Ekaterina Plotnikova ’18 interviewed Elementary School Physical Education Teacher Mr. Giorgio Volpi, who has a strong background in playing and coaching American football and received the Khan-Page Master Teacher Award in 2013.
When did you start at TASIS, and what classes do you teach?
I started at TASIS in 2006. I used to teach students from Pre-K to 6th grade, and now I teach 2nd-5th grade Physical Education.
Can you please describe your educational background?
My first degree was in Mechanics, and my second degree was in Physical Education with minors in Nutrition and Coaching. I also have a master’s degree in Education.
What do you like most about working at TASIS?
I like the opportunity, the professionalism, and the values that the school transmits to people. At the Elementary School level, teaching Physical Education is very rewarding. The kids participate in everything, and they like what I do and how I do it. They get involved, and they are always very active, unlike some older kids.
|It is very rewarding when you’re in a position where you love your job and everyone helps you.|
Do you see a difference between boys and girls when they play?
Yes, there is a little bit of a difference. Sometimes I make them play games that require power, and most of the time the girls win. They are very active, and I like seeing them play on the same level as the boys. When everyone plays soccer, the boys are often better at technique and the girls sometimes step out. That’s why I don’t make them play soccer as much. I like seeing them play all together.
What would you say has been your greatest success at TASIS?
It’s difficult to say because I really enjoy everything about being here. One big success is being able to get along with people from all over the world. We have a great office here, and people collaborate so well. It is very rewarding when you’re in a position where you love your job and everyone helps you.
It’s well-known that you are involved in American football worldwide. How so?
I used to coach in Europe, and I also coached several high school teams in the US. I did the same in the summer here—coaching in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. I lived in a lot of places in Europe before I got married.
I used to be the head football coach in Lugano. Now I coach the boys under-19 team, and we have several players from TASIS on our roster.
Can you briefly describe your teaching philosophy?
As a coach and teacher, I believe in the American system because there is great discipline, and in sports that’s a very important value. Here in Europe it’s sometimes not very appreciated, mainly because they often do not have sports at school. My philosophy is open because I believe in developing my players. I coach high school players because I do not want to lead fully developed players and not be able to change anything about them. I like to build players, and if some can go further than my team, that’s great. Some of them have received athletic scholarships.
What age do you prefer to coach in football?
I like the high school level because it is the age where you can mold not only the physical aspect of the players, but also their mind and their attitude towards sports. In Europe, sports are often not valued as much as they are in the US. When kids come with backgrounds in different sports, they often cannot dedicate too much time and physical ability. It can be hard to change players because they are already coming in with different worldviews on sports.
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