Being a permanent teacher comes with a great desire to finally be able to build something special for all my students and colleagues. I grew up with school spirit, being a cheerleader at my time in both high school and university, so wanting my school to be the best comes very easy to me.
With the support of my Principal Mrs. Carmela Mugione, in love with the English language and continuously pushing for all kinds of activities which could add to a student’s school experience, I decided as my first project, to try and contact our local American high school on base to see if it was possible to have a day exchange between our two schools. Being a so called “Navy brat” myself, it had a special meaning for me.
I wanted to show my students what it would be like to spend a day in an American high school, naturally without having to travel across the Atlantic.
As part of our curriculum, we study the differences between the Italian and the American/British school systems, to provide our students with a better understanding of educational systems in English speaking countries. So what better way to conclude the unit than with a visit to the Wildcats of Naples High School.
So I contacted Mrs. Roberta Pennasilico, Italian professor and Italian cultural liaison at the high school, who made everything possible for us together with the US Navy Base Command which allow these activities to take place.
So, on November 5th 2015 my students from the Liceo Scientifico – Linguistico “AM De Carlo” excited like children on Christmas morning, got on a bus with myself and my colleague Mrs. Nadia De Caro and went for their first ever day exchange to the U.S. Navy base.
At first we were welcomed at the entrance of the school as you can see from the photo below.
We were then led to Mrs. Pennasilico’s Italian classroom, where our students were introduced to the American school system.
After a very interesting introduction, our students were matched to their American hosts and went to class for the day.
An important aspect of the exchange was also to get the students to work on a project together and conclude it with a presentation in both Italian and English. In the photo below you can see two of our students with their American hosts working on their presentation.
After giving our students time to prepare, the end result was waiting. Their presentation. Our students had to speak in English, while their American counterparts had to speak in Italian. It was quite a fun time for them all. Interesting for our students to see how Italian is taught and learned as a foreign language.
Besides the practical activities our students received a tour of the school and were able to see what an American high school generally looks like.
From the library…
To the computer room…
and last but not least to the gym…
An opportunity for my pupils to get a glimpse into what they have seen on TV or at the movies for years. They were ecstatic, happy to have had this chance to visit an American high school and like most Italian students they were fascinated by the classic lockers, which American students take so for granted and almost snob as a bother. Italian students on the other hand, dream of having lockers in their own schools. Who knows what the future holds, maybe one day students in Italy will have their lockers and end up “snobbing” them just as their American counterparts.
This was surely a day to remember. A step closer to a reality that seemed so far away.
A big thank you to all students for the great day!
The time to say goodbye came with a great group hug and an invitation from our Principal to visit our school. So, see you soon in Giugliano.