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School Traditions

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I had no idea the first day of school in Russia is such a big celebration, with flowers and festivities. I never noticed before, but I see a lot of photos from my Russian friends on Facebook, with boys and girls dressed up and bright flowers in their arms. It's a beautiful tradition! Personally I always hated school, at every level. This is a strange statement for someone like me who has spent half of my life in some type of educational institution - 2 years of preschool, 12 years to get a high school diploma, 4 years for my university degree in English/Writing and then another 5 years to get my doctorate in law. Total = over 20 years!!

In the U.S., we don't have such a big celebration for the first day of school. I think it's completely different, though each parent still posts photos of their kids with their backpacks and books. My nephew started second grade yesterday, and I watched him get on the school bus. I never once had the urge to have a child, or carry such a huge responsibility for another human. I look at my sister, working full time, constantly running from place to place with my nephew. One day it's karate lessons, the next soccer practice, a friend's birthday party....the list is endless. Sometimes I look at her and feel relieved that I have absoultely no responsibility. Not for a child, or a husband, only myself and family. Free to do as I wish, when I want. It sounds selfish to many, but this is the reality in which I live and I have never wanted it any other way.Read more...Collapse )

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( 234 comments — Leave a comment )
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tankard39
Sep. 3rd, 2015 07:45 pm (UTC)
My son went to the third grade. They do not have school uniforms. But, the boys wear suits.

When I was in high school, just I hated it)) And now I remember with nostalgia .. It is a pity that you can not go back in time :)

Your baby photo just super))
peacetraveler22
Sep. 3rd, 2015 07:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, it would be great if a time machine existed, and we could travel back to our youth. :) Thanks! My sister and I have always been close, even when we were small children, so we have a lot of old photos of us together. I love looking at them for nostalgia reasons.
tankard39
Sep. 3rd, 2015 08:10 pm (UTC)
You easily recognizable by the photos. Especially smile :)
letberg
Sep. 4th, 2015 07:48 am (UTC)
Thank you for your wish.
I hated school also for 10 years, from the first day to the last one, but I understood it was inavitable and I took it for a necessary evil. The University was very fine though.
For a Russian child the School is a benchmark, an edge when he (or she) is no longer a baby. And completing it is the next edge when he's no longer a child.
As for the school uniform, it started in 60-s, when most of families were very poor to buy good clothes for their children. However some were rich enough (e. g. families of army officers or high level scientists or artists). Their kids were packed well, making the rest envious. At once it was set for everyone to wear the same cheap, modest and convenient uniform.
My mother remembers that time.
When I was studying at school the uniform was cancelled. We were let to wear what we wanted. Nonetheless my classmate girl was driven to the Director for wearing enormous crimson trousers. We all fought for her right to wear what she wanted.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 5th, 2015 06:22 pm (UTC)
Why did they not want her to wear crimson trousers? A reminder of Soviet times? :)
letberg
Sep. 7th, 2015 02:49 pm (UTC)
They thought it was too unmodest for a pupil to wear such vivid colours and such uncommon (in that times) style. And the Director had enough power to prohibit that to wear at school.
But we were were poisoned with freedom and we in accord were arguing with that elderly Jewish lady at any point. She was not a bad administrator and teacher but she was puzziled with those social changes and didn't know what to do with us all.
anna_sollanna
Sep. 8th, 2015 07:23 am (UTC)
You and your sister look so cute on the photo from your childhood!
As for my attitude to school it was dual. In senior school there were subjects and teacher which I especially disliked, but there were also those which I liked. And the first of September, the first school day of a new school year, always has been a kind of a holiday for me (even now, when I am far away from any educational system).
As for school traditions I can name, first, is a kind of a rather informal meeting which was usually held on 30th of August (unfortunately, I forgot how it is called in Russian :)))). It was not obligatory for pupils, but that day all the teachers were at school and we could come and meet our supervising teachers and other classmates, to ask questions about the coming school year and so on, and, what was the most important for me, to visit our school library and take a set of textbooks for the next school year. Being in junior and secondary school I used to read all the interesting textbooks during the couple of days before the 1st of September :))
Also on the ceremonial gathering on 1st of September there was such a thing as "the first ring", when a person with a bell took "a lap of honor" in front of the gathering, ringing the bell. It symbolized the beginning of the education for pupils of the first grade. And of course there was such a thing as "the last ring", it was usually hold in the end of May when for all the pupils except those from the last grade the school year was finished (and graduating seniors had their final examination ahead of them). And this "bell" was usually implemented by a pupil from the graduating seniors and a pupil from those who have just finished the first grade. And when I was the latter (it was in 1988, still in the Soviet era) I was asked to be such a pupil! (When I was a graduating senior I was promised to be given this honor again, but in the last moment this honor was taken from me...)
And of course there is a tradition like Homecoming, but it is usually held in the end of January - the beginning of February, when students have their first vacations for them to have an ability to visit their native towns and schools. As far as I remember this event was usually on Friday evening, and it was obligatory for the teachers who had graduated the classes the previous year and for the graduating seniors of this year.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 8th, 2015 02:10 pm (UTC)
I always hated the subjects of science and math! They were the worst for me, and I have received the poorest grades for these subjects, but always excelled in grammar, writing and literature. :) It's also customary for American school kids to meet their teachers and see their classroom before the first day of school. I think my sister and I look the same now, 35 years later. :))
anna_sollanna
Sep. 8th, 2015 02:38 pm (UTC)
First I used to like history and literature, but some teachers with their teaching styles killed all my love to these subjects... And I was a fool not to pay any attention to the English language at school (though with the soviet and early post soviet methods it was practically impossible for pupils to learn to talk fluently...)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 8th, 2015 02:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anna_sollanna - Sep. 8th, 2015 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - anna_sollanna - Sep. 8th, 2015 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 8th, 2015 02:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anna_sollanna - Sep. 8th, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
my_livia
Sep. 12th, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC)
Или просто у меня небыло таких учителей в школе.
polnopop
Sep. 25th, 2015 07:43 am (UTC)
Family of 3 ukrainian children 6,7,8 years, wants to find American friends to study spoken English and American culture by Skype . In our school affairs with the English are bad, please if you do not mind give this message among your American friends.You can take Russian language, if desired.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 25th, 2015 11:41 am (UTC)
Hi! In what Ukrainian city do they live? I will let my friends know, but unfortunately most of them are very busy with their jobs.
polnopop
Sep. 25th, 2015 11:56 am (UTC)
We live in the city of Dnepropetrovsk. I sometimes read your magazine, it is interesting. Thank you!
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 25th, 2015 12:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - polnopop - Sep. 25th, 2015 01:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 25th, 2015 01:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - polnopop - Sep. 25th, 2015 01:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 25th, 2015 02:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
atlanthys
Sep. 25th, 2015 07:09 pm (UTC)
There's no need for big amount of school buses, since you have a school near your neighbourhood. Soviet urban regulations told to build them so close, that you have to walk 500m at most to get there. Of course, if you live in distant village, the nearby school will have bus - I sometimes see them at the outskirts.
I heard that children from the distant north are studying at boarding schools, they use even helicopters to get there (a few years ago an issue occured: a local official took a copter and the whole class couldn't get to the exams).

Sorry for my english, I guess, I need more practice.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 25th, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC)
Hi! Your English is very good! :) It would be cool to take a helicopter to school. :))
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