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Lesvos 01 (AP-R)

The school is situated in Kalloni, in the centre of the island. There are a total of seven teachers, with an average of 6 - 12 students per class.


I was recruited in January through Anglo-Hellenic and chose to work on the island of Lesvos, where I was replacing a teacher who had left at Christmas.

No problems arose during my five months at the school.

I was well-treated by the director and over-paid every month. That's right - over-paid.

Each month I would count my hours and calculate my pay according to the figures in my contract only to receive an envelope with a significantly higher sum inside it.

I never asked why and my boss never said why, I just took it as showing gratitude for the hours I spent reading and marking tests and compositions at home, which took many hours each week.

It was my first teaching experience and an opportunity I took to "test the water" before going to Korea (this turned out to be a huge mistake as teaching English in the two countries cannot possibly be compared, just take a look at the Korea equivalent of these postings - they make Greece look like heaven).

I was surprised myself at how enjoyable I found the job.

It was challenging and rewarding in many ways.

As the students were working toward taking the Cambridge/Michigan examinations there was a real purpose to the job and a goal to aim for - to get as many students as possbile to pass.

The challenges were many.

The level and standard of English I was teaching to proficiency-level candidates was so high that I would have to study a little myself before every class.

The best students made me feel awkward by asking questions that I wasn't always able to answer, while the worst really tested my patience and occasionally drove me to the end of my tether and a burst of shouting.

My director, knowing the bad kids as well as I, was always supportive of me.

Other than some Albanians, Bulgarians and maybe a few others from that corner of Europe, I was the only "foreigner" in town. I found the locals warm and welcoming and I would converse with many of the local traders as I did my shopping around town.

The town proved to be too small and too isolated in the end (the isolation was exagerated greatly as I had no television nor regular internet access, only Greek radio and the weekly English newspaper, Athens News).

Most students went to the mainland to study at university and later to work, leaving a bit of a generation gap.

I spent my free time exploring the island, by cycling for hours on end, and studying Greek from a book.

Five months passed and my contracted period was over.

I refused an attractive offer to stay at the school in favor of going to Korea in time for the World Cup and to be paid a huge amount more for working a lot less.

I hadn't saved much money while on the island and hadn't partied or had great fun the whole time, more relaxed and taken a break from life to enjoy life in the Mediterranean.

After spending a year in Korea I would return to Greece at the drop of a hat and a rise in the salary.

You can read, and see photos of my Greece and Korea experiences, and many more, at my web-site, aledpowell.com.

Aled Powell (Llanelidan, Wales, UK)
http://aledpowell.com
November 17th, 2003

 

 
 
 
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