Where do we go from here? Is ELT in Greece the only option?

 I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey…

I started teaching in a FLS in Keratsini at the age of 21. I stayed at that same school teaching for more than 10 years. I was convinced that ELT was something that happened on the main street of Amfiali, in those 7 classrooms of that school where I had been teaching. In the late 90s I decided to follow a DOTE (now DELTA) course, to find out what more there is to ELT. It was a step I took more out of curiosity than necessity. You see, I was complacent about teaching in Keratsini and I didn’t think I needed to do more.

Text by: Eftychis Kantarakis

When I got my Diploma, life changed! First, out of the blue, I was offered a job with one of the largest international publishers. It was then that I realized ELT in Greece is way more than what I thought. It allowed me to work as a consultant, an editor, a materials designer, and finally a teacher trainer.

I have now been training teachers in many countries in Europe and the Middle East, and that is an almost direct result of the training I had all those years ago. More importantly it derives from the realization that my training can never be enough! I need to learn more and find new ways to put that knowledge into practice.

Not so long ago, I decided to try and work at a summer school in the UK. First in Scotland and then in England. It turns out that to teach in one of those schools, you need to have training that involves lesson observation. University degrees were not important for my prospective employers. A CELTA, or even better a DELTA were the desired qualifications. Other similar certificates or Diplomas also counted. Teachers who teach strictly through the syllabus as we do in Greece are disadvantaged. If you believe that there must be two Junior classes, and then 4 or 5 senior classes till B2, then be prepared to be amazed. If Use of English and Grammar are what you are teaching, then you need to see things differently!

It really pays to be using a good book with a comprehensive Lesson Planner in your winter classes. One where the intro and the guidelines are based on sound methodology. Not overprinted Teacher Books that you simply “teach off the page”. Using a book like those from National Geographic Learning has helped me see things from a completely different perspective. Look out for books for the international market. Books that may well be used outside Greece.

If you are thinking of the prospects of expanding your professional horizon, you need to start doing things differently. You have to be more in line with what happens in ELT outside Greece.

Training should stop 2 or 3 years AFTER you retire! NOT before!