Sunday, April 28, 2013

Good Things Coming My Way!

The last few weeks have honestly been pretty rough/emotional. With everything going on, I keep wondering whether I'm making the right decision in moving over 4,000 miles away for such a long period of time. I'm freaking out. But, this week a few things happened that helped me to remember why this is my plan and why this is absolutely the right decision.

Awesome Thing #1

I met my future principal via Skype! My principal, Mr. H., was so great. I had roughly a billion questions for him, but he answered them all so thoughtfully and gave me such a wonderful mental picture of the school. I learned that I would be working with two other women in the 4th grade team and that they were going to be awesome resources and team members, especially in helping me to figure out the Science and Social Studies curriculum. That'll be great, especially because the program for those subjects has me a little lost. I'll have an interactive whiteboard, and I LOVE those! I'm considering buying an ELMO to go along with it so that I can put anything up there, but we'll see. I was a little shocked to find out about the breakdown of my students. Since it is an American school, I had thought I would have about 50% American students. Nope. The school is home to 52 different nationalities with about 40% Italian students. Next to none will be native English speakers. Gulp... But hey, this whole experience is going to be a challenge and that's just one more that will make me an even better teacher in the end! On a more curricular note, I am and have been obsessed with CAFE and the Daily 5, and have always planned on using it as a supplement to my teaching no matter what the mandated reading program was. Guess what the mandated program is? DAILY 5! WOOHOOO! I am so excited to be able to use this! Part of the awesomeness is that the planning/record keeping binder for this program is called the Pensieve. Yes, after Dumbledore's Pensieve. And anyone who knows me knows how much I love Harry Potter. Yay yay yay :)
The outside of Apartment 1

Awesome thing #2 

I received an email from a woman at the HR department with options for next years apartment! I have two choices. The first was cute, but a little disappointing. The outside of the building was amazing, but the pictures of the inside weren't great. There weren't any of the living room or kitchen, and the rest were from awkward angles. It was quite a bit more expensive which makes me think it's bigger and in better condition, but who even knows. The second was adorable- there were no pictures of the outside of the building, but the kitchen was absolutely adorable, with the most quaint white cabinets and a bench built into the wall of the kitchen for seating. I loved that one, but it is on the first floor of the building, which makes me a little nervous. I have to decide by Monday, and right now I'm leaning towards the adorable kitchen. Both are in easy walking distance from the bus stop, and I could bike to school. They're also walkable to the other new teachers apartments, and to the main shops.

The kitchen of Apartment 2
I'm such a planner, so these were two of the best possible things that could happen to shake me out of this funk. Now I have all that I could ask for to start planning my curriculum for next year and start making different materials and lesson plans. I can also start picturing myself in Italy better, heading home after a long day to my conveniently located, picturesque Italian apartment. In a town called Opera, which is pronounced like Oprah. Could the future look much better!?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Start of an Adventure

Here I am, posting my first ever blog post! 

I'm assuming that everyone reading will be friends and family, keeping up with my adventures. I've told my story so many times so far but if we haven't gotten in touch yet I'll fill you in!

In case you don't know me at all, I'm Jesye Streisel, and I'm 22 years old. I'm just finishing up my MSEd in Literacy at Alfred University and part of the reason I went into teaching (one of a billion reasons!) is that teachers are needed everywhere. Since middle school I've dreamed of living in another country. At the time, the plan was to be an ethologist living in a treehouse in the Amazon. By the time high school rolled around, the dream had changed to teaching in Europe. It seemed so far off at that point but here we are! This August I'm moving to Italy to work as a fourth grade teacher in Milan!

 Earlier this year I found a group called Search Associates that hosts job fairs for international education jobs all over the world. 

I attended their Cambridge conference in February. At first it was incredibly disappointing- hardly anyone would interview me! Understandably, every school representative that I spoke with was looking for more experience. I was feeling pretty downhearted, but because I had only a few interviews, I was able to attend presentations by school administrators and hear more about these amazing schools and what exactly they were looking for. Though there weren't any elementary openings, at the end of one presentation I introduced myself to the director of the school, handed him my resume and the 'business card' my mom had made for me (I have such business savvy, creative parents!), and asked for him to keep me in mind should any openings come up. I emailed him that night to say how glad I was to meet him and as it turned out, one of his teachers was leaving after having a baby. 24 hours later, I was signing a 3 year contract with the school!
Too cute, right? 
*About business cards: My parents helped me with this as a way to set myself apart from the other candidates.  The slightly blurry line is where my phone number was. Every administrator, whether they offered me an internship or told me they needed more experience, LOVED these and said to call them when I was ready for something new or had gained more experience :)

I'm freaking out. 

I'm excited, nervous, overwhelmed, terrified, ecstatic, and so proud of myself for taking on this new challenge. The idea of leaving my family and friends, especially after attending a school close enough to home where I could go home for dinner if I was really homesick, is just so scary to me. At the same time, I know that this is the turning point in my life and I want to document it as thoroughly as I can and live it up to the fullest!

A note on my blog title...

I love the Disney Princesses and have always related the most to Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Like her, I love my family and am so content to be curled up with a book, but the line from one of her songs "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere! I want it more than I can tell!" resonates with me so much, and I feel like thats what I'm going into this with. So much fear, and so much passion!