6. Most schools start at about 8am and go on until 13-14.00 when students go home for lunch. Many schools go on until 16.30 however, so nearly all your evening classes will start at 17.00 for kids. Thats a VERY long day. Go easy on your students in the evenings, especially the little ones who are understandably frazzled. They don't get much in the way of outside playtime, so you might want to include some action in the lesson plan to allow them to let off steam.
Here is how the grades work out with the school years in the UK.
nursery school: students use the teachers first name with the prefix Maestro/a (Maestra Paola) and use the informal tu.
ages 3-5 (year R and 1)
prima - year 2 (6-7)
seconda - year 3 (7-8)
terza - year 4 (8-9)
quarta - year 5 (9-10)
quinta - year 6 (10-11)
lower secondary (middle) school: students must start formally adressing the teacher with Lei and say Professore or 'Prof' with surnames (Professoressa Rossi).
prima media - year 7 (11-12)
seconda media - year 8 (12-13)
terza media - year 9 (13-14) and the year students do the end of middle school exams.
upper secondary (high) school:
prima liceo: year 10 (14-15)
seconda liceo: year 11 (15-16)
terza liceo: year 12 (16-17)
quarta liceo: year 13 (17-18)
quinta liceo: age 18-19 and the year students do the exams for their highschool diploma.
8. By the time you get to teenage classes then some of your students may have been bocciati and been made to repeat a year, so they will be older than the rest of the class. This happens when their grades fall below a certain average or they fail too many subjects or they are too badly behaved. This can be especially odd by the time you get to secondary school which people typically finish aged 19 but obviously can end up finishing at 20-21.
That said, working in a private school, I have yet to actually see this happen.
11. That grade will be the average of assignments and tests etc done during the semester. Italian students are CONSTANTLY tested. Teachers favour interrogazioni where they ask the student questions in front of the whole class who must listen. This seems almost cruel to me but apparently it's to stop a teacher from giving a low grade out of spite.
13. Unsurpisingly perhaps then, Italy loves the Cambridge ESOL exams which are created and run by Cambridge University. If you aren't familiar with them now you soon will need to be as they go from kids (Starters, Movers, Flyers) to adults (FCE, CAE...) and students from 7 upwards will be working towards them.
14. Your business students will be late. Often very late. This does not mean however that they won't notice if YOU are late.
15. Your students, of all ages, will expect a course book and a tests of some kind, otherwise they won't consider you a proper teacher or it a proper course.
16. Dress appropriately. Dress codes in schools are more relaxed - teachers wear jeans and trainers often but for men no shorts, T-shirts, sandals and definitely no flip flops. For women remember that, especially in religious schools, skirts above the knee and strappy tops or bare shoulders are a no-no along with cleavage of any kind.
17. Typically you will start work in a school (unless it's a big international one) with no training or explanations as to registers, or school rules etc. So remember to ask on your first day if you can find someone who looks like they know their stuff:
- what are the rules about toilet breaks and break time for the students
- how to sign the register
- what the students are supposed to be doing after your lesson and if you have to accompany them anywhere
- if there are any students in your class with health problems or learning difficulties.
- where the teacher's toilets are
- who to contact if someone is unwell