Saturday, April 21, 2007

Foreign language teachers in Greece. Who is eligible?

Exams, exams, exams. I have noticed that more and more foreign language exams are introduced. Have you ever wondered why, especially in Greece we have an “exam-mania”?
The answer is simple. Whoever gets a C2 level certificate is eligible to teach at private language schools. You get a document called «επάρκεια» (= sufficiency) and you can actually teach!!!!
This law was introduced about 60 years ago, when private language schools could not find enough teachers to hire. Back then you could find only a few University graduates.
60 years have passed, there are more than 6000 certified English teachers, 5000 certified German and French teachers and so many native speakers with University diplomas living and working in Greece. I do not mention the state school teachers.
Aren’t these people enough? Why do proficiency holders still get hired?
The English teacher association has been to court many times in order to have this ridiculous law abolished. The German teacher association has joined them a couple of years ago. Unfortunately they, we, are not heard.
Language school owners insist that they need proficiency holders. Why? Because University graduates only want to get a position at a state school and leave private language schools without thinking. They want stability…
And my question is… who could actually stay ay a language school, with pay no more than 7-8 Euros per hour when they can get a decent salary?
More and more teachers graduate every year. Nobody can say that there is no efficiency.
I do hope that they will consider revising that ridiculous law.


Alexandros^ said...

I am afraid that not even university holders are adequate as teachers some times. A degree -any kind of degree- is not the only we need to consider prior of teaching. Myself I have many degrees. But still I had to spend a lot of time and energy and a lot of money to get trained and certified as a teacher. We need to introduce "Train the Trainer" programs were teachers can learn the techniques on how to handle a class and increase the ability of their students to learn. There must be an enforcement that only certified teachers can teach. And there must be tough criteria in order for any teacher to get the required certification -especially an insurance of practical teaching metrologies and skills.

Christine_Alitisa said...

I taught for 9 years without having a university degree in Greece. I opened my own language school and was quite successful. I went to many seminars and meetings organized by PALSO and read dozens of books on methodology. On the other hand I saw language school owners/teachers with university degrees who could barely have a conversation with me in English and who were not interested in the slightest in doing a good job. They just wanted the money. They would hire employees who didn't know what the heck they were doing. I know this because I taught in about 3 different schools at different times. The issue is that schools should hire and TRAIN staff to be good at what they do. The government should REQUIRE that all teachers attend seminars on a regular basis to keep up to date on the latest ideas and trends in teaching. Hiring teachers should NOT based exclusively on a piece of paper but also on attitude, ability, experience and knowledge. I beg to differ with you on the issue of only hiring teachers with university degrees. There are a lot of good teachers out there without them. I couldn't attend university in Greece because my Greek wasn't good enough to allow me to obtain a spot in the hard-to-get-into univeristies. Does that make me stupid? No! I was getting straigh A's in Australia, but my family moved to Greece when I was 16. BTW, I aced my Michigan exam (with honors) and got an A on the Cambridge exam - both taken at age 16. (As you know, both these exans are equivalent to second-year college level)
Please try to keep an open mind on this issue Dora. I know the teachers in University Degrees tend to look down upon us without them, but a piece of paper doesn't make anyone better than anyone else. It's effort and dedication to your profession that make you good at what you do - no matter what that is.

Christine_Alitisa said...

please forgive the typos..I was in a hurry.

dorapap said...

Christine, thank you for your comment.
There are always people with degrees who do not do a good job, but this happens to all jobs... I was referring to degrees to show that there must be some kind of training... Do you think that an 18 year old proficiency holder is actually capable of teaching?
You said that you took part in methodology seminars apart from the proficiency certificate... I keep going to, although I have a degree. I do not look down on non degree holders, but I do think that not everybody should have the right to teach.