This is the end of my third year in Milan and I've agreed to return again next year. After that, who knows what my path will be...stay in Milan? try out another international location? move back to the States? I haven't decided what's right for me. And the beauty of that? I don't have to just yet.
Several months back my sister asked for a post about the school where I work, ASM, and now feels like a good time to share a little about this place where I spend so much of my time.
|the entrance to our school|
A post about my job must start with the commute required to arrive at school. Since I don't own a car, public transportation is required to get to and from school every day.
Now that I live in the city of Milan, it takes about 45-50 minutes to get to school every day. (The previous two years, I lived in a small suburb called Opera, much closer to school.) I walk about 8 minutes from my apartment to the 24 tram, which I ride to the end of the line to a place called Vigentino. When the weather is nice, I skip the tram altogether and walk to the bus. It's a good way to burn off some of the pasta I eat around here. Then I switch from the tram to the 222 bus and ride until we reach Noverasco. Once in Noverasco, there's a footbridge to cross over the busy highway and another 10 minute walk the rest of the way to school. Despite it's length, I don't really mind the commute. Since I don't drive I have time to read, practice my Italian on Duolingo, or chat with some of my co-workers who are headed to work at the same time. We need to be at work by 8:30, so I usually leave by 7:15 to get there a few minutes early.
|the inside of a tram|
|making the switch from the tram to the bus|
School for elementary students starts at 8:50. Some of them ride buses contracted by a private company and many are picked up by parents or drivers. (There are no yellow school buses, or school provided transportation, for the Italian public schools. Everyone must find their own way to school via walking, public transportation, or by car.)
|the back of the school gym|
Our elementary school has three classes of each grade from Early Childhood (ages 3-4) up to grade 5. As the tech specialist, I help the teachers find ways to bring technology into their classrooms. Often this includes blogging, interacting with other classes via Skype or Google Hangouts, or recording student videos. Every day is different and unique. We have special area classes, just like schools in the US for art, music, PE, and science. We also have Italian language classes that all students from Kindergarten and up have daily. For Italian, the students are grouped by their language skills. Native Italian speakers are placed together and then students who are beginner and intermediate IAL (Italian as an Additional Language) students have groups as well. The variety and number of languages our students are able to speak is really quite amazing and mind blowing, quite honestly, given the lack of languages fluently spoken by most Americans. When a student stands before me and can speak at least three languages fluently and they are working on another, I'm embarrassed to admit my lack of language knowledge.
|our school library|
We have a middle and high school on our campus as well, since our school, and most international schools are designed to accommodate students K-12. Almost all the students and teachers purchase lunch in the school cafeteria. Every day there are primi (pastas or risotto) and secondi (meat with vegetable) options. A full lunch consists of both the primi, secondi, fruit and water.
|my desk and office space|
|a 1st grade classroom|