Treading dangerously

A dilemma: it was time to be begin my career. Safety and success, or a risky social commitment?

The application form in front of me, for a teaching job, reminds me that my student days are over. I have to choose a destination, and the box is staring at me. Should I stay in my Southern town, or go somewhere else? I am in front of a real life choice.

Many of my companions choose the North, where there are more opportunities, and they can get away from the things that so often come up in the papers: illegality, irregularity, and criminality. But so many things link me to my town! Not just my family, my feelings, my friends, my interests, but also the hope of doing something, of going against the current, in spite of my limits. The challenge that Chiara gave to young people came to mind: “to die for your own people…”. The idea of staying, with the risk of less work opportunities, in “difficult schools”, is growing, rather recklessly, inside. I speak about it at home, with my girlfriend, with my companions.

It is evening and the form has to be sent in the morning. The choice is made: I’m staying. I think, “What can I do in this quarter, an area affected by the Camorra, where people are shot and killed? I can love! May God help me.” I select some “frontier” schools as well as “élite” ones. God will help me understand where he wants me.

A few months later, I am given a year’s work. It is amazing, I enter my school career through the main door, with the best contract! On the first morning the lessons are suspended, because of vandalism the previous night. I understand straight away that God has taken me at my word. The moment of trial has arrived.

It is a very special situation and the social unease can be felt. The days go by, some with difficult moments where nothing seems to work, and others where the children’s faces light up, and they come to me, because they want to improve and have a better future. I hold on to this hope, and my pain has a meaning.

I don’t know whether I can keep it up, because it is hard to confront bullies, to gain respect, and to speak about mathematics in these situations. But I know that moment by moment I can try to bring God into the classrooms.   I can bring him through reprimands, through marking, through conversation, through discussions, through explanations, through silence, through ticks on the register. If he wanted me here, there’s a reason.
(P.D. – ITALY)


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