GIADA FRATINI

I had been dreaming of becoming an English teacher since I was 6 years old. I remember I had so much fun in class and thought it was the best job in the world. Now I can finally say that thanks to Teach for Bulgaria my dream has come true. 

I taught English in a Secondary School (1st –7th grades) in Pasarel, a pictoresque village in the outskirts of Sofia. Not only did I have the chance to teach these amazing children for the last two years, but I could also get my English teaching qualification and had the chance to get continuous professional, practical and psychological support from the staff of  Teach for Bulgaria, through a series of seminars, workshops, individual and group meetings with my mentors and fellow teachers, not to mention the 8 weeks of Summer Academy and Summer School. 

Teaching for me was at the same time something totally new and yet, somehow familiar.

On one hand it was new since I had just graduated and all of a sudden, I got lots of new responsibilities. Not only I had to be a leader but I also had to be someone that not only my students, but also their families, my colleagues and the whole school could rely on. Then, I couldn’t have imagined that teaching would be literally a 24/7 job, since as soon as you start working with the children you become not only their teacher, but also their mum, dad, brother, sister and friend. All at the same time. Plus, preparing for your classes you get to acquire such a wide range of skills, teachers can be painters, singers, psychologists, actors, entertainers, designers and so much more!

On the other hand, it also felt very familiar to me, since I immediately bonded with my amazing pupils and colleagues, who were always there for me. For the last couple of years, the whole school literally became my new family and at some point, I felt so much at home that I miss it a lot now.

I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy at all to get there, from the selection process until the last school day I had to overcome so many odds. Nevertheless, I would definitely do it all again and again because these years were intense and full of emotions. I hope my students have learnt from me at least a bit of what I’ve learnt from them. They realized that English isn’t just a school subject on their weekly programme, but also a powerful instrument to explore the world in its diversity, to travel and meet new friends. We couldn’t take a plane to go as far as we wanted, but that didn’t stop us, because we made the world come to us in our classrooms. In fact, we had international guests visiting us and telling us all about their countries and cultures and they were always ready to answer all our questions. We had pen friends in Italy, we learnt through games, we ran, we had fun together.

Of course, I made a lot of mistakes, but I also learnt from them, making continuous adjustments. In life things never happen as you had planned, which can make you feel frustrated and tired of trying. But trust me, when these children give you a smile, a hug, a drawing or just a nice word, it can totally make your day. And that’s the beauty of life. It always surprises you.

As it happened to me. Just a few years ago I would’ve never expected to find my dream job in Bulgaria, to learn Bulgarian and to meet such amazing people there. By the way, I’ve just started my new adventure. I’ve just returned to Italy and started my master degree in Teaching Italian to Foreigners and I’m really looking forward to go back to teaching. 

This is why it makes me so proud to share my experience here and be able to contribute to Teach for Italy, which will be such a great opportunity for young talented Italians. 

Teachers change the world, one child at a time.