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Greece - would you?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by SMT dude, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Aí, gamoto, I can only find advertisements from one school, the one named after a
    'Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius.'
    (with thanks, as ever, to 'Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia')
    This school is widely regarded as excellent. I'm sure, escapeagain, that you will already have located and digested its very positive inspection report from ISI - nothing I have heard about the place leads me to believe that the inspection team got things wrong back in December 2010.
    Even a soundly established school like this, will not be immune to the economic battering the host country is taking, but frankly if this one goes under then Greece itself and the whole EU are kaput, finis, acabados, dead dawgs.
    Which may yet happen, although I number myself among the cautious optimists, and even if the worst does come to the worst there'll always be a Shanghai...
    Whether you want to enjoy a front-row seat at an 'interesting' time for the Greeks, is a matter for you and will depend on circumstances - are you single, solvent and up for absolutely anything, or do you have a non-teaching spouse, three lovely infants, an elderly mother who worries about you, a Siamese cat called Mai Tai, a parakeet called Perce and a mortgage on a mansion whose value is gently declining back in Basigstoke?
    As above: I'd be optimistic that you would come out of Hellas financially and physically unscathed, having enjoyed working in a 'top tier' school. But you never know, do you ? - which is what makes this life so delicious.
  2. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    Beautifully put! A master of words and wisdom, thank you [​IMG]
  3. There is in fact (or there was when I last looked which was two days ago) an advert for a different school too, not so saintly.

    I am in another southern European country which will probably be affected quite badly if Greece were to go (even further) south, so to speak. I am somewhere in between the two pictures you so beautifully painted - neither completely footloose and fancy free, nor with three dependants.

    My question is, what do you think is the worse that could happen? If the country were to go bankrupt (and correct me if I am wrong but it seems that it pretty much is bankrupt - "A rose by any other name..." and all that). what should I expect? Would my contract still be valid, or would such extraneous circumstances be deemed non-binding? Civil unrest? No food on the shelves? No way to leave the country? Military coup?

    I realise that no one knows, I accept that, but do you think it would be irresponsible to even think about attempting it? I like the sound of the place (well, not the strikes and rioting, but the retsina, beach and summer breeze).

    Thanks again for your time to comment!
  4. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    OK, so you're in Albania. Lovely unspoilt part of the world. And at least you know the southern European score, kind of.
    Greece is much less stable and has been heading downhill ever since Melina Mercouri became Minister of Culture and forced Socrates to down that pint of hemlock.
    And yes, the country is bankrupt and potentially violent, but the same is true of Italy, Ireland, Spain, Britain, France, Portugal, Lesotho, the United States of North America and the whole of the Middle East except the suburb where Phoney Pharaoh's Rugby club is situated - it's just that Greece as founding nation of democracy has quite rightly been chosen to be the first to walk the plank in expiation of this Original Sin.
    The very worst that could happen? You finish a two-year contract at that excellent school, your brilliant work punctuated by beach weekends and retsina binges - then St Cake's closes down because nobody can afford it any more. The RAF Hercules transport plane rescues you and your suitcaseful of black-market dollars, moments before some hunky militant from the Peoples' Revolutionary Militia is about to ravish you (dammit) and you return to the UK, bore your friends with tall tales while you supply-teach for a while, and then fly off to a really secure and lucrative job in Shanghai.
    The best that could happen? Well, I'm in dark lowering mood right now, so will leave you to write the fantasy stuff.
  5. Hmmm...Difficult one. I agree with SMT and add that having just spent a wonderful few days in Greece with friends and family, things are bad, but most people are sticking through it and getting on with it and doing their best. It could all kick off but that's not really the feeling there - it's one of trying to help each other out and just make the best of what is an awful situation. There's food on the shelves and if you have a decent pay package you might even be able to afford some of it. No, really, it's not like being in post-war Germany or anything - much to the surprise of your average German. And I didn't see a single Porsche while I was there...Although I did see a fair few people shopping etc.
    The Saint's school is good - although they used to be rubbish at netball. :) In a nice part of town with lots of expat communities in the area. The other school currently advertising is my alma mater and is fairly well established - been there since 1970 or some such. Nice enough, academically strong (or it was in those days) and it used to have some really decent teachers. Some senior management were great and others perhaps less so. The usual mix of good, bad and ugly. Not sure on its reputation at the moment...Perhaps SMT can shed more light?

    The weather is still glorious and the food still reasonably affordable and tasty. And the beaches are still nice etc. You have to put up with strikes and political ranglings but there's nowhere you can seem to escape that these days. Except perhaps Shanghai... ;)
  6. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    How interesting to hear from a contributor who is not only an international educator but also a former pupil of one of our great COBIS schools. The place is flourishing, and goes neck-and-neck with the saintly outfit in terms of solidity, reputation and results, although you will have to dig deep in the respective web sites to find out who comes home with the bragging rights at Netball these days.
    Good to hear from someone who knows and loves the country and who thinks, on balance, that it will pull through. In May I will rub shoulders, at the conference freebie trough, with the head of your old place, Physallis, and I fully expect his sardonic Lancastrian accents to confirm this gritty picture of ordinary Greeks determined to see it through...
    In the mean time let us hope that the OP is reassured and gives Greece a go.
  7. Oooh SMT - it's nice to know that they're still doing well. In fact, my new Director (of my new job starting in July) was involved in the COBIS accreditation for my alma mater and must have visited when I was but a young whippersnapper there. Small world.
    I must say, I did have a wonderful time at that school (all 12 years of it) - it's what inspired me into this teaching lark. They were proper old-fashioned-British-Schools-overseas-days. The current Deputy Head is the best teacher I have ever had and was a real inspiration - regardless of the scary name. The current Head was great craic and was in charge when I was there. As was his wife in the primary/junior. As you say, I am sure the whole team there is backing the local team to pull one out of the hat in this added injury time.
    It's a long hard road but the Greeks are settling in for the long haul. Latest I heard was a terrific bartering system set up in Volos where you can trade services (minds out of the gutter ladies and gents) and products for IOU chits that you can use elsewhere. Some 800 people are involved and very little actual money changes hands these days - interesting times.
    I've come over all emotional. :) And increasingly curious as to your hidden identity!
    OP - If you want a school with a strong academic record and a decent approach to co- and extra-curricular activities then either of the two advertising would be good choices. They're not high pressure but they do set high expectations of their pupils. In a year group of say 40 6th form pupils we used to have anywhere between 5 and 10 go off to OxBridge, Imperial, LSE etc. And another 2-3 go off to top universities in the US.

    Off now to sell ice to Eskimos. And feta to the Greeks.
  8. Thank you both for the time and effort you put into your posts. I think it is time to escapeagain to Greece! I am hoping to visit for a long weekend this term (if I can get a decent flight) to get an idea myself, but sure enough I think I will give it a go (and make sure I register with the embassy so I can get rescued when civil war breaks out...)

    Thanks again - SMT dude, informative and humorous as ever!
  9. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

  10. Yep - that link of lovelylady's is still pretty accurate. Like SMT said, it depends on what you're looking for from the experience.

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