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September 2nd 2019: a special day for me… Finally that dream I had cherished, I had studied hard for, fought for, cried for and hoped for would become true! At last,

       logo.jpg           I was starting my career: I am a headmistress.Excitement, happiness but also anxiety, fear, many doubts and thousands of questions crowded my mind. Can I do it? Will I be up to the task? Will I be able to face a job that is so different compared to what I have been doing for 26 years?Needless to say: sleepless night! At 7.00 o’clock, I was already dressed up and ready to get in the carfor a twenty minute driving distance to reach MY SCHOOL. I am the headmistress of The Primary School Saint John Bosco in Terlizzi, a small town in southern Italy, near Bari. My school includes a headquarter and a detached branch of primary school and three detached branches of nursery school, scattered around the town. But this is not all: my office and the secretariat are far away from all the school branches. They are set downtown, in a beautiful old palace, on the third floor. Great offices, with new furniture and all comforts but … it does not smell like “school”! No children, no shouts, no chaos, no school bell rings! I would miss all that but I got rid of that thought from my head!

I arrived at my office very early without even realizing it because I was busy in preparing my speech for my first Teachers’ Board. I went up the stairs, I opened the door and I saw all the school employees and the assistant of the previous headmaster waiting for me! They had a beautiful vase of white orchids and a welcoming card. I thanked them, grateful and moved, and I went towards my office. On the door a brand new nameplate: HEADMASTER Prof. Clara Peruzzi. … It is real! My new life began!Suddenly I realized I did not have much time left. The whirling rhythm of the headmistress’ life began immediately: computer on, telephone ringing every minute with a look to the clock because the Teachers’ board was about to start. Moreover, I had many things to do: meeting with the Assistant in order to confirm his task for this year as well, meeting with the teachers charged of the supervision of the different branches in order to understand how this school used to work before introducing my changes without giving the impression of being hit by a tsunami.It was time to move to the central branch of the school for the Teachers’ Board. The lecture hall was full of teachers who greeted each other telling about their summer….I went in and while I was walking to the central desk, the teachers’ voices were stopping…. Everybody was looking at me: I had foreseen it… many times it was told during our training courses: this is the chance to show who you are and that impression will strike their mind! And my mind went back to the time when I was sitting among the teachers…Sadness? No, I am happy to be there because I realized I could give “my vision” to that school and to those teachers…

The meeting started and the speech I had learned by heart disappeared… I spoke with my heart, with a great enthusiasm and wish to communicate my idea about school and leadership: “my school” must be a body made up of many people who have to relate and help each other in order to work better together and reach the common goals we will decide to pursue. I believe leadership is not a person, nor a position but a PROCESS without losing sight of the main aim of the school: the educational success of our students in respect of the times and ways of learning of each student.With that enthusiasm, I have started this adventure, a continuous flow of actions and decisions, trying to translate the theory I had studied into practice with a lot of “common sense”. Actually, I am convinced the common sense and the ability to listen are the keys which allow us to act in the best way for the SCHOOL meant as an educating community.Time goes quickly and a month has already passed since that day… I am always very busy but I like it, I realized I can do it and this makes me strong enough to work hard. Sometimes I have the feeling I have always done this job.

Clara Peruzzi, laureata cum laude in Lingue e letterature straniere presso l’Università degli Studi di Bari, Dirigente Scolastico presso il Secondo Circolo Didattico San Giovanni Bosco di Terlizzi (BA) e ex-docente di lingua inglese di scuola superiore a tempo indeterminato da ventisei anni, con esperienza quadriennale di lavoro presso le Nazioni Unite a Vienna (IEAE), nonché traduttrice in lingua inglese, francese e tedesca presso il Tribunale di Trani, è docente formatrice delle insegnanti di scuola primaria di lingua inglese specializzata in didattica della lingua, formatrice per corsi per adulti e ragazzi con certificazioni CAMBRIDGE di vario livello e referente esami TRINITY. Negli anni ha curato vari volumi collettivi e ha pubblicato “The First English Book for Teachers and Headmasters 100%”, “The English Book for nursery and primary school teachers”, “L’inglese per i docent di scuola primaria e dell’infanzia” e il videocorso “Let’s start learning English together- from 0 to B1”.





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