This is the first day of school for both the students and volunteers.  There was a flurry of activity, with many kisses,  and greetings from the teachers to one another. One teacher arrived with cookies. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to see each other. The bell rang and we were quickly sent off with our individual teachers. I was fortunate to be teamed up with a veteran Global Volunteer. We were in our host teacher class, who introduced us.  My partner volunteer was well prepared with her map of the US.  She began a dialogue, by showing the students where she was from, Seattle and then, Chicago, my hometown. The students asked many questions.  Before we knew it, the bell rang!  For my next class,   I was paired with a Canadian volunteer. In this class, the students’ English was quite good.  We were able to hold their attention for an hour.

When school was over,  two teachers were kind enough to drive to the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and, we had time to stroll and shop.  We ate lunch at Caffe Napoli and enjoyed glorious sandwiches and a spinach rustica. After our wrap up meeting, we were on our own for the rest of the day.  My sister and I took a short siesta and then went to the hotel’s beautiful pool overlooking the Adriatric Sea.  It was here I quoted my beloved nephew, who during every vacation says, “This Is The Life!”

Penned by Lydia

Yet… Another Perspective…….

Today is the beginning – the first day of class!  The scene in the teachers’ lounge was exciting this morning.  To the volunteers’ surprise and delight,   we were quickly drafted by several teachers to practice conversational English in their classes.

Some volunteers assisted an English teacher named Maria, in her third year class with 25 animated and happy teenagers.  I should add they were  respectful and attentiv.  All appeared to have upper intermediate language skills.  At Maria’s request, we introduced ourselves, our families and our hometowns.  It helped I had photos to share of family activities in Washington, D.C.Maria asked the students to summarize our background  in Italian, to be sure they comprehended. Next, each group asked us a follow-up question in English. They were especially interested in one volunteer’s story of adopting a Chinese orphan and my family’s connections to President Barack Obama.
During our de-briefing with our team leader Phyllis, we learned that all three volunteer teams had similarly positive experiences. Everyone  taught two classes of bright students.  There is a good balance in the teams, with volunteers from different cities, countries and life experiences. Phyllis brought us to Caffe Napoli for a fun lunch al fresco., where volunteers happily discussed plans to sightsee in Puglia this weekend.
Penned by Susan


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