Via Lingua Alghero (also known as inlingua) is the school that I go to here in Alghero. The first week – which isn’t even over yet – has been overwhelming to say the least. But I am glad that I am being kept busy.
Our program basically works like this: for the next three and a half weeks I have class from 9am to 830pm, with a one hour break for lunch, and a few strategically placed espresso breaks (i.e. 15 minute pauses in the schedule). We rotate around a schedule based on Pedagogy (at least I learned something from the GRE), Language Awareness (grammar), and Teaching Skills (lesson planning). We are first and foremost taught the ins and outs of English grammar, and so far what I have taken away is that I speak TERRIBLE English and have no business being here. Language Awareness and Teaching Skills are basically the foundations of teaching English as a second language. We learn how to teach the skills necessary for reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as well as how to plan lessons around these skills. This all started on Monday and so far I am averaging at least three espressos per day. I have started putting the Italian equivalent of Splenda in the them in order to conserve calories, but I don’t really know if it’s worth it. I may have to go back to regular sugar and just continue doing my Jillian Michaels DVDs on the tile floor of my bedroom, while using water bottles filled with sand as my weights… but I digress.
At night we do the actual teaching. For our first three nights we have observed classes at the school — one for beginner students, one for intermediate, and one for advanced. Tomorrow is my first day to teach and I will be in charge of a beginner class for 45 minutes … eek! I am nervous because I literally don’t even know what I am doing yet; tomorrow morning we will put together our lesson plans and then go over them with the real teachers before the evening class. It’s definitely overwhelming, but after sitting in on only three of these lessons I can see why teaching English is addicting. These people are so eager and enthusiastic to learn and they look like they are truly enjoying themselves. Plus, when they smile after having said a sentence correctly you can see the pride they have in succeeding and it is really very cool.
Alghero itself is a great little city and I will write about it more once I get to know it better. So far I have only had time to check out a few bars on my way to class in the morning (I am trying to find my favorite one) and I have been to the beach a few times, but I haven’t even made it into la citta vecchia yet. I can already tell that the weekends are going to be precious time here and I can’t wait to take advantage and explore more of the city when I have the time then. I live in an apartment that is about a fifteen minute walk from the city center and the port/beach, and ten minutes from our school. It is a good location and on the side of town where the locals live as opposed to the tourists & all the hotels. Our apartment is pretty perfect and has everything we could ever want — a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, hot water, and internet that we can (most of the time) steal.
And because I know you all are wondering, I haven’t had an experience with Sardinian food yet. I know this is shocking, but I have a) been very busy and b) been trying to stay on a tighter budget this time around. But tomorrow we are planning on getting a proper Sardo meal to celebrate our first night of teaching so I will be sure to update. The coffee here is excellent though, as always, and I am wondering how I managed to acquire a taste for Starbucks again after having been here the first time. I just have to say: my morning cappuccino brings me more joy than anything else in my day and it is something that only exists in this country.
And just in case you don’t know….
The red island is Sardegna:
and Alghero is on the northwest coast: