A Job Teaching English in Greece
I was lucky. I landed a job teaching English about a week after I arrived in Athens at "frontisteriou," a post-graduate private school for high school students who want to upgrade their marks to get into university.
My eight students, all about 17 or 18 years old, sat around a table in a classroom in downtown Athens, as fascinated by me as I was by them. We met at 7 p.m. and studied until 9 p.m. I also had a private tutoring job in a seaside suburb
of Athens. I was paid wellenough to live onfor both my teaching in the frontisteriou and for my private tutoring.
It is wise to go to Greece (or other European countries) in late August, before the school year begins in September. Check out newspapers like the Athens News, which has lots of job listings. With the money I made I was able to visit
several of Greeces islands.
After classes I often walked up to Plaka, the old city area, to meet friends at a little restaurant or taverna called Erezmias for supper. Erezmia is a little old lady who cooks potato omelettes and other house specialties over
a charcoal burner at the front of the restaurant. A perfume of retsina, the Greek wine that tastes of pine resin, and charcoal scents the room. Someone invariably brings out a bizouki, and singing continues well into the night.
I was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy by my students. They took learning English very seriously. I had an honors English degree and some experience teaching in Toronto, so teaching English was the perfect passport for doing
what I wanted to dolive and work in Europe.
To be a good English teacher requires patience and excellent English skills, but you do not have to know the local language. Most schools require that you have a BA and perhaps a TESL certificate as well.
Teaching English is rewarding anywhere but especially abroad. If you are teaching privately, you will be invited into homes to see how families live and you are often treated to a meal of local cuisine.
The Greeks are warm and friendly, curious about foreigners, and not at all xenophobic. But they expect you to live up to their high opinion of you. What better way to prolong your visit than
to teach in the cradle of civilization.
Donna Bamford lives in London, Ontrario.