“Dance without shame” The moving summer homework of an Italian teacher

Summer holiday homework is a worry for every Italian student. The 15 “tasks” assigned by a high school English teacher in Fermo went viral in no time at all: here are some life tips for summer 2015 for Italian students, but not just for them.

Summer means an array of different things to Italian schoolchildren: making friends on holiday, the sea or some of the most beautiful mountains in the world and almost three months away from their school desk.
However, there has always been a burden weighing heavily upon all of these things: the ghostly summer assignments; books to read, Latin texts to translate, arithmetic problems to solve and so on and so forth. The holiday homework – often completed in haste during the last week of the holiday before returning to the classroom – heaps a ton of stress and anxiety on the poor Italian student.
This is probably why the holiday homework set by Giuseppe Catà, an English teacher at the Don Bosco high school in Fermo went viral overnight. Rather than homework tasks, what this enlightened teacher set was more like deeply inspiring advice for their life that will probably be much more useful for his students than pages and pages of grammar exercises that would be carried out mechanically. Above all, they are tips that may also be useful to those who left school quite a while ago (any reference to the writer is purely coincidental!). So happy reading and enjoy the holidays!

Italian teacher's moving summer homework 2015 for his students

  1. In the morning, go to walk by the sea sometimes, in total solitude: look at how the sun reflects in it and think about the things you love most in life, feel happy.
  2. Try to use all the new terms that we have learned together this year: the more things you can say, the more things you can think of and the more things you can think of, the more you are free.
  3. Read as much as you can, but not because you have to. Read because summer inspires dreams and adventures and by reading you can feel like swallows in flight. Read because it is the best form of revolt that you have (ask me if you would like any suggestions for reading material).
  4. Avoid all things, situations and people that make you feel negative or empty: look for challenging situations and the company of friends who broaden your horizons and who understand and appreciate you for who you are.
  5. If you feel sad or scared, do not worry: the summer, as all other wonderful things, worries the soul. Try to write a diary to express how you feel (in September, if you like, we will read it together)
  6. Dance. Without shame. Just outside your house, or in your room. Summer is a dance, and it is foolish not to take part.
  7. At least once, go to see the sunrise. Stay silent and breathe. Close your eyes, in appreciation.
  8. Do a lot of sport.
  9. If you find a person who enchants you then tell them with as much sincerity and grace as you possibly can; no matter whether he or she will understand or not. If he or she does not understand, then he/she was not your destiny; if he/she does understand then the summer of 2015 will be a beautiful time to share together (if this goes wrong, go back to step 8).
  10. Look over your notes taken in our classes: for each author and each concept ask yourself questions and relate then to what happens to you.
  11. Be as cheerful as the sun and as untameable as the sea.
  12. Do not use swear words and always be polite and kind.
  13. Watch films with poignant dialogues (possibly in English) to improve your language skills and your ability to dream. Do not let the film end with the credits. Relive it whilst you live your summer.
  14. In the shining light of day or on warm nights, dream how your life must and can be: in the summer look for the strength to never give up anything, and do everything you can to pursue that dream.
  15. Be good.


  1. Al mattino, qualche volta, andate a camminare sulla riva del mare in totale solitudine: guardate come vi si riflette il sole e, pensando alle cose che più amate nella vita, sentitevi felici.
  2. Cercate di usare tutti i nuovi termini imparati insieme quest’anno: più cose potete dire, più cose potete pensare; e più cose potete pensare, più siete liberi.
  3. Leggete, quanto più potete. Ma non perché dovete. Leggete perché l’estate vi ispira avventure e sogni, e leggendo vi sentite simili a rondini in volo. Leggete perché è la migliore forma di rivolta che avete (per consigli di lettura, chiedere a me).
  4. Evitate tutte le cose, le situazioni e le persone che vi rendono negativi o vuoti: cercate situazioni stimolanti e la compagnia di amici che vi arricchiscono, vi comprendono e vi apprezzano per quello che siete.
  5. Se vi sentite tristi o spaventati, non vi preoccupate: l’estate, come tutte le cose meravigliose, mette in subbuglio l’anima. Provate a scrivere un diario per raccontare il vostro stato (a settembre, se vi va, ne leggeremo insieme)
  6. Ballate. Senza vergogna. In pista sotto cassa, o in camera vostra. L’estate è una danza, ed è sciocco non farne parte.
  7. Almeno una volta, andate a vedere l’alba. Restate in silenzio e respirate. Chiudete gli occhi, grati.
  8. Fate molto sport.
  9. Se trovate una persona che vi incanta, diteglielo con tutte la sincerità e la grazia di cui siete capaci. Non importa se lui/lei capirà o meno. Se non lo farà, lui/lei non era il vostro destino; altrimenti, l’estate 2015 sarà la volta dorata sotto cui camminare insieme (se questa va male, tornate al punto 8).
  10. Riguardate gli appunti delle nostre lezioni: per ogni autore e ogni concetto fatevi domande e rapportatele a quello che vi succede.
  11. Siate allegri come il sole, indomabili come il mare.
  12. Non dite parolacce, e siate sempre educatissimi e gentili.
  13. Guardate film dai dialoghi struggenti (possibilmente in lingua inglese) per migliorare la vostra competenza linguistica e la vostra capacità di sognare. Non lasciate che il film finisca con i titoli di coda. Rivivetelo mentre vivete la vostra estate.
  14. Nella luce sfavillante o nelle notti calde, sognate come dovrà e potrà essere la vostra vita: nell’estate cercate la forza per non arrendervi mai, e fate di tutto per perseguire quel sogno.
  15. Fate i bravi.


Source: Swide, by: Alessia Gargiulo