Kristian Maestri – Il mio tirocinio

Monday June 16th:

It is early. So early in fact that no one in the apartment is awake and everything is dark. I roll out of bed and clumsily make my way to the kitchen, careful not to wake my roommate. I am in some ways very prepared for this morning, as evident by a small, white paper bag sitting on top of the refrigerator. Inside it is a donut that I bought last night. That and a yoghurt from inside the fridge is my breakfast before my first day of work. It is 6:35 in the morning.

After a shower and gathering all of my things I am out of the door, heading towards the Metro station and the long, hour-and-a-half journey to the stabilimento, or beach resort, at Venezia Beach in Ostia. My route: Metro A, towards Anagnina, for six stops until getting off at Termini; Metro B, towards Laurentina, for eight stops until getting off at EUR Magliana; a twenty minute walk up the hill to Istituto Massimo, a school where the small bus for some of the kids waits for me; chaperone about half of the camp kids from the school to the beach. Some days this trip is harder than others but usually it is alright.

Wednesday June 25th:

The heart of the week, the heat of the day. The children seem as if they are simultaneously crowding around me and running out of my sightline. It is all I can do to keep order. In this weather and the impending hour of swimming in the pool it is hard to keep the children calm. The snack of pastries and juice does not help either, as I can imagine their sugar levels are running higher than normal. I resort to Italian as I try and keep all the children within my sight. They speak Italian to me most of the time, despite my efforts to try and emphasize to them that this is an English camp. They speak it fast because they do not fully comprehend that I do not know their language as well as they do; often times I have a hard time understanding them and I have to ask them to repeat themselves. I have to stay extremely focused and listen but I have also found that it has helped me immensely in picking up the subtleties of the language.

Of course, I have the help of another person working alongside me this week. She is incredible and, having years of experience in teaching, what seems like infinite patience and a wealth of ideas for activities and games. Without her this sort of situation would be stress-inducing. Instead it is just another day. After all the sun cream has been applied to the children and swimming caps and goggles are on we send the kids, screaming, towards the turquoise pool.

Friday July 4th:

It is both a day of celebration and a day of sadness. It is the fourth of July so naturally, as an American, it is Independence Day for me. At the same time, however, it is the last day of camp. After three weeks, with different children coming and going, what first started with a drowsy wake-up call at 6:30 in the morning now will end with ice-cream and good-byes.