout this amazing trip in Rome, Italy, we have visited a number of schools and experienced so much as future educators. We have gone to The Vatican School up the hill in Castel Gandolfo, a school in the city next to ours called Albano, a Hebrew school in Rome, Reggio Emilia, a Greek school, and an Italian school in Greece. I have loved every single school that we have visited, observed, and taught at. But the school that sticks out to me the most is The Vatican School in Castel Gandolfo. This school is just right up the hill from our campus.

It was a pretty big school, with many different rooms for all of the classes that were there. The rooms were big and were equipped with everything that the teacher and students needed. I had such an incredible experience in this school interacting with the students and the teacher. The grade that I taught was 3rd grade, and the students were 8 to 9 years old. My licensure area is Early Childhood Intervention Specialist geared toward grades K-3. In my personal opinion, the third grade was a great age to teach because they understood what I was saying and it was easy to talk to them and relate to them as students. They understood just enough English so that we could communicate with one another in many different ways. Going in to the classroom, we planned on teaching the students about the holiday of Thanksgiving.

The teacher decided to offer to the students to ask us, the teachers, questions about ourselves. They asked where we were from, what we enjoyed doing in our free time, what our favorite colors were, what our families were like, if we lived in a house or a flat, how old we were, and so on. One of the questions that really struck me was when a student asked what my passion was. It took me a while to respond, but finally I answered by saying that I loved to sing and my passion was to travel the world and sing with people. Pretty much I would really like to travel the world leading worship in different places.

After I told the class, the teacher asked me to sing for them. I hesitated a lot when she asked me that because I don’t like to be the center of attention. After asking one of my colleagues what I should sing, we decided on my favorite song, which is called Oceans. I started to sing and the students were in shock and all smiles. After I sang for about a minute, I stopped, and they all cheered for me. It was such a cool experience being able to do something I love for people who are from a completely different part of the world. I got to share something so personal with them, and that was really amazing for me. I did something that I normally wouldn’t do. But this experience helped me to realize that it is okay to come out of my comfort zone, do things that make me uncomfortable, and be myself.

I learned that we are all similar in more ways than we think, and we are all children of God. Even though we come from different sides of the world, and speak different languages, we are very similar, and we share in many of the same things. Man is made to socialize, to put himself out there and be one with others. I realized that in a deeper way through this visit to the Vatican School. I learned that it is okay to be myself and share who I am with others. Doing this helped me to realize just who I was and what I wanted to do. It changed me in a unique way that I will never forget. And it set an example for the students to be themselves and share who they are as well. Even though we didn’t get to teach our lesson about Thanksgiving, everyone learned a lot that day about one another and about different cultures, including myself. I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way. I learned that the best lessons come from the unexpected.

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