Experts at NCC: Eleni Alexandrou

Experts at NCC: Eleni Alexandrou

What subject do you teach?

I currently teach on the Teacher Education Programme, therefore teaching and training our future educators! Before this, I taught Catering and Hospitality, as well as a variety of enrichment courses.

Why is your subject relevant?

There is a need for good teachers at all levels, in all subjects and vocational practices. It’s a huge responsibility meeting the curriculum requirements and linking pedagogical theory to the practicalities of teaching in a classroom, not forgetting the diverseness of students too. I see my ongoing role, as a teaching and mentoring one. My aim is to equip trainee teachers to not only negotiate the challenges of teaching but to also celebrate the joy of students’ achievements.

What’s the best thing about teaching?

For me it’s a very short and simple answer, you can make a positive impact on someone’s learning journey. There is nothing more satisfying than to help your students develop their study skills and for it to have a positive impact on their learning journeys, whether in a classroom or a practical workshop.

How did you get into teaching?

Just by luck if I’m honest, but I always wanted to teach at some point in my working life, I was just waiting for the right time and opportunity.

I pursued a career in the private sector, then a few years later I met a Catering and Hospitality curriculum manager, and we got talking about teaching. I took on some voluntary teaching hours at this college and I loved it. As crazy as this may sound, I decided to take a pay cut, embark on a teacher training programme in exchange for a teaching career.

What is it like to work at New City College?

I work in an environment with a great team of teachers that are as keen and as passionate as I am in wanting to share good teaching, learning and assessment practice. In my opinion the caring and sharing approach is the only way forward in our own CPD journeys. I am happy that NCC has given me the opportunity to demonstrate this on a daily basis.


What advice would you give to an early career teacher?

Starting your first teaching job is both exciting and daunting. Time management and being organised are essential skills to develop in your first year if you have any hope of coping with the workload and avoiding burnout. You need to plan your time to be used effectively, but also plan how you will relax outside of work. It is very important to liaise with your team and manager to look at the curriculum overview and to set expectations. Finally, think big but plan small, make it fun for you and the students.

What has been your biggest teaching challenge?

Being a teacher takes patience, dedication, passion, and the ability to do more with less with an ever changing and diverse classroom of students. It is a journey often filled with unexpected situations and the need to juggle many balls at one time. The biggest challenge is to deal with this in a calm manner, you will always learn from the experience no matter how great the challenge.

What has been your biggest achievement?

I struggled at school, and I had to overcome many personal obstacles before I gained confidence to pass exams. Inspirational teachers allowed me to grow and develop with relevant praise, developmental feedback and opportunities to blossom. This encouraged me to work very hard in other subjects, pass my exams, and to go on to further and higher education. I lost count of the times I felt like giving up, the fact that I didn’t, I believe is the biggest achievement of my learning journey.

Who has inspired you the most?

I have been fortunate to have had three people who have inspired me in education. Two were teachers at secondary school, one taught Physical Education and the other Food Technology. It was the encouragement to succeed and achieve without having to write an assignment, get my spelling checked or the need to explain myself. It was, instead it was leading on the hockey field, netball court, or the food technology kitchen and learning from these practical pursuits. It’s why I am a firm believer in a holistic learning journey and why soft skills are the solid foundations of lifelong learning skills. It’s important to keep the under achiever on your radar, to present them with the right tools, correct words of encouragement and opportunities to prove to themselves they can achieve their full potential, whatever the situation or learning ability. The third person is a manager that I worked under during my teacher training days, he is now the Dean of Higher Education at NCC College. He was, and still is, a role model on how to work in a professional manner. He has taught me the skill of active listening and not to pre-judge situations. Active listening is key to good working relationships, and it’s also to successful teaching. Without actively listening to the learner voice, we have no active learning, it becomes just a process that is forgotten instead of a lasting good memory.