GREECE: A young teacher in a village of 500 inhabitants transformed the school into a paradise for children
The teacher referred to his award, the work of teachers and the first days he was appointed to the Primary School of Vorizia.
The award for the best teacher of the year at the Education Leaders Awards was given to Mr. Haris Georgiakakis, who works at Vorizion Primary School in Heraklion. The teacher gave an interview to Zarpa Radio 89,6, where he spoke about his award, the work of teachers and the first days he was appointed to the Vorizion Primary School.
The interview of Haris Georgiakakis:
"I admit that I did not expect this award, it was something unexpected for me. This title is very honorable, but in no way am I seduced by it. Besides, I really believe that throughout Greece, in every remote corner of our country, there are teachers who deserve this title.
Their work may not have been highlighted through a competition but they give their best and give their best every day. I believe that the teachers - especially in the last two years - gave their souls to support the children under these difficult and unprecedented conditions of remote education.
It was something we were not used to and yet the teachers responded to a very large extent. I believe that there are remarkable colleagues all over Greece who support public education and produce work that is worthy of many awards, who teach in very remote areas under difficult conditions and who try to make the lives of students better, to open new horizons and to help them go one step further"
Mr. Georgiakakis works at Vorizi Primary School, a three-seater school which this year had 30 students in all classes and needs at least three more teachers to be properly staffed.
Vorizia is a small village in the southern foothills of Psiloritis, 53 kilometers from Heraklion and 25 from Moiras. He lives in Heraklion, therefore he makes this route every day: "For the last two to three years there has been the new road of Messara, but unfortunately this year it was damaged and closed.
So the distance increased and it is done again by an old ring road, which is not the best. Coupled with the increase in fuel you understand that commuting is difficult, especially this last year. It is something that discourages colleagues who hardly choose it.
The difficulties faced by the teacher
"Like all rural schools, if there is no stability in the staff, situations of mobility are created which do not help the educational process. It would be good to have stable staff as much as possible so that educational work can be produced" says Mr. Georgiakakis who referred to the problems he faced:
"When I was in Vorizia about 5 years ago, there was neglect not only in the building and the yard, but also in general. I first started the effort to shape a beautiful building complex, to repair the damages, to paint, to make the courtyard area beautiful and little by little, allocating a lot of personal time, in cooperation with the local community and the municipal authority, the interventions were made.
A beautiful space was created and from then on every year together with the colleagues who came, we implemented something different. Also, issues of equal opportunities are created, as there were inequalities that had to be mitigated through the educational process. The children don't have an IT teacher, they don't have art, they don't do music, they don't do foreign languages.
The way the syllabus is structured in the minors, there are not easily teachers of specialties, so this part "falls" to the teachers who try to cover it. The problem of unequal opportunities was also the reason I wanted to serve there. I saw this situation and thought that these children should definitely be helped", said the teacher Haris Georgiakakis.
The actions carried out by the teacher
"Through various actions we implemented and through some programs we took part in, we tried to somehow fill this gap. We got equipment, organized a library, on International Day of People with Disabilities I showed them sign language, on World Book Day everyone wrote about their book, they learned how to study an electronic book"
"We saw that year after year, the children reacted better and better initially because there was a stable staff. They also began to perceive things beyond their cultural context, which is agrarian. They started to have presentations about things that they don't often come across in their daily lives, to be concerned and act more independently compared to the students in the cities, for example, on topics such as IT, the environment, love of reading, etc. In general, they received more and more stimuli that the region did not can give them directly"