Category Archives: travel

There are moments

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There are moments

There are moments in life when you discover what is important and what is not. I have lived in Italy for 1 year now and I miss my home. I miss my mum and the sofa chats (well cries) and my dad. I miss his strong hug, the way I feel safe in his arms. I miss my little brother, who makes fun of me and wants to play Minecraft endlessly. I miss the intelligent conversations I have with my older brother and the ridiculous silliness that is possible with my younger sister. I miss my dog, Oscar, who loves people so much you might think his tail would wag off. If I could jump on a plane and go home today I would. You see it doesn’t matter how much time goes by, or how great your life becomes. You always miss home, sometimes it is a big ache and causes great pain but sometimes it is the sound of lawn mowers that takes you back to summers at home. A smell or a sound, which transports you in a way that nothing else ever can. I have never claimed to be a great writer, but I believe that I can only explain the way this feels in words.Tears may fall endlessly but they do not have a voice. So when I feel like this I choose to write.

The problem with homesickness is that you do not always yearn for the comfortable and the familiar, but you yearn for ghosts of the past that cannot be awakened again. Holidays in caravans, on beaches and long muddy walks with the dog. These are the things I crave most, so when I return home I am disappointed to find that they are not there. Things have changed, I have changed. The way I see the world is different, better somehow. My eyes have been opened just a little more and I let more sunlight in.

Nowhere is home anymore, and yet there are many places where I feel at home. I have reached a point in my life where I must choose once more where I should go and what I should do. I thought I would only have to do this once but I believe there are many seasons in life, the most common of all is change. This word no longer scares me but excites me. I do not know what the future holds.

I love to teach, children are precious treasures. Sometimes they are annoying but treasures all the same. Being a teacher has become part of who I am and without it I am lost. I find that I do not know myself unless I have a class to teach and a classroom to teach in. This is most amusing because I vowed never to be a teacher. It turns out that I was running away from what I most needed.

God has given me a gift, so I will use it. I will never be a perfect teacher but if I work hard and love every child I teach, I will be a great teacher. It is not all of my identity but it is funny how something grows in you without you even noticing it. I love Palmi but my heart tells me it is time to move on. Come July I will be sad but excited for my new adventure. I will never forget what I learned here, because I have been shaped and molded so much that I hardly recognize myself. One day I will understand the hardships I have endured, and what they mean. For now I will appreciate the beauty of this place, for I will not return to it as soon as I want to.

To all of those brave people traversing the world I would like to tell you something. Do not be afraid of adventure but equally do not be afraid to return home. You will return slightly altered but I think you will find comfort in it all the same. An old cuddly toy from your childhood will always remain the same and it will watch you grow and thrive into an adult. But you will still love it regardless.

Returning home is not a failure, it is one moment in this great adventure we call life. Enjoy it, because it will not always be there. Live in the moment you have now, worry about everything else when you get to it. I, as an organised planner, cannot believe the words I have just written. But Italy has taught me to relax, life rarely ends up the way you want it to. It is always better than you imagine.

All my love

Sarah

xxx

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My Italian Journey: 5 month reflection

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My Italian Journey: 5 month reflection

Buongiorno miei amici (Good Morning my friends),

Its been a long time since I have written a Blog post. I wanted to wait until the end of the school year to review everything I have learned so far. I can tell you now that this will be a long post so bear with me! I think the first and most important thing I have learned (at least to me) is that a classroom is like a home and the people in it are like a family.

My classroom should be a place where my students feel comfortable enough to be themselves and relaxed enough to enjoy learning. Don’t get me wrong, there need to rules that have consequences attached to them if they are broken but I feel like the classroom atmosphere needs to be warm and relaxed. My attitude towards my students has changed from frustration to patience, love and a lot of grace.

You see families are wonderful and loving but they have problems and issues too. I see a lot of different sides to my students, their stubborn side, when they don’t want to learn and they don’t want to listen. I also see their attentive and kind sides, where they are excited to learn and are kind to one another.

I have realised that I can only do so much to help them choose between good behaviour and challenging behaviour. I have a strong classroom management plan and rules, which when broken, result in consequences (calmly delivered by me, well most of the time, I am still learning). I want them to choose good behaviour and to follow the rules because they know there is a reason why I have these rules. Not because I am better than them, or in charge of them. Actually I have these rules to keep them safe and to aid as much learning as possible.

Challenging behaviour is not always my fault,  but the way I handle it can either diffuse it or escalate it. Most of the time I succeed in diffusing it but there are times when it escalates because of how I handled it. When this happens I examine the situation, figure out what I should have done differently and try not to make the same mistake twice. There have been many tears and a lot of stress but I believe to truly be a good teacher you must take responsibility for your actions.

This family can be challenging and they can drive me crazy but the most important thing is that I love them all and want the best for them. I want them to be happy and I want them to learn. Not just English, but how to behave and how to be polite to everyone they meet. Unlike most families, I get to hand the children back to their parents. I have a deep and profound respect for parents everywhere, you are amazing!

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Our wonderful Graduation party!

The second thing I have learned is that it is possible to transition from being a pushover to a strict teacher. It is also possible to be a kind teacher while also being strict and upholding the rules of the classroom. I am still working on this but I am definitely improving, there is a fine line between being strict and being scary!

The last thing I will write about (but definitely not the last thing I have learned, the list is too long for one post!) is that your students do listen to you. Even when you don’t think they do! For example I have been trying to teach my class of 4 and 5 year olds that one colour is not better than any other. They are all beautiful. I thought it was going in one ear and out the other until we were colouring and one of the children said that blue was the best colour. Arianna (The sweetest 4-year-old ever) looked straight at me and said “No, tutti i colori sono belli” which means “No, all colours are beautiful”.I honestly almost cried, it was a priceless and beautiful moment. These are the moments that make teaching worth it.

I think they have taught me more than I could ever teach them. Teaching is humbling, it can be stressful but I find so much joy in it. It’s worth all the stress, because I have the privilege of watching (and hopefully helping) them grow up into kind individuals who will have a huge impact on the world. Teaching is a privilege and I am so proud of the progress my students have made! I still have a lot to learn but I have come so far and I am proud of myself.

I am just going to cry a bit now, writing this has made me emotional!

Lots of love

Sarah

xxx

Time for some honesty!

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Time for some honesty!

I have been having a pretty bad day, so I decided to try and turn it into something positive. The past week has been a crazy blur of teaching, a carnival party and watching Romeo and Juliet in the theater for the first time. To some of you that sounds like a dream but right now I am exhausted and really not rating myself as a teacher. Some days I feel like a great teacher and then some days I feel like the worst teacher in the world. My colleague (and boss) keeps telling me I am doing well but I can’t help but feel that she is just being nice.

I feel like I am doing horribly, I never feel quite in control of the class and despite my efforts to make it better I am terrible at discipline. Long story short I feel like a disaster in the classroom and in my social life. I have the unfortunate tendency to withdraw when I am feeling low, so then I feel lonely but technically that is my fault. I love Italy but I hate it too and I love teaching but sometimes I worry so much that I won’t be any good and I stress over everything! So then I am striving to enjoy it. I know teaching is for me but I think I might be setting my goals a little too high. It has only been a month and I have never really taught before now.

I am not sure this is the most positive post in the world, usually I am fine, wonderful in fact. But some days homesickness and self doubt hit me when I least expect it! I am going to try and end this post positively by listing everything good that has happened this week:

  1. I saw Romeo and Juliet which was amazing and I loved it. It was the first time the language hasn’t been a barrier!
  2. I have had dinner with some lovely families and made a new friend.
  3. The weather has been wonderful this week.
  4. The carnival party was so much fun, I love dressing up (I was a Dalmatian).
  5. I have pizza and cheese and chocolate 😀
  6. It will get easier (I hope so).

Thats about all I can manage right now, sorry to be negative, this blog is a way for me to process my feelings and hopefully some of you understand what I am feeling. The truth is that I live in a beautiful country and I have no reason to complain, so I must persevere.

Lots of love

A rather grumpy Sarah!

xxx

My Italian Journey: Day 30

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Ciao friends,

If you have been following my blog I would like to thank you. I do not write particularly well and the content is not very interesting but you still seem to be here and enjoying my blog posts so I am grateful!

I am no longer miserable here but I am no longer on a super high (It was fun while it lasted 😉 ). I am trying to find a happy medium where I am not plagued by homesickness whenever I think of home but filled with happiness because I now have two countries I can call my home. I have a feeling it will take a while for this to happen so I will try to be content with where I am now. I have been invited to two different dinners, both families served pizza (I LOVE pizza) and both evenings were delightful. Italy may have some faults but I can never find fault with the people here, at least in the south.

I have also become a bit of a shopaholic in the past month which is mostly due to the fact that I have a lot of free time. I also love buying new things, clothes are my latest obsession! I went to Reggio Calabria recently, where the weather and the town are equally beautiful. I was treated to “the best ice cream you will ever taste” as my friends put it. They were not wrong there, I was in heaven. Ice cream makes me excessively happy, I love it. You might have noticed by now that I like food, a lot! I also picked up some lovely clothes and my new favorite jumper (I will include a picture of it).

I can’t tell if this move has made me more materialistic or more grateful for the things I have. I hope its the latter as I would like to grow as a person, not go backwards! Teaching is wonderful as I have now introduced a Star Chart system for my rather loud class of 7-9 year olds. It works a treat, much to my relief. I am still learning every day that being a teacher is the least glamorous job I could ever have. For example last weekend I spent 2-3 hours cutting out tiny triangles to glue onto pictures of Arlecchino for the Carnival party this weekend. My life is truly thrilling.

The funny thing is I wouldn’t change it for the world, I really love teaching and it is such a relief to find a job I actually like. I thank God that I am lucky enough to have realized this fairly early in my life. Its not enough for me to do the bare minimum for this job, I have to put in 110% because teaching these children in an effective and fun way has become my main priority.

All in all I am content here and I am getting closer to building a life for myself. I have been truly blessed and I know there are more blessings to come.

Ciao

Sarah

xxx

My Italian Journey: Day 19

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My Italian Journey: Day 19

Buongiorno!

So I have been here for almost 3 weeks now and homesickness feels more like a distant echo (I am so relieved). I have been very busy teaching and I actually managed to teach an entire lesson by myself. As a new teacher this was terrifying but it showed me that I can do more than I think. I long to improve but like my sister said, you get better with practice, not magic.

I suppose in hindsight I thought moving abroad would magically change me into a better person straight away, but as it happens change is a gradual thing. Besides, there is nothing terrible about being me, I am just a little obsessed with self improvement! I think I am finally getting used to being in Italy and I am improving my language skills. Although some days I get overwhelmed with everything and I have a cosy day with tea and copious amounts of Downton Abbey.

Overall I am doing well, I have started to explore more areas of Palmi and I found what I can only describe as a park, with the most gorgeous view. I am very lucky to be here and I feel as if I am finding my feet, quite slowly, but I am in a much better place than I was before.

Ciao

Sarah Gale

xxx