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Home arrow Job News arrow Latest arrow Teaching English in Italy's Public Schools; Have you got what it takes?
Teaching English in Italy's Public Schools; Have you got what it takes? PDF Print E-mail

Teach English in Italy; Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Teaching an Elementary ESL Class

If you want to teach ESL in Italy, you’ll need to determine which students and which school are right for you. Teaching Italian students on the elementary level in public schools can be rewarding on many levels, but it can also be very difficult.

Here are five questions to ask yourself before committing to an ESL job with an Italian elementary school.

1) Have you got experience? If you have taught elementary school students in other countries, you’re a step ahead. The success of your past experiences should guide you in the Italian classroom. Keep in mind that, by nature, Italian students are very energetic and sometimes unruly. Make sure your activities keep pace with their exuberant personalities and energies. You can update your favorite activities by including Italian trends or celebrities to keep students interested. Include at least one session of TPR (total physical response), preferably near the end of class.

 2) Have you got authority? You absolutely need to have control of your Italian elementary class. Unfortunately, this sometimes means raising your voice because the students are conditioned to respond to loud voices.

The majority of their subject teachers raise their voices, clap their hands (or the teacher’s desk) to get attention and call order in the classroom. Until you have them settled down, you may need to employ the same tactics. The first lesson is crucial in establishing your authority in the classroom. Give them rules and consequences. Then be consistent.


3) Have you got a handle on basic Italian? Teaching English in Italy requires knowledge of basic Italian language in order to communicate with the class in certain situations. You will also be expected to communicate with subject teachers, directors, and other colleagues or collaborators on the project, most of whom will be Italian-speaking only.

4) Can you teach long lessons? Can you plan an interesting three-hour lesson and maintain a quick pace? Unfortunately, most English language lessons are after-school extracurricular activities, and come at the end of a full didactic day. The students are tired and so it is important that you make the lesson very different from their subject lessons. The hours should be planned with student-centered tasks and dynamic activities. If you lecture for any period of time or concentrate on teacher-focused learning, interest will drop and students will lose motivation. Make sure to schedule a break mid-lesson.

5) Can you teach average-sized groups of children? You will need to manage a medium sized class effectively. You may have a small classroom and will have to make the most of the space. Most classes have a minimum of 15 students and a maximum of 30. Students can be mixed levels. Be familiar with seating charts and group dynamics to maximize the efficacy of your teaching. Be on the lookout for students with learning disabilities and make a note to seat them as close to you as possible.

If you answered yes to most of the above questions, you have the potential to teach English in Italy’s elementary schools.



-4 # Leanne Osborne 2011-09-04 07:43
Hello my name is Leanne Osborne i am a qualified teaching assistant/nursery nurse with over 4 years experience working in the childcare industry, i have worked in South America Colombia in a bilingual school as a TA and also been involved in the local charities.I have been working in Livorno Italy as an au pair and teaching English to children since january to june of this year. I am inquiring within your school if there are any possible vacancies within your school for a support assistant/teaching assistant.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email

Kind Regards Leanne Osborne
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