DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
Schools in Greece start at the mid of September. It was my 3rd year in the Xth school of Patras and I was again teaching maths in the 3rd class. In the end of October, a young girl from Albania arrived in the classroom. It was her first year in Greece, despite the fact that her father was almost 10 years in Patras. She had finished the primary school in Tirana and the whole family decided to get to Greece permanently. So she had to move in Greece where her father was working.
Asli was a clever girl. The first 2 weeks was not really participating but she looked at the board and keep on getting notes on the things mentioned. I tried not to disturb her so much until she get quite comfortable with the rest of the class and the students.
She knew a few things in English, but her Greek were really in an early stage of understanding. Early enough, I realized that her math background was really good. Whenever I tried to explain a classwork in English, she was the one that provided the answer, but using something between in Albanian and English. She was feeling quite well after her correct answer, but still miserable since nobody in the classroom (except me, maybe), could understand the solution. Despite the fact that I tried hard to explain potential problems to her, the rest of the classroom seemed to feel annoyed by such a delay. And I had to stop doing it so much.
I decided to talk to the headmaster, since it was obvious that the problem with Asli, was just a problem with the language.
The Headmaster decided to discuss the situation with the board of parents. During this discussion, the representatives of the parents looked at that problem with the proper care. Asli was really a nice girl, and the rest of the classroom really liked her. Some of the kids had already spoken to their families for her.
The board of parents decided to take personal actions for the situation. Twice a week, 3 of them were selected and made private courses and discussions in Greek and English with Asli.
Asli’s family could not spend more time with her, since both of them were really hard workers. After 3 months, Asli could better express herself in Greek and she could easily communicate in Greek in different courses. The whole classroom was really satisfied and I think that this is a success story for our school.
The integration of immigrants in normal school practice is a difficult process. The situation presented seems to be a common situation in different Greek schools. Despite the fact that a teacher can easily view the problem, in most times, he is not having the proper resources (time, money and effort) to spend on the solution. The school reacted in a very efficient way. The whole environment (student->parents->headmaster->parents->Asli) worked very close together in a simple solution.
The board of parents in a school is part of the educational process. It can be used wisely in order to produce specific results to the school community.