Friday, October 13, 2006

Investing in education - frontisterio style

For those of you unfamiliar with EFL/ESL language teaching in Greece a frontisterio (φροντιστηριο) is a private language school that teaches foreign languages. Most neighbourhoods have at least one and indeed the vast majority of school kids attend such a school in order to prepare for language examinations such as the FCE and CPE.

I just got an email from a friend that lays out the kind of pay scale that frontisteria follow for their teachers. It makes for depressing reading as the money you get per hour (and most teachers here are paid per hour) is between 8.5 and 13 euros. That is 13 euros if you have 23 years of experience, are married with kids and have a masters and PHD!!!! To add insult to injury this number is what we get before IKA deductions.

If you wish to improve yourself and obtain a masters then you're entitled to the grand sum of 26 cents (18 pence) per hour extra. At this point I'd like to take this opportunity to remind the school owners of a fine English idiom;



If you have a kid going to such a school or indeed you yourself are attending lessons, then just think about how much of your money is going to the person who's actually teaching and how much is going towards the boss's summer home at the beach.

By the way, if you're still wondering why your kids' teachers are always leaving , it's always cheaper to hire someone younger and less experienced then keep a person who has actually learnt to do their job properly.


Anonymous said...

Oh, how right you are....I also have a doctorate, masters, and am a certified communication disorders specialist. When I worked privately, for the huge sum of 15 euros/hour for really wealthy families, I asked, "Do you want me to teach your children English, or do you want your children to learn English?" Within one month, those kids (3 and 5 years old) were speaking English in 15 word sentences. Yet, they haggled over my fee. When I worked in frontisteria, I made much less, probably 9 euros/hour. Because I am a foreigner, the woman who owned the place (isn't it always a woman? What, do they have to prove they have accomplished something and then treat their teachers as something less than they deserve?)was mistrusting and frequently came into my room to observe my methods. Despite the gains her students made, she was always complaining about my work - jealousy perhaps? Work in frontisteria is expendable, we are easily replaceable, and underappreciated. These female frontistiria owners have a real problem.

teacher dude said...

Been there, done that. I realised at one point in one frontiserio that the more I put into my lessons, the more paranoid the owners became. It was as if they were afraid I would take over. A crazy notion as the school belonged to them.

This system can no more handle great teachers than a Macdonalds can deal with a classically trained chef. It is predicated on mediocrity and expendability.