A Trip Down the Memory Lane…
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
- 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.
- 5. 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?