Today was my first day of teaching in Italy, and it was very interesting. School is so, so, so different here than it is in the US. First of all, it seems like everyone and everything is so laid back. Being late is fine -- nobody really cares or notices. Next, there is no such thing as a school bus or a cafeteria. Students walk anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour to get to school. Many students ride bikes or public buses. Once they get to school, they swipe their ID cards, which is the only way the schools know if students are there or not (since teachers don't take attendance), and then they go to their classrooms. Throughout the day, students stay in the same classroom, and the teachers are the ones who move. Actually, my homestay "sisters," Margherita and Maria, said that students stay with the same class of 20-30 students for their entire high school career!
When we got out of school at 1:30 (!), Margherita, Maria, Margherita's boyfriend and I all went for a walk to get some coffee. On the way I noticed that at least 75% of the kids at Liceo Respighi high school smoke -- it was everywhere! Margherita told me it was only one or two years ago that they banned smoking inside of the school.
I still haven't had a chance to take many good pictures around Piacenza, but I plan to tomorrow afternoon when we take a walk around the town! Right now, though, I do have some pictures of the home where I'm staying. The family I am staying with has a mother, father, 3 daughters (11, 16, and 18) and a cat. :) The pictures will show up in the next post... For some reason, my iPad doesn't want to let me upload them from here.