Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Something about me - as a teacher

I am 45 years old and I live in Milan, Italy. I have a degree in biology and a Ph.D. in molecular biology, because I wanted to be a researcher, but things went differently. Just when I finished my studies - and I had just got married - my husband fell ill and was not well for the following 8 years. Obviously I had to quit research, because that's a job that has no time table and no guaranteed income; at least in Italy things go this way.
I started teaching science in Samara, a small private school for teenage help-cooks-to-be (I have no idea of how to say it in english: they prepared to help professionally in cooking for restaurants, hospitals etc.) and it was a great teacher's training for me. Our girls used to choose that school exactly because they didn't like to study, and with that school they could start working after 2 years only. Well, I was in a team of teachers so enthusiastic and skilled that most girls decided to go on studying (in high school) after the second year! and they did very well afterwards.
My colleagues taught me to handle pupils one by one, to look at them straight in their eyes, to trust them, even if they seem they don't deserve it: they will, when they realize you count on them. These are still the basics of my method. They always work.
After 5 years' experience in Samara I felt ready for "real" public schools, and I started doing substitutions in high school, science classes. After 1 year of short substitutions, I spent 4 years more being exclusively a support teacher for special need students. Some of them were seriously disabled, and had severe psychiatric problems besides the physical ones. It was very hard work, though very beautiful. I came home exhausted every day, mostly emotionally. It resembled my childhood dramatically: I have only one sister, 1 year younger than me, who is disabled, and the first part of my life has been heavily conditioned by her presence. Everybody said that I was "instinctively" good at managing special need students, but I knew the reason... I had done that job since I was a toddler! And that had cost me a lot!
During the last 2 years I was back doing substitions on my subject, science, and that has been wonderful. I regularly fall in love with my class groups, and they rather like me in return. I have a great time teaching. Real fun. We laugh a lot, and still, we work really hard. I was very lucky, also, because I got very long substitutions, lasting almost the whole school year. The down part is that I change school every year, but that's not too bad. Different schools have different people, different methods, different perspectives. Big experience for me.
In the meanwhile I never got the opportunity to have my ABILITAZIONE, which is the piece of paper saying that you are officially a teacher and you can stop being a substitute. What's it called in english? Well, after a long wait , finally a course came out: I am currently attending it, with lessons, exams, thesis and everything... In march '08 I should get my ABILITAZIONE. Let's say that I could hopefully get a steady teaching job around 2012. By that time I will be 50...
Long story! But now you can understand that I really love my job, even if it wasn't what I had originally chosen. Now I think research was not good for me. But that's another story.


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7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Pokankuni" is a great way to see the world" This is my first time setting up a blogging site and using my interests, etc. to blog and read others with similar interests; mostly for communicating with friends and family beyond e-mails. Typing on education or science, your blog was the second one that came up at the time. Of similar ethnic heritage perhaps(my paternal grandfather was an Italian immigrant to U.S.), yet a continent away, I could write something similar to what I read in your Jan 9th posting.
    Mine would start - I am 41 years old and live in Northeastern U.S. I have a degree in Biology and a M.S. in Cell and Developmental Biology. I wanted to be a researcher, but then I got a taste of teaching. I finished my teaching certification, got married and continued teaching science at a private school. I have 10 years of teaching experience, the last six was in Chemistry, Biology and even Earth Science in public high schools. I am now at home raising my son. The little that I have seen so far of your blog is inspiring!
    I left the first comment from January 9 - and removed it later in the day - realizing the magnitude of printing real parts of names. I am trying this blog thing out - I hope it goes better than any paper journals I have tried to keep. A technologically advanced journal of sorts and sharing space for those important in my life. Ciao - j

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  3. O.K., not such a magnitude as my maiden name. Ciao - joanne

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  4. Hi Joanne! Really we share a lot in our life stories. Thank you for commenting on my newborn blog, I'm finding rather hard to post much because I have four more blogs in italian, about different subjects... My children say "you have only three of us but so many websites, you love them more!..." (not true)
    Let me know the address of your blog! Best wishes for your new adventure!

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  5. We never know which direction God is calling from. Our job - albeit very difficult at times - is to walk in the direction of that voice and find our true calling.

    Looks like you're going to be a great teacher. Actually, you're that already even if you don't have your ABILITAZIONE yet:0)

    On a humorous note, anything in Italian that ends in "zione" sounds delicious to me. LOL!

    I would LOVE to live in Italy one day. Either Tuscany or Rome.

    God Bless,
    Tom

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  6. Hy!!
    I`m glad that I found Your blog, and happy that You working job You like :)

    Wish You all luck :)

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  7. @ Tom: I don't know what happened but I forgot to post my answer to your comment! :o( SORRY!!! Now after 5 months... I'm happy & honored that you have such an admiration for Italy, while most Italians see US as the land of their dreams to live in... Funny how we all feel attracted by foreign places, seeing only the good in them!
    About being a teacher: I find this job more and more difficult, yet wonderful.

    @ brusy_e: thank you for the good wishes! I visited your two blogs ( the one about environment ethics is very interesting: keep the good work going!) and your mouth-watering recipes website. Compliments!

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