Ho cominciato ad insegnare molti anni fa in Sabina nella provincia di Rieti, erano gli inizi della Scuola Media Unificata e obbligatoria, tutte le mattine c’era il rituale del preside che mandava i carabinieri a prendere i bambini a casa poiché molti genitori si rifiutavano di mandarli a scuola sostenendo che la scuola serviva solo a far lavorare noi insegnanti ma non a loro e i ragazzi dovevano lavorare, e che dovevamo nel caso pagargli le scarpe.
Ricordo comunque questo periodo con nostalgia anche se faticoso, le scuole della Sabina distavano da Roma circa 70 chilometri ma ero appena diplomata e desiderosa di insegnare la mia materia ‘Educazione Musicale’. Una lezione ricordo in particolare, l’argomento erano le Muse e Apollo Musagete. Spiegai lungamente chi fossero le Muse le protettrici delle Arti, e cosa fossero le Arti molto dettagliatamente, la figura di Apollo ecc. Comunque memore dei consigli di una anziana ed esperta insegnante delle elementari che mi aveva detto: “Quando spieghi non stare in cattedra a compiacerti di quanto hai detto ma verifica subito se i ragazzi ti hanno capito,” cominciai ad interrogare i ragazzi per vedere cosa avessero capito. “Chi erano le Muse?” Dopo tante richieste la risposta “Erano regazze”, “e Apollo?”, altra risposta: “Uno che sonava e andava con le regazze”. Prima delusione, poi insistendo chiesi per varie volte cosa fossero le Arti. Tutti zitti ! Al mio insistere abbastanza delusa e arrabbiata per il mio fiato perso un ragazzino dal fondo dell’aula abbastanza seccato rispose: “A professorè, e so’ le braccia e le gambe no!”
I began to teach many years ago in the Sabine Hills area, near Rieti. It was the beginning of the mandatory Scuola Media Unificata (1); every day there was the school director’s rite to call the Carabinieri (2) to take children at home, because many parents did not send them to school, because, they said, the school was necessary to give a job to teachers, and not necessary to for them and their children who had to work, and if we wanted them to go to school, we had to buy them shoes.
However I remember this period with nostalgia even if though it was hard. These schools were 70 km far from Rome, but I had just finished my school and wanted to teach my subject, “Music Education”. I remember a lesson in particular: the topic was the Muses and Apollo. I explained very well, that the Muses were the Arts’ protectors, what the Arts were, the figure of Apollo, and so on. I remembered the advices of an old and expert teacher of the elementary school, who told me: “When you teach do not stay at your desk delighting yourself at with your words, but verify immediately if your students have understood what you said”. So I began to ask them to verify what they understood. “Who were the Muses?” After many questions, the answer was: “they were girls” (3); “who was Apollo?”, the answer was: “A boy, who used to play and went with girls” (4). After this first disappointment, I insisted and asked many times what the Arts were. All was silent! After insisting I was quite disappointed and angry about the loss of time, but a little, quite bothered boy, from the back of the classroom, answered: “Teacher, they are arms and legs, are they not?” (5)
1) Italian public middle school ages 11 to 13.
2) Branch of the Italian Army performing gendarmerie role.
3) This phrase is in dialect.
4) This is also in dialect.
5) Again in dialect. In Italian “arti” (arts) is also a plural noun, which indicates arms and legs together.
(Translation by Marina Madeddu)