Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 27, 2020

News from Samantha Sullivan

News from Samantha Sullivan, Italian program alum and recipient of the 2019 SITE Teaching Fellowship in Lombardy, Italy

By Dr. Anna Rocca and Samantha Sullivan ’19

Recipient of the 2019 SITE Teaching Fellowship in Lombardy, Italy, Samantha Sullivan, a recent graduate of the Italian concentration of our BA in World Languages and Cultures, left Massachusetts in September 2019 to embark on her new life project. She was assigned to work as an English Teacher’s Assistant in the Liceo Simone Weil, a school specializing in training future artists and students of languages. Samantha was supposed to be in Lombardy until June 2020, but the school was shut down because of the pandemic around February 24. We asked Samantha to describe her experience.

Samantha Sullivan (second on the right) and colleagues enjoy a meal in Italy

Samantha Sullivan (second on the right) and colleagues enjoy a meal in Italy

“I was assigned to teach English Conversation at the Simone Weil high school in Treviglio, a small city outside of Bergamo. I worked in two different schools, a liceo linguistico and a liceo artistico. I made lesson plans and played games with each class I was in and had the freedom to focus on any topic I wanted. The teachers allowed me to have full control of the classroom while teaching and sat in the corner while I gave lessons. They would discipline the students if they were misbehaving, but other than that I was teaching alone. The students of 1st through 3rd years were very respectful and enjoyed learning about American culture. They were very curious about the American school system, about which I taught two lessons. The other professors were excited to have me in the school and they often asked me to help grade papers or help with grammar questions they had. I was never asked to give or grade tests.

“The students were my favorite part of the experience. Teaching was amazing and the students were very responsive. The school was slightly disorganized with communication to me; for example, some teachers wouldn’t tell me if class was cancelled or the students went into the city for the day, but other than that the school was a very nice and welcoming experience overall.

“I was asked to teach a C1 course in English after school which paid 30 euros an hour. The staff gave me a workbook and each week I would meet with students after school for an hour and a half going over English grammar: listening, reading and the use of English for speaking and writing. I would grade papers and test the students every week, and I was completely alone with this course which took place after school every day. The school had classes on Saturday, but I was not asked to come in on any Saturdays. My tutor went over my schedule every week with me and she was very helpful.

“When the pandemic broke out my school was first cancelled for two weeks and then every week I received an email saying that the school was cancelled for another week after. The schools where other program participants were teaching were asked to do online lessons, but my school never asked me to hold online lessons.

“I am so happy I was part of the SITE program; it was so amazing while it lasted! Eventually my family became worried and asked me to leave the program, so I did, and now most of the SITE students have returned home.”

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