Becoming a language teacher by Mariana Gregorio

Growing up, I remember admiring my teachers from the carpet while they wrote on the whiteboard and I remember thinking how ‘cool’ it would be for me to one day own a pack of those different coloured pens. I recall coming home from school and playing teachers (with my imaginary class of students) and re-enacting the day’s events, even to the point of having my very own class register and marking with a green and red pen those who were present and those who were absent.

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However, my imagination was soon taken with other things and the answer to the question ‘what do you want to be when you’re older?’ changed from being ‘a teacher’ to a number of different careers; the answer ‘teacher’ didn’t return till the age of 14.


In 2007 Italian television aired a mini television series on the life of Maria Montessori, on Canale 5. The influence she had had with her teaching method, not only in Italy but also all around the world, instantly fascinated me, and further reading into Maria Montessori’s life was what made me say, “I want to be like her”.


From then on I had decided; I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. I wanted to become a teacher but this time it was different. It was no longer a matter of wanting to copy what my teachers did but instead I wanted to be able to make a difference as a teacher.

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I was in the middle of my GCSE’s when I first said that I wanted to become a language teacher. Italian language school was always something I looked at as a chore, but just as almost everything in life; the things you hate, in the end, become the very things that you love. I began to see an interest in not only the Italian language but also in its culture. This interest accompanied me throughout my secondary and collage school years, until finally leading me to graduate from the University of Reading with a BA (Hons) in Italian in July 2015.


I began to view my knowledge in the language as a positive factor that determined who I was; Italian at the end of the day is what I know best.

It was only when, while reading through my brother’s A-level work and finding myself going mad at the sight that he had not used the subjunctive correctly, that I realised that teaching Italian was something I wanted to do.


I owe most of my interest in Italian to the many language teachers I’ve had through the years, but my determination, enthusiasm and will is definitely something I’ve acquired through my experience as a student at university. Just as when I was a child, I look up to and admire the work of those whom I’ve had the privilege of being taught by while at Reading. Their enthusiasm and knowledge in transmitting the subject to their students is yet another factor I wish to be able to one day possess.


I have recently completed a training course at the Italian Cultural Institute in London to teach Italian as a foreign language. The first hand experience received has given me the confirmation that teaching Italian is what I want to do. However I do not consider myself a language teacher just yet. Being qualified is only the start of the journey, years of experience is what, I believe, makes you the teacher and in any case mine has just begun.


While I wait for the journey ahead to fully take off, I imagine myself to one day have my very own class, in which I can invoke the same amount of enthusiasm in the culture and language, as I was lucky enough to have had. Most importantly, I wish to positively change my students in their knowledge and understanding of the language that I’ve been so fortunate to possess as from childhood.

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