Celebrating
a centenary
of Learning

  • 107
  • by Effrosyni Stamatopoulou
  • graduated 2009
  • studied MEd in Psychology of Education
  • from Greece

The journey that led me to discover the kind of teacher I always wanted to be.

I obtained my first degree in Primary Education at the University of Athens, Greece. Then I studied at the Graduate School of Education (GSoE) in Bristol for my Master’s in Psychology of Education in 2009. During my first degree I felt the need to know more about children and their development. I thought that I needed to study further before going into a classroom. Although I had some basic knowledge of child psychology and developmental psychology, it wasn’t enough for me. I didn’t feel that I could offer the best I could to my future pupils. So, I started looking for a Master’s degree that could offer me the answers to my questions. Additionally, at that time I was thinking of becoming a psychologist, as well. This course, as a conversion course accredited by the British Psychological Society, was the perfect one for me.

Even though I was accepted by other universities, some very famous in the educational sector, I chose the University of Bristol. It gave me the confidence that I would get the quality of study that I was looking for. I also needed a department that would be research oriented and not only theoretical. This is exactly what I found at the University of Bristol; studies with high quality and wonderfully supportive academic and administration staff. I was lucky to have as tutor and supervisor Dr Sara Meadows. She helped me to develop my critical thinking, which I hadn’t cultivated due to the type of education I had received in my country. In addition she was extremely supportive not only throughout the course but after its completion. I am grateful for everything she did for me. Also, the city of Bristol is still the perfect place to live. It is big enough to offer everything you need and at the same time small enough to give the feeling that it is a cosy and peaceful city. I really hope that I can return there someday.

My study at Bristol influenced my career a lot. After the completion of my studies I returned to my country, Greece, and I started working in a private primary school. The knowledge I had obtained during my Master’s degree was internalized and helped me to have the best possible reactions towards my pupils. Teaching is a very difficult profession. Crises might occur in a blink of an eye and the teacher’s reaction must be the best possible. A teacher’s action can influence a child for a lifetime. So, my studies gave me the tools to create a good environment for my pupils. Additionally, the fact that the University is research oriented helped me to constantly question and improve my teaching methods. It led me to always search for the best. So, when I applied and started my training course as a Montessori teacher, all the knowledge I gained during my Master’s was once again extremely helpful.

I think that my proudest achievement since my studies was to come to the UK again in February 2013 to get my training as a Montessori teacher at the Maria Montessori Institute. I wanted to learn more; I wanted to become a teacher whose daily practice could be even more relevant to the values I gained from my studies. So, in the middle of the financial crisis in my country, despite the fact I had a very good job, where I received love from my pupils, their parents and my colleagues, I found the strength to leave and pursue my dream.