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Dr. Kassiani Kotsidou, Computer Science

New Computer Science teacher shares her educational background and the challenges she has faced so far.
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Dr. Kassiani Kotsidou PHOTO: Matteo Ventresca

New Computer Science teacher Dr. Kassiani Kotsidou came to the United States from Greece. Now, she’s engaged in teaching high schoolers how to program using Python and other coding languages.

She has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, and along the way, she fell in love with teaching.

“I have my first degree, my second degree, and my third degree all in electrical engineering,” Kotsidou said. “I got my first degree in Greece, I came here, got my master’s degree, and then I was working as a software engineer.”

While she was working on her doctorate, she discovered her passion for teaching, and began teaching at small regional institutions.

“Around the time that we were hit by COVID, I did substitute teaching. So I started to teach in a certificate program and I ended up here,” she said.

Kotsidou said that she loves teaching teenagers because it has many moral advantages.

“The thing I love is that you’re dealing with people,” she said. “In engineering, many times I like to be rough because you have to have your work done. But in teaching, since you’re dealing with people, you also improve your personal skills, not only your professional skills, which I like. I mean, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings.”

“In teaching, since you’re dealing with people, you also improve your personal skills, not only your professional skills, which I like. I mean, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings.”

— Dr. Kassani Kotsidou

The hardest challenge for Kotsidou was joining the Strath Haven community in the middle of the semester. She accepted the position after Mrs. Katie McLead departed for another position earlier this fall.

“For two weeks, I was quiet,” Kotsidou said. “I was letting the students continue whatever they were doing. But, after that, I tried to be more productive. I met a lot of opposition because you guys got to do whatever you used to do, and that was the most challenging.”

In her past teaching, due to her heavy Greek accent, she had some issues with students not understanding her completely. She is still finding the best ways to communicate clearly to her Strath Haven students.

“To combat the language barrier, I try to present a lot of information in writing,” Kotsidou said. “I try to have slides, and I encourage students if they don’t understand something. Sometimes, I use a text-to-speech editor so that what I want to say, you will hear it in a more natural language. Sometimes I play the words from the dictionary.”

Although it may sometimes be difficult to understand her when she talks, some students have expressed appreciation because it may help them in the future.

“If the students really want to understand there is a way, and some students told me that they do appreciate that I have an accent because it prepares them for the global market,” she said. “So it’s not all that bad.”

Kotsidou hopes to settle in and have the students get used to her teaching.

“[I look forward] to get acclimated with the environment, to have the students get used to my style of teaching because everyone has their own style of doing stuff,” she said. “That will improve both my life and the lives of the students and do something to push them. I think all the teachers are supposed to do that.”

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About the Contributor
Matteo Ventresca '25, Managing Editor of Print
Matteo Ventresca is the Managing Editor for Print for The Panther Press. In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing soccer, as well as playing the trombone.
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