Saturday, April 02, 2011

Insegno (I teach)
So yesterday I (F) had my first job interview in Italy. Tommaso, who we had to dinner weekend before last, called his old company, Formetica--one of those interesting Italian, quasi-public/private trade group agencies, and suggested to them that I would be a good English teacher. His word evidently carried major mojo and yesterday I went in for the colloquio/job interview. The agency is in an astounding medieval Palazzo a couple of blocks away from us and requires a typical set of directions, "When you come in to the building, walk through the courtyard, through the doors, then take the left elevator, not the right, to floor R." I had a terrific interview, we seemed quite in sync, and we talked about there might be a place for me to teach a class in writing for websites in the fall.

Then today at 12:30 as I am just getting back from the Ortofrutta and getting ready to pick up T from school, my phone rings and it's Formetica saying, "Can you start teaching a class today at 5?" It turns out that there is a sciopero/strike and the teacher they had lined up can't get in to town to teach. Today there are new instructions: "Go around the side of the building, ring the brass bell, walk through the garage and up the back stairs..." I go pick up my stack of teaching materials at 3:30 and cram like the dickens. (It turns out that I came out on the right side of the wear a tie/don't wear a tie debate--the head teacher has apparently been completely unsuccessful in convincing Italians that it is commonly done for a job interview and so she loved it).

At 4:45 I go back over, enter through the front door finally, and take over the extraordinary frescoed room from a gaggle of squirming ten-year-olds watching "How to Train Your Dragon" in English and await my students. And await and await and then await some more because, being Italy, the students are under the impression that the class starts at 5:30. They finally arrive and are lovely, a married couple who had a wonderful trip across the US on Route 66 last summer and they want to be able to be more comfortable talking to people while on vacation. I try to flatter them by saying that their English is certainly better than my Italian--which unfortunately turns out to be true. They have to sign all sorts of papers. Then I give them an agreement to sign with me, whereby they agree to watch a movie in English each week. Then I give them a series of questions to ask each other, at the bottom of which is another spot to sign--once again agreeing to watch a movie in English each week. Ah yes, Italia...

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