Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Trip Down the Memory Lane…

Soviet School - First Grade

Hi, Mom and Dad! Remember this? My first day of school back home in Minsk so many years ago. The topic of September carnival for multicultural kid bloggers is Schools of the World, and I wanted to share my warm memories of my own school experiences. I totally date myself here, but I went to school when Soviet Union still existed as one country. In fact, I graduated from high school in the year when Perestroika started and Chernobyl disaster rained radioactive junk on my city and my country of Belarus, but I digress…

Ten ways Soviet Schools were different

Soviet Union - First Grade
  • 1. There was only one kind of school – public school. The idea of homeschooling simply didn’t expect in the country where women were not expected to stay home with their children.
  • 2. School started at 7 and went on for 10 years at the time. By the end of the third grade we were on the level of 6th grade here, so the program was more intense.
  • 3. We had 6 days of school, not 5. Summer vacation was exactly 3 months, and all huge country went back to school on exactly same day – September 1.
  • 4. Class sizes were higher, and so were discipline expectations. My smallest class size in high school was 38 students.
  • Schools of the World - Soviet Union5.  Everyone in the Soviet Union was wearing the same uniform. I added a rare color picture to give you an idea of how the uniforms looked like. I think I am in the third grade here and already a Young Pioneer.
  • 6. In my city (a capital of Belarus, more than a million people), schools were not split into elementary, middle and high schools. I went to the same physical building for 10 years.
  • 7. In elementary grades the same teacher stayed with the same group of students for 3 years. The classes were not recomposed yearly the way it’s done here in US. Most of my classmates in the last grade were the same kids I started school 10 years ago.
  • 8. A focus on math and science was much higher than here. Formal instruction on how to write was a lot weaker.
  • 9. Many schools had a special “focus” starting from the third grade. My school (and quite a few others in my city) had a focus on math and physics, but there were schools with focus on foreign languages, arts, music, biology, etc. By the end of the 6th grade or so weaker students would leave the program for other schools, and gifted young mathematicians from other districts would take their place.
  • 10. Track system was overall stronger. By the beginning of 9th grade, the students who were not interested in higher education would leave for trade schools. Some of my classmates left to become a dental technician, a mechanic, and a seamstress. Pretty much everyone from my high school class of 38 continued their education.

Your turn to share:

Do you have warm memories of your school years? How were they different from the schools your children and/or grandchildren go to?


Ticia said...

That was cool to learn about your school in Belarus and a bit more about your past.

I'm guessing my public school learning is a lot like your daughter's because I grew up in the same general area, but not as much testing because it was pre-testing mania.

Marie-Claude Leroux said...

Loved reading about your school in Belarus! It's fascinating to read the differences - I wonder how it differs today from your school days.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

This was fascinating to read! I went to so many different schools, some I loved and others not so much. I wish the US would emphasize math and science more.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I learned a lot from this post. My memories of school are filled with the wonderful teachers I had.

Debbie Ingold said...

Thank you for sharing your school experiences. It is amazing how much you and Smarty look alike.

Christy Killoran said...

I'm so glad you posted this and I found it a little late. It's so interesting! I love the pictures!

Mud Hut Mama said...

This is so interesting and I absolutely love the photos! Thank you for sharing!

Mud Hut Mama said...

This is so interesting and I absolutely love the photos! Thank you for sharing!

Amanda said...

Loved reading this! In high school I had a boyfriend who had grown up in East Germany and even though the wall came down when he was in elementary school but it sounds like based on your description and what he said, the system was slow to change. Thanks for sharing!