An ongoing discussion about the importance of maintaining Greek culture and language for future generations has circulated throughout Melbourne’s Greek community. The discussion has led the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) to develop a mentoring program to assist teachers currently employed in GCM Greek schools.

The GCM program targets recently graduated VCE Greek students who have an interest in the study of the Greek language or are studying teaching at a tertiary level. After intensive training on teaching styles, classroom management, and curriculum planning, the participants then enter the Greek classroom as assistant teachers. Their role is to act as extra support for teachers and to focus on students who require more personal one-on-one learning. Having an extra hand to help in the classroom further supports the current student engagement and learning methodologies in GCM schools.

The program was developed by VCE Greek teacher Kristian Raspa. Launched in 2022 the program will continue this year with a new group of assistant teachers.

I joined the program last year and gained insight into the efforts teachers make to ensure all elements of the Greek language and culture are present in the classroom. After being a student at Greek school for 12 years and the recipient of the teachings of the dedicated GCM staff, I am now privileged to work alongside them and support the Greek community. Parents have spoken of the positive benefits of the program and appreciate the extra help provided by the assistant teachers in the classroom.

When asked about the idea behind the program, Kristian Raspa said that the “idea originated from our ongoing effort to maintain, strengthen, and promote the Greek language and culture in Australia.” Kristian identifies the arrival of the program as a turning point and a way to “plan for the next generation of language educators who will be tasked with the duty, responsibility, privilege, and joy of teaching the Greek language and culture.”

The program’s implementation hopes to further build staff numbers so Greek schools can continue to flourish and give the next generation of Greek students in Melbourne the opportunity to embrace the Greek language and culture.

* Christina Savopoulos took part in the program in 2022.