My Day as a Teaching Assistant

“I really enjoy the position, especially because it gives me a more personal look into Florence (that I would otherwise be unable to see ). I have definitely been challenged in the way that I understand this language, because teaching my mother tongue while also using my Italian skills has been a big learning process. This has truly helped my self-confidence. Working with kids is not a future goal, but I do think this experience is teaching me a lot about managing a group and working with people from a different cultural background. Knowing a bit of Italian isn’t completely necessary, but I do recommend it because it makes it a lot easier to focus on the students’ needs if you understand their native language as well.”

Eric Petruzzo, University of Virginia , Economics & Italian Studies
ISI Florence Spring 2017
Elementary School Teacher Assistant Volunteer for Scuola Elementare Statale “Cesare Battisti” – Florence


I’m on my way to volunteer at a local elementary school where I help teach English to a 5th grade class once a week. The ‘Cesare Battisti’ school is about a 30-minute walk from Palazzo Rucellai, which not only fits perfectly into my class schedule, but also gives me time to listen to podcasts or catch up on new music (for some Italian tunes, I recommend the Sanremo 2017 playlist on Spotify!).

Here is the school where I volunteer, and my classroom is on the top floor with about 20 students. I see the same students every week, so I’ve gotten to know them and their teacher really well.

I love seeing the kids’ artwork around the school and seeing what they are learning in their other classes.

After about an hour and fifteen minutes at the school, it’s time for me to head to class. The walk to my bus stop is beautiful in the spring as Florence’s famous wisteria is in full bloom.

Here is my bus stop, Ponte Rosso. I take the C1 bus to Palazzo Bargagli for my Italian class at ISI Florence, and it only takes approximately 30 minutes while passing sights like Santa Maria Novella and the Duomo.

The bus system in Florence is very manageable, and you can find the bus schedules online. Usually during this time, I catch up on some quick homework so that I’m ready for my next class.

One of my students gave me a drawing that she made for me! This volunteer experience is great because I can tell that I have made a positive impact on the kids, especially at times like this. The position is perfect because the students are just as eager to learn about American life as I am to immerse myself in Italian life here in Florence.