Number one for English language teachers

Maria Alamanou

At the time of writing this diary, Maria Alamanou owned and ran a private FL school in Athens, Greece, where she also taught full time.

My name is Maria Alamanou. I own and run a private FL school in Athens, Greece, where I also teach full time. When I started out seven years ago, I only taught English as a Foreign Language. French courses followed the next year. This year saw the introduction of two more European languages: German and Italian. So, apart from my many administrative responsibilities – along with a home and a ten-year-old son – I have loaded myself with the extra tasks of Course Director in four different languages, schedule coordinator, PR officer and a whole lot more that you can only begin to imagine. It is a one-woman show, but I am not complaining.

Related articles

  • Friday 15th October: A difficult day

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    I can’t believe it’s 7.30 already. My son’s yelps leave no room for doubt. Some thing or other to the effect that he is going to be late for school again. AGAIN? I spring up, out of bed and into the kitchen, groping my way along. Something feels wrong and it’s not the usual, familiar, cosy drowsiness that I’ve grown so close to lately. Well, no time to fret over it whatever it is. Two gulps of strong coffee and there I am, behind the wheel, driving my son to school.

  • Tuesday 30th November: Phrasal verb stupor

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    Language problems today! It was one of those days in class, when nobody feels like doing much and everybody seems to have at least one thing in mind they would rather do than sit at a desk and toil away over the differences between first and second conditionals. But grammar wasn’t really much of a hassle. At least, it wasn’t worse than usual. The real trouble showed up as soon as vocabulary work came into sight.

  • Friday 29th October: All the hours of the week

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    My days seem to have developed a knack for repeating themselves lately. No sooner have I managed to crawl out of bed in the morning than it’s bedtime again. All the hours in between are spent teaching, correcting, preparing handouts and, of course, solving a variety of apparently insoluble problems. But the nights are all mine! What’s left of them anyway.

  • Wednesday 15th December: End of term progress reports

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    Dear Diary,

  • Saturday 1st January: My other life

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    As the year drew to a close, I was found wondering, as I sometimes do, what I could be if not a teacher. Maybe a life-long student, living on my father’s pension and painting the town red every other night? Sounds promising but no way! I hated being a student! I can still remember crying myself to sleep every Sunday evening at the mere thought of having to wake up to another school-week. When I go by the secondary school where I used to study, painful memories of miserable ...

  • Saturday 15th January: Christmas events

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    Dear Diary,

  • Tuesday 25th January: To translate or not to translate

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    Today I am in one of those bizarre existentialistic moods I usually fall into for no apparent reason. My friends and family, indeed even my colleagues and students, all of whom know me too well for their own good, have grown used to such traits by now and scarcely pay attention, knowing that they will soon blow over. But this is different; it’s persistent and vexing. I’ve been going around all day murmuring: ‘To translate or not to translate?’ My loyal assistant, Clare, has opened up ...

  • Tuesday 15th February: Confessions

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    I have a confession to make: I envy those of my colleagues who seem to never have encountered any classroom management problems. I wonder how they do it! Are they so disciplined themselves that they manage to get this discipline through to a bunch of youngsters who are restless and unruly by nature or are they lucky enough to be only teaching ‘tame’ groups? They won’t tell me, of course, because, if they did, they’d be giving their professional secrets away. But if you ask me, the ‘tame’ ...

  • Tuesday 15th March: Unmasking the fox

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    I hope you and all of my esteemed colleagues and competitors have never lost yourselves in a maze of activity as I have for the past couple of weeks! This year, second-term testing and grading happened to overlap Carnival-time festivities and it’s been a struggle trying to hold things together. But, strange though it may sound, this is not why I’ve been urged to write. The reason I’m writing this entry is none other than to share a bit of my despondency with you, treasured Diary, thus ...

  • Thursday 31st March: Grammar

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    Dear Diary,

  • Friday 15th April: Professional development

    Author: Maria Alamanou Type: Reference material

    Dear Diary, This week’s entry focuses on Continuing Professional Development (CPD), in honour of a recent hilarious experience I have had. You must be wondering how anything as serious as CPD can be laughed about. Well, you know me; I can sniff out an opportunity for a good laugh anywhere! But I’ll try and be serious for the sake of comprehension. We begin with the premise that teachers are a rare breed of people, dynamically evolutionary by nature, or at least they should ...

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