What do you do? Undoubtedly, this question is and will always be the second point of conversation after ” What’s your name?” and “Where are you from?” Well, you see, before I can answer that clearly, we have to take a look (more for my sake than yours) at a profession I find very admirable ; a psychologist.
A psychologist gets up, eats breakfast, reads the paper and goes to work like every other person in the world, pants before shoes and all that good stuff.
They fiddle with their ipods and check their watches, much like you and I and wonder just how long will they be stuck between the guy with the huge belly that is conveniently resting on your back (newspaper with headlines you only half-understand included) and the sneering teenager with more make-up on than Marilyn Manson who is staring at you like you would make the perfect # 1 for their hitlist. But when this psychologist gets to work, this is when the differences between the average Joe and he comes into play.
While many of us start the day grudgingly as we turn our computers on and congregate around the coffee pot to gossip about last nights table dance at the office Christmas party or about the lastest break-up, the psychologist must prepare for his first patient with an acute sense of awareness and complete Zen. He doesn’t know if today’s subject will be an unstable childhood, a death in the family, a death of a friend, a divorce, a clandestine affair or simply loneliness.
What matters is that he keeps his head and leaves all of his baggage at the door, his job is to be there and to listen without judging, to correct what needs correcting and to offer the best advice that he can given the situation. I can relate to all of the above, those waiting with bated breath can now breathe easily, I am an English teacher.
Before, the eye-rolling and pursing of the lips ensue, let me state that I am, in fact, an English teacher in Rome, Italy! I have been teaching English in Rome for 2 years now and I have to say that for all of the blood, sweat, tears and frustration, the good still far outweighs the bad and I wouldn’t trade this experience for any other in the world.
To write about my everyday life experiences here would take far more than a page and certainly give Tolstoy a run for his agonizingly long-winded money. So I would like to instead focus on my time teaching here at Anglo American and what a joy the students (for the most part!) and the staff have been.
Being a teacher automatically makes you psychologist and friend, time and time again I have listened to stories that have brought tears, relief, thankfulness and most importantly laughter. I have talked about everything, from deaths to divorce, sometimes only offering a listening ear and others giving advice on things that I have had the good fortune to not even have lived through thus far.
Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure we did some present perfect versus past simple on the way. The point is, teaching has been more than grammar drills and test preparation, its been more about establishing little relationships with your students, some turn out to be gems others only cold, hard stones but you take the good with the bad and you leave your baggage at the door.
One thing I can say that has NOT improved is my English! I now speak awkwardly, inserting strange words in places they aren’t need or speaking a little too animatedly with the hands, very Italian, so NOT American. I now say ” in fact” taken from “infatti” I now say ” ah yes, that film was very particular” taken from “particolare” and I now say “What time do you arrive?” instead of “What time do you get there?”
According to me (secondo me), small price to pay for such a grand experience.