Reactions to expansion of fish farms – Peak impacts on tourism

Maria Pateraki talks to us

Maria Pateraki is a computer science teacher since 2004, appointed to Galatas Junior High School since 2008.  She is the coordinator of the “Conflict Management through Peer Mediation” program since 2019, at Galatas Junior High School. She is also the owner and administrator of the “School Peer Mediation” website, that provides information and educational material on peer mediation in Greek. She was the coordinator of the Thematic Week program and has translated and designed educational materials relevant to gender identities which have been approved by the Ministry of Education and the Institute of Educational Policy. 

She has received trainings on Children’s Rights and Childhood, Bullying and Sex Education through programs of Greek universities. On a voluntary basis, she translates lesson plans and information for parents/guardians on sex education into Greek, from relevant websites. She has participated in the European program “Gender Equality Matters”, about teachers’ and children’s training on gender-based violence issues. 

She is instructor in the “Internet Safety” seminar organized by Katheti. Maria Pateraki talks to us about her work and education.  

Tell us about your work. I teach subjects related to computer science and computer use at Galatas Junior High School and at other local schools. I have always been interested in education and this is the reason why my job has been a conscious choice.   What is your relationship with the local area? I do not come from this area. I first came here 13 years ago, when I was hired at a local school. I have always been keen on living in the countryside because it suits me better than a city. After all those years that I have been here, I feel this place to be an integral part of my life and I always admire its natural beauty.   How has crisis affected your work and your life and how do you deal with it? At a personal level, I didn’t need to make any significant changes because of the economic crisis. I think I adapted easily to that. On the other hand, fund inflow for education was remarkably reduced and this has had unpleasant consequences. Thus, we have to deal with building issues and lack of equipment and means which would facilitate education as a whole. When it comes to my teaching subject, I try to do my best with the means available at school and I always try to maintain the equipment in a functional condition. At the beginning of each school year, I take enough care to inform kids about the lack of equipment and I encourage them to use the materials properly. Kids understand and they try to do their best, too.   Which of your knowledge and personality traits have been most useful to you in your professional life? My knowledge is limited to my teaching subject. My pedagogical background is based on the training courses I try to attend, as well as on the people-centered values which represent me. If we want a better society, we should trust and empower children and young people; we should provide them with different experiences, teach them step-by-step how to be responsible for themselves, and treat them equally. We should provide them with the opportunity to understand that they are members of the same society like us, adults, in order to let them become able to be the change they would like to see in this very society. I try to communicate these feelings in a fruitful way both for the kids and me, even when I get angry or disappointed. As an educator, it is always important to me to believe in future generations and to trust young people. Concerning my teaching subject, my constant contact with internet’s reality and the issues that emerge through its development sensitize me to give great emphasis to its responsible use by children. Without demonization and idealization, we look at how we can all become responsible digital citizens.    Is there an aspect of your personality or anything related to how you work that would like to improve? What are your weaknesses and how have they influenced you? I would very much like to look at the future of education and consequently, the future of the Greek society, in a more optimistic way. When it comes to my job, I would like to succeed in acquiring more pedagogical knowledge and tools so as to be more efficient in managing day-to-day issues.   Is there anything you would do differently? What do you consider as a right step in your career? I am not sure that there is the opportunity for somebody to do things differently in public education. It is a field which is controlled by a firm set of rules and there is no flexibility. For instance, if a teacher wishes to talk about social or environmental issues in their lesson, they will have to connect these issues with their teaching subject – this is not something any teacher can do. There is only one thing I am fairly sure I have properly done this is the fact that I have never stopped believing that we can do something better and I have worked for that.   What piece of advice would you give to a young person who would like to do what you do? Maybe deeply explore their motivation in the first place and the reasons why they would like to work in education. It has been supported that working in education is easy and relaxing, as there are many breaks. This can be a motive itself for some people. However, I am of the opinion that daily life in a class and the responsibilities the teachers bear are factors a person should take into account.   What are your plans for the future, short-term and long-term ones? In this school year, we are going to try and introduce Peer Mediation in Galatas Junior High School through the Health Education program approved by the Institute of Educational Policy. Peer Mediation is the way in which students can resolve their everyday conflicts in a peaceful and not punitive manner. Students have the option to come to an agreement on their own, only with the guidance of their trained classmates and without any adult intervening. Thus, they gradually develop good listening skills, they learn how to be objective, they acquire communication skills and they strengthen their empathy. These skills become an integral part of their personality and turn out to be useful in their social life in general and later, in their career. Last school year, Katheti gave the opportunity to both teachers and students from the local area to attend free training seminars on Peer Mediation. Eleven students who study at Galatas Junior High School were trained on Peer Mediation, along with two substitute teachers who will not be able to join our common effort due to their being transferred to other schools. Both the students and I strongly support developing this culture to resolve disputes and simple conflicts and we hope it gets established in the long run. n addition, after being scientifically and adequately trained, I would like to undertake Comprehensive Sex Education programs in the school where I belong. These programs are also taught as part of the Health Education programs, they are designed based on the UNESCO technical guide and they can offer young people knowledge and skills so that they can develop healthy sexuality and be able to make responsible decisions for themselves and others.      Why is it important to apply peer mediation in your school? It is useful to any individual to be able to solve a problem on their own, to recognize and take responsibility of their actions and of what they say. If there is no one to teach us this skill and if we do not have the opportunity to practice it, we keep on turning to known and tested practices. In other words, we avoid taking responsibility, we use an aggressive, humiliating, and offensive tone or we become physically violent. Therefore, we do not learn to get in touch with our feelings and as we grow up we may feel being mistreated or angry all the time. When we learn to listen to how others feel, to express our feelings and to respect the rules of having a dialogue, we become better listeners, we develop empathy and we get rid of our own negativity. We learn how to take enough care in finding a solution that will enable all of us to coexist without necessarily being friends.  This is true both for kids and adults. The tools provided to underage and adult persons through peer mediation are tools we can use in our daily life in many different contexts, like in our family, social or professional life. Apart from academic qualifications, getting hired in today’s world requires more skills; being a young mediator at school can be a skill one can include in their CV. Mediation can help resolving any issue apart from bullying or racist and gender violence incidents. Mediation mostly deals with everyday disagreements and misunderstandings among students. It is important to clarify that the existence of a peer mediation program at a school does not mean that students are obliged to take advantage of it: this should happen only when students want it to happen and in case they believe it is the best answer to their problem.   What have you learnt through your work in peer mediation? I would like to point out what I believe is the core of all this process: the will to resolve a conflict in the best possible way. It sounds so simple, but in fact it takes work, maturity and responsibility. We say that we care and that we want to help many times, but this is something each one of us perceives in their own way. This results in each person contributing with their own solution, trying to persuade others that this is the right solution for them, too. Mediation teaches us to care and give others space to find their own solutions to their problems or a strategy they will commonly decide it will work well with them. Having discovered this, I try to better control the way I contribute to solving the problems others face.   Short bio Maria Pateraki has been working as an educator since 2005 and since 2016 she has been the coordinator of the Thematic Week Programme at the Junior High School of Galatas. In the first year of the introduction of the Thematic Week at schools, she organised a training seminar for parents and guardians in relation to the Addictions and Gender Identities sections of the Thematic Week in collaboration with the Parents and Guardians Association. She has translated and designed educational materials relevant to gender identities which have been approved by the Ministry of Education and the Institute of Educational Policy.
Previous Article
Testimonials for Katheti’s activities for 2018-2019
11 September 2019
Next Article
School of Educators: What is it?
30 October 2019

Recent Posts

29 September 2023

Sport is an activity that develops body and mind equally. Through sport, our youth learn new skills and socialize, creating friendships and partnerships in an environment of healthy competition.

29 August 2023

A look back at Poros Arts Festival 2023. This summer, the Poros Arts Festival was spread all over the island.

Resources about fish farms featured image
29 July 2023

An innovative information tool which brings together data, research, videos and articles about industrial fish farming.

24 July 2023

Fishing for Profits: Aquaculture company meeting resistance from local communities in Greece and Spain.

27 June 2023

An innovative digital events calendar that covers the area of Poros, Troizinia and Methana. The calendar informs locals and visitors about planned events related to culture, education, sports, etc, in Greek and in English.

01 June 2023

A number of enlightened countries have already banned industrial fish farms in open marine net pens such as those on Poros.

winetasting-featured-image
27 April 2023

The wine routes in our area have existed since antiquity. Nowadays, wine remains a popular drink and an important agricultural product.

poros trails
26 April 2023

Poros trails bring us in contact with the pine forest and the untouched natural environment of the island.

performing arts
02 December 2022

The creative work of people in this area is our identity. So, let’s take a taste of the local performing arts.

kyouka
03 November 2022

“KYUKA” is a modern life-story movie about a family sailing to Poros for their summer vacation.

sundesmos-troizinioi
28 February 2022

The Association of Troizinians living in Athens and Piraeus was founded in 1895, is based in Piraeus and has many events to its credit.

agios dimitrios
26 January 2022

The byzantine chapel of Agios Dimitrios in Methana was built at the edge of the lava, circa the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century and hides a lot of mysteries. 

sillogos poriotissa
25 January 2022

The variety of customs reflects the particular character of each small society and composes a larger, colorful, multivalent image, that of culture. Knowledge of our traditions and history shapes our future common course as a community. This is the reason why Katheti supports all those people who strengthen with their actions the local cultural life and keep our cultural heritage alive. One such example is the Cultural Association of Poros Women “Poriotissa”. 

oi-filoi-tis-paradosis
23 December 2021

The Cultural Association of Galatas “Friends of Tradition” was founded with the aim of promoting the area of Galatas and preserving the tradition and history of the area. 

volunteering
25 October 2021

Volunteering means compassion and care. It creates friendships and helps us achieve multifaceted personal development.

olive tree
01 October 2021

We live in an area that can be described as land of the olive tree. An area with awards and tradition in the production of excellent quality olive oil.

Hiking trails of Poros, Troizhnia and Methana
28 May 2021

The hiking trails of Poros, Troizinia and Methana unfold in a place with special geography and variety of landscape.

27 April 2021

Our region, has an idyllic landscape and tradition in fishing and tourism. What better than a fishing trip with the Saronic Gulf as a view!

feature image Voluntary Fire Unit of Poros
24 March 2021

The altruism of these people preserves our right to live safer.

22 January 2021

Handmade creations combine knowledge and traditional techniques with modern aesthetics to produce functional, useful products and serve practical needs. Local artisans have a two-way relationship with the area in which they live.

21 December 2020

Sustainable tourism, which respects people, the environment and culture, is ideal for this blessed place. This is the belief of Ec(h)o, the local team of Project Resound, a social design organization, which uses its creative skills to bring a positive change in the world.

24 November 2020

What better gift than a book? Katheti compiled in one article all books with a local flavor we managed to discover and we present them to you.

29 October 2020

Some say that people resemble the place they come from. In order to discover the area, its beauty and specificities, the most suitable way is through a gastronomic adventure. The local products and producers are going to reveal surprising hidden treasures, by giving us a glimpse of the Saronic Gulf’s charm.

30 September 2020

Katheti visited the space of the association “Cultural Action of Troizina” at the Municipal Office of Troizina.

28 May 2024

This summer, Pounta will be adorned with a tapestry of photographic landscapes. iFocus.gr in collaboration with Katheti is organizing the 1st Poros Photography Festival and invites you all to participate.

10 May 2024

Seas of Change welcomed on Poros 80 representatives from over 50 organizations in 14 countries and 4 continents.

10 May 2024

Katheti Summer Arts 2024 is a celebration of culture and artistic expression. From May to September, Poros will be full of artistic events!