Across the global Greek diaspora people love or hate Greek school, but most of them have attended it and will probably send their children as well. We asked a current student from London, Stephanos Stephanou, to share his experience being enrolled in Greek school. He concluded with a question: Has Greek School shaped who you are as a person today?
Greek school. A time which can be a nightmare, or a time of joy for many Greek children. Some argue that “I will never need it for when I’m older” or “I don’t like going Greek school on a Saturday”. But surprisingly enough to many people, in London, this is a completely different story…
That is because many of us Greek’s in London adore the fact that we have the opportunity to socialize with the people of our kind, and make friends for the future whilst learning about our amazing culture. I myself consider it as a “break” from the normal day to day going of our normal English school which can be frustrating, as more pressure is put on you than in comparison to Greek school. I’m not saying that we have our legs up and have a continuous laugh, nor do we have our teacher running around the classroom with a wooden spoon shouting “Do your work”, but we are just in the middle. We have our laughs and we produce the grades, but most of all “we enjoy it!”
I asked two Greek school pupils about their views on Greek school and if they enjoyed it, and these are some answers I received.” I never really had the option to go to Greek school, my parents forced me. But looking at it now, it was definitely worth it” said Angelina Yianni.
Another reply was “Eh, 12 years of my life for this? I see the benefit, but its very time consuming, especially now in A level,” said by Andreas Komodikis.
Both replies seem very different, but they share one thing in common. And that is their understanding of the benefits that Greek school can give to you in life. You may think that 3 hours on a Friday and Saturday of Greek School sounds painful. But to learn your culture from every angle, from dancing to singing, to ancient philosophy.
Our community is strong. That is why Greek school in particular plays a major role in keeping us all together, as one, to ensure that we don’t lose that special thing that was given to us that is being Greek. We attend Greek school, we go to every dancing lesson after school if needed too, but we recognize that if a few of us don’t make an attempt to keep our culture and community strong, we will lose it in time, along with our language, cooking methods, and even our fabulous dancing that is pure “Zorba the Greek” standard.
Our parents don’t push, but whenever we put down Greek school, they just say “imagine if you weren’t Greek?”, along with the guilt ridden speech that my father gives me , followed by the lecture that can possibly lead to the most random things about Greece, our parents make sure we don’t lose that special thing inside us.
So we play our role. We do what we believe needs to be done to keep our culture going, and that has mainly evolved around our Greek school and how its gives us the chance to learn more about our Greek roots. Love it, or hate it, keep your views and experiences of Greek school in mind, because it probably made part of who you are today.
I’ve been going to Greek school for 12 years and still love every lesson as the first, but the real question is “Has Greek School shaped who you are as a person today?”