by Peter Beech, Anglo-Hellenic Teacher Recruitment, Greece
Most teachers come to us when they finish university. It's a time to travel and experience something different before starting a career. We don't require any qualifications except a degree, so it's easy to get started, and people who come with the intention of teaching for a year often end up staying permanently. For those who do go back, the experience is valuable, and especially helpful if you want to be accepted to do a PGCE.
Either way, living and working in Greece is a great experience. It's a vibrant country, different enough to be interesting and slightly exotic without being alien. The Greek hospitality is legendary, and there are so many things to do whether your interest is in the ancient civilisation or the landscape and beaches. Greece is part of the European Union, so there are also practical benefits, such as transferable National Insurance contributions.
I came to Greece to teach fifteen years ago, and I'm still loving it. It's easy to make progress if you have initiative - after my first year here, I've always worked freelance, as a teacher and more recently as a teacher trainer. Although recruitment occupies a lot of my time, I still teach a few hours each week, to keep in touch with the classroom.
Our interviews are a two-way process - we're interviewing the teachers to ascertain their suitability, but they also have the opportunity to gain information about the schools and teaching in Greece. We provide as much information as possible so that people know what to expect. The main thing that we're looking for is personality. A teacher must be lively and extrovert, able to communicate, enthusiastic to put ideas across. It's also important to be organised and methodical. Of course a good knowledge of the language is essential, and teachers must be confident, able to assert themselves and maintain a disciplined atmosphere in the classroom.
People moving abroad for the first time are naturally hesitant, and we do everything we can to support them. First of all, they get a choice of where to work, as we represent schools all over Greece. We can advise them on teaching methods and make sure they integrate well with the school where we place them. We write the contracts between teacher and employer, and we're always available to give advice on contractual matters. We support the teachers in case of disputes with their employers - our reputation in England and Greece depends on our acting fairly. We arrange teacher development activities, and provide training courses. We have a network of teachers all over Greece, and arrange social meetings, so noone is isolated.
Anglo-Hellenic Teacher Recruitment is the foremost agency for English teachers in Greece, providing employment, training and support.
This is an archived article and some details may have changed since this article was first published