NAME: Ioanna Pigi
BACKGROUND: University Degree
POSITION: Teaching Advisor
ORGANIZATION: Public Education Committee (She retired in 2014)
My Background and Career
I had many different jobs while still at university and up until my appointment as a teacher in a state secondary school. I have been teaching in state secondary schools, both junior and senior forms, since 1990. During this time, I worked at ten different schools, either by choice or because I had to. I launched many extra-curricular activities, volunteer work and community service programmes in the schools where I worked. I took the initiative to organize and coordinate a network of schools in line with a European project, which nobody offered to undertake for fear of failure. I held the position for a year after which I chose to resign. Taking part in a further education – career counseling and school vocational guidance programme at Panteion University, something which my children encouraged me to do despite the fact that my daughter was sitting the Greek national examinations at the time. Taking up the position of the person in charge in a school vocational guidance centre of a senior secondary school after having the head teacher’s encouragement and trust in my skills and abilities. Successfully organising educational outings and collecting books for the library as well as clothes and food for families.
Which kind of problems did you have to overcome to be where you are today?
Financial: Lack of money to buy books and teaching materials and attend seminars; further education is too expensive to pursue, does not add to one’s salary and is not taken advantage of by the work environment or the State.
Family: Family complaints about the extra time spent in the school, seminars, non-school related programmes and parents and pupils meetings
Personal: Work exhaustion; my job is highly demanding, but little rewarding mentally. Physical tiredness and stress; lack of good partners No reward from the State; no recognition from the majority of pupils; very slow change in the pupils’ attitude to volunteering and voluntary participation in activities
Being a woman has often led pupils to be more disrespectful and defiant, show bad behaviour and make inappropriate comments about my height or my car. In addition, some colleagues of mine reckoned that I would fail to deal with difficult cases in an effective way. Luckily, I proved them wrong.
Among my competences: I am a good communicator. I like partnership building. My own personal development through my work is important. In case of arguments I look for peaceful solutions. I like to negotiate and that everybody end up satisfied. I coordinate and motivate the staff. I schedule activities and organise myself easily. I solve problems and I find solutions. I like to have objectives and to reach my goals. I am able to quickly make up my mind. I am able to use one’s experience and advice.
Among my qualities I’m active, talkative, critical, optimistic, tense and patient
Hints & Tips
My lucky words are: Every cloud has a silver lining. As one door closes, another door opens. Any skill you learn will come in handy if a rainy day comes your way. Live and learn!
My inspiration is my father, who always worked towards a solution to every single problem arising and, even when he did not know how to approach it, he never gave up and always came up with a way out in the end. Positive or negative experiences, both at school and university, guided me as to what I should improve or avoid. My teachers who further cultivated my love of learning. Traumatic childhood experiences due to what my parents and grandmother had to go through
My advice to other women: Study yourself thoroughly and trust in the competence you have or can develop. Don’t let colleagues’ opinions disappoint you or have a negative effect on you. They might want to hamper your progress or fear your future success. Act on information you have checked and is offered by professionals who love their job. Search in you and discover your strength, courage, fighting spirit, persistence, patience and ability to accept criticism and face your mistakes. Nobody was born perfect and we cannot be perfect, either. We all learn from our mistakes. Try what is different and unfamiliar and take on responsibility Develop skills you lack and sharpen those you already have. Be optimistic and love yourself first, then what you do.