Teaching Practicum Abroad

Posted by: on October 7, 2014   |Comments (0)|Elementary School Teaching

I cannot believe I have been living in Florence for 6 weeks now!  That is just crazy and unbelievable.  The time is flying by faster than I can even process everything that is going on!  I know it’s only been a month and a half, but I can already honestly say that it has been the best month and a half of my life so far.  Abroad is amazing and incredible and I am so lucky to be experiencing everything that I am.  Going abroad is a popular thing to do at PC.  We don’t even realize how special of an opportunity this is and how lucky we are.  I am living in Italy and traveling throughout the country and to other European countries on the weekends.  It is just insane in the best way possible.  This is truly the experience of a lifetime.  On top of everything, we are able to teach English to Italian students… how incredible is that!
EDU students Interlaken

EDU students Interlaken

Last week we met our practicum classes and teachers.  You might be thinking to yourself, how am I supposed to teach English to elementary school students when I don’t speak Italian?  Don’t worry.  We all were thinking the same thing.  None of us are fluent in Italian; none of us can speak more than a few sentences.  It is definitely an experience, but a great one.  I was very nervous going to the school for the first time.  I had no idea what to expect when I arrived there.  Kathryn Abraham is my teaching partner and we both had so many questions before starting practicum.  We had no idea what teachers here in Italy wore to school.  We did not know how it was going to work out being in two separate classes throughout the week.  How could we give the students instructions when we only speak English and they really only speak Italian?
After going to the classroom, many of our fears were relieved.  The classrooms here are very different than what we are used to.  There are many similarities, but many differences, as well.  The kids were so incredibly excited to have us.  When we walked into the classroom, they were all chattering excitedly and smiling at us.  They were constantly waving to try and get our attention as we talked to the teacher.  They were shy at first when speaking in English to us, but as the class progressed, they became more open.  They were fighting over who got to sit next to Kathryn and I.  They begged us to read aloud to them from their book.  Their eyes were constantly on us, taking in every word we said.  When I mentioned that I was from New York, they lit up.  Whenever we used Italian words or phrases, they beamed.  It was the cutest thing I have ever seen.  They were all adorable and they didn’t want us to leave at the end of the two hours.  Many of them rushed up to us and gave us hugs before we left.  It was incredible.
I know that teaching these students is going to be a challenge.  We are in a fifth grade classroom and they definitely know a lot of English, but there is a lot that they will not be able to understand.  In prepping for week one of actual teaching, we have translated a lot of phrases into Italian just in case they are unable to understand what we are asking them to do.  The classroom teacher will also be an extremely helpful resource in offering advice to us with directions, as we are to her with English phrases and usage.  PC has prepared us well for this challenge.  It will be extremely rewarding and unlike anything we will ever have the opportunity to do.  It has already made our abroad experience absolutely incredible. Ciao Providence College!
– Kristen Nappy​

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Posted by: on October 7, 2014   |Comments (0)|Elementary School Teaching