Some teachers teach for a paycheck, others because they find something fulfilling within the job. Kassiani Nikolopoulou belongs to the latter. With a laid back attitude and a passion for her job, it’s easy to say she’s one of the “cool” teachers.
image credits : Study association Escape
The blue-eyed lecturer with the thick accent is of Greek descent and gives communication lectures at HogeSchool Utrecht in the Netherlands, but her journey in the communication world didn’t start there. Nikolopoulou studied Mass Media and Communications in Athens, Greece. Then moved on to do a masters in Media Culture at Maastricht University.
“It is important to understand my relationship with communications, I’ve been teaching organizational communications because I think the theory is interesting but I entered the world of communications because I wanted to write” She says. Outside of her work as a lecturer, the 33-year-old often writes articles for different platforms.
Change in education
The world of education is changing fast and there is no denying that technology had a lot to do with that. However, there seem to be another change on the horizon, one that maybe isn’t quite as positive. The communication professional says: “It is dangerous to treat education as a commodity. I see it everyday, especially in the Netherlands. In some way our students are also our clients, we want them to pick us and not other universities. However, at the end of the day you can’t buy a degree, you need to work for it. It is kind of like a gym membership, you pay for fitness but you have to go there and exercise everyday in order to achieve results. People don’t value education as much anymore, you can see it in the way they treat teachers”.
Nikolopoulou says that she does miss home sometimes, misses the food, the humor and speaking in her native tongue. However, teaching students that are often of a different cultural background than her isn’t a problem, it makes her job exciting. “I have no problem with teaching students that are not from my same cultural background. But I have noticed that it does cause friction between them, some cultures just have difficulties working with each other and they are all pushed into it” she states.
Teaching can be challenging, it has its difficult moments like any other job in the world however the rewards are endless. Nikolopoulou explains that there isn’t necessary one
moment that has been the greatest but more so, an endless amount of great moments that keep coming. “Every time a student I coached, graduates I feel like I’ve helped.
Knowing that the knowledge you give students will later on be used and passed unto others is also a great feeling. For us teachers a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. It means way more than what students imagine.”What does the future holds for this educator? More education of course! The very ambitious lady is thinking of doing a second masters.