For our latest Faculty Profile, we interviewed one of our new teaching couples, Lorenzo Corti and Christine Wentzell. They were recently teaching in China and have been all over the world. Read on to find out what made Lorenzo decide to be a teacher after spending fourteen years as a dentist, how they are raising their Third Culture Kids, and what's on their Senegal bucket list.
What are your positions at ISD?
Lorenzo is the Secondary Music Teacher and Christine is a Grade 4 Homeroom Teacher.
Where were you before coming to ISD?
We were most recently in Zhuhai, China at ZIS. Previously we were in Dhaka, Bangladesh at another ISD and our first international post was at Chadwick International in Songdo, South Korea where Lorenzo began his journey into MYP and DP. Christine began her career in PYP at the International School of Florence, Italy which is where we call home.
Why did you choose ISD?
We have always wanted to return to Africa with our boys. Lorenzo did a Doctors Without Borders experience in Cape Vert in 2003 back when he was a dentist. We later vacationed in Kenya and loved our experience there. We promised to bring our boys to this continent one day.
ISD was of particular interest to us not only because of its location but also because of the programs offered here. Design, theatre, and a robust athletics program were top priorities for our boys and a strong Learning Support team is important to us both as educators and as parents. ISD has an excellent reputation within the network of international teachers and we have not been disappointed with our choice.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
Lorenzo is from Florence, Italy, and followed the path set for him as a dentist. However, his love of music never wavered, he began on the church organ at 5 years old. Christine hails from a fishing village in beautiful Nova Scotia but found her home-away-from-home in Florence. Our sons, Sebastian (14) and Diego (12) are in grades 9 and 7 respectively. They are very different from one another as individuals: Diego is an aspiring engineer and can do anything with his hands while Sebastian is a talented and skilled athlete. As IB students having graduated from the PYP in different countries, they embody the Learner Profile attributes, but most especially in their open-mindedness and their empathy for others. As a family, we enjoy traveling together and experiencing different cultures, not only as tourists but as residents. It continues to be a fantastic adventure.
Like many parents in the ISD community, you are also raising third-culture kids. What have you found to be helpful when transitioning to a new place?
Raising TCKs is both challenging and wonderful. The hardest part is the distance from family, especially the unquestionable importance of grandparents. We are fortunate enough to visit every year. The beautiful part is to see the diversity in the world also through the eyes of our children. Our boys are grateful for their experiences in the countries we have lived in and for the cultural diversity within their classrooms.
As parents, we have found it really important to include them in the decision making process: the pros and cons of the new city and school. Making plans with them for the new family space. For example, drawing up designs for their new bedroom. Watching videos of what things we will see and do when we get to the new city and school also helps a lot.
Lorenzo, you were a dentist for a long time before getting into teaching. What made you decide to get into teaching? Is there anything you learned while being a dentist that you now apply to your teaching?
Music has always been my greatest passion. When I decided to take a year away from dentistry, I had the opportunity to teach for a short period of time in a local Korean high school and I realized that sharing my enthusiasm for music with young people came naturally to me and was very rewarding. Dentistry is rigorous work but taught me that each patient is a unique individual, as with students, I need to adapt my approach for each person to achieve success.
Christine, what or who inspired you to get into teaching?
Like most teachers I have met around the world, my goal in life was never to be a teacher. But in the end, what is meant to be will be. When I graduated (I cannot even remember if it was high school or my undergrad.) my best friend said to me, “Christine, you are going to sit on the floor and play with children, the sooner you accept that, the better.” In Italy in 1998, I found myself doing just that as an ESL teacher of a group of 4 year-olds in a small language school. I was having fun and making a difference. I taught some of those little guys all the way through high school. My calling found me I think.
Tell us something that most people wouldn’t know about you.
Lorenzo: I am passionate about street photography
Christine: I am actually quite terrified of cats.
What is on your Senegal bucket list?
First and foremost, we plan to become fluent in French. So far, we are enjoying some local dishes such as Yassa Poulet and Thiéboudienne, but we look forward to much more and possibly learning to cook them as a family. Exploring Senegal, but also this great continent is certainly a top priority. We are just so overjoyed to be living on the ocean. The top item on our bucket list is the arrival of our dog, Happy! Sadly, he is still in China awaiting a flight to Dakar.
And finally, what would you choose for your last meal if you could have anything you wanted?
Lorenzo: At Pizzaman in Florence: Coccoli, prosciutto e stracchino to start, la Margharita D.O.P. and Cristian’s panna cotta at the end.
Christine: What a hard question!! I just love to eat so many things! I guess I would have to choose scallops wrapped in bacon to begin, spaghetti alle acciughe with pepperoncino prepared by my husband, and crème brulée to finish.
Thank you so much Lorenzo and Christine! We have loved getting to know you!