when a trip makes your eyes twinkle

But: It’s time to leave. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, school trips are back, a cross and joy for teachers of all levels. Croce, because organizing a school trip, abortion and reporting become a business that often puts everyone on their feet. First, it is necessary to propose and approve the trip of the class council, to find the companions, in sufficient numbers. We then submit the formal request to the secretariat using hypertrophic forms to complete and submit to the approval of the teaching staff. When everything is going well, communications and circulars are put together, the excursion program is drawn up, the structures to be visited are contacted, reservations are made etc. etc. etc.

If you have not arrived exhausted and discouraged by this time, you will have to face the most inaccessible rocks that will put even most companies of men in serious concern: the signing and the consequences of the responsibility of the companion who created a new atlas, takes care of itself, among other things, to carry out the inspection of the means of transport to check their suitability (sic!) or to check that all the welcome structures comply with the safety standards. Let me be clear, in order to avoid unsympathetic misunderstandings: everything is entrusted to the free will of the individual organizational professional.

But despite painful and strenuous work, travel is also a joy. Maybe I’m just back from the last of the three trips to Rome that were organized for my classes this year, but it seems to me that the educational visit focused on a number of fundamental training experiences for the school’s actors. Teachers and students live together, in a decidedly less formal environment of the classroom, for many hours together: the student watches as the teacher-adult deals with the whole reality, observes how he takes a coffee, how he makes the joke (when he the joke), what he sees and where he looks when he stands in front of a monument, how he behaves with others, how he behaves with them. Students look at us, they look at us at every moment of life – from behind and under the mask for the past two years, but they continue to do so – always. They look at the attitude we have in reality, in everyday life. We teachers do the same, we investigate and discover aspects of our students that we would never have imagined in other circumstances.

The study experience becomes a journey, flesh and sweat, a pilgrimage: the body is questioned as much as the mind and it must adhere to what is proposed. School is (or can be) free time and play. I like to imagine moments of leisure and travel that are not the time of “freedom”, in which one is inevitably thrown into the “rub” of the course or compulsive shopping. On the last of these trips, I took the boys of my first two to Villa Celimontana for lunch and to play together. We played for an hour and a half and everyone was involved, both in the more physical games and in the more “intellectual” ones. In the end, because after two games the two teams had reached parity, I offered them as a play-off the classic and oldest of the games: to “physically” stage a work of art, in this case “Freedom Leads People” “and the” School of Athens “. The boys had 20 minutes to organize themselves, find temporary material and “stage” the work. The only limitation: all students had to participate in the “framework”. While I saw that they were ready to run back and forth to get books, scarves and anything else, I stopped and thought how significant it all was: there was a unique unity, a concrete sense of society and health. Competition between the classes (with many inevitable stadium choirs sung even by the most suspicious!) And each with what he had at his disposal, made his own contribution to the common goal. When I saw every opera on stage (two masterpieces!) I thought maliciously: here is the last civilian work! But in reality, the thought was neither malicious nor peregrine …

On the train, the air was agitated: while everyone was returning to their “used work”, everyone’s eyes seemed mysterious and unexpected, perhaps a little as if in the movie The return of the king, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin drink a beer together after returning to the Shire: they are calm, but in their eyes the extraordinary adventure still shines and forever. From here, we’ll start over and go back to correcting tasks (or doing) with a new, unpublished secret hidden in our eyes.

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