Last Thursday I was invited to visit a local public school. I've walked by this particular "Gymnasium," named after the famous poet, Pushkin, many times, and was thrilled to get an inside look. I visited the grades 6-11 portion of the school and had a chance to speak with a number of the students and answer their questions.
The school is over 100 years old and while some of it has been updated, the old charm of the building still remains with its large wooden doors, chalk boards, and even a school museum.
A couple of students were kind enough to give me a small presentation on some of the artifacts in the museum, including an old record player that students used to listen to to learn English, uniforms from the Soviet-era, books, and even newspapers, one of which was graced with the image of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, on the cover (1915).
I was also shown the gym, which according to photos I saw from when the school opened, hasn't changed a bit, besides maybe a fresh coat of paint.
In between classes, we went to the cafeteria. It was very small, but served up food that puts American public schools to shame. The kitchen is very Soviet. If only that tea kettle could speak.
All of the food is made on site with the exception of the baked goods. The kids I saw eating lunch were having stewed cabbage, bulgar, some pork, and potato soup. Not bad at all.
In all I spent half the day with the teachers and students. I've been invited to come back and sit in on some of the classes to see how they're taught, especially the English and French lessons. I'm looking forward to observing and learning a thing or two to bring back with me.