Monday, December 10, 2007


Yesterday's blog didn't turn out how I originally thought. Funny how that works. How my fingers just kind of follow my brain. Anyway, once again it's monday and I'm sitting in computer class not doing what we're supposed to be doing and have no idea what we're supposed to be doing because I wasn't listening. Then I decided to update because I've been meaning to do a detailed entry about what school's like so why not do it now?

Please excuse lack of capitals and occasional spaces because as always, the computer I use here has a horrible keyboard. Also please excuse that this is in no particular order, as I'm just typing as I think.

School here is different than it is back home. I mean there are some things that are the same such as some of the classes, but it's a lot different too.

For starters, how many school districts do you think are in Yakutsk? The correct answer is zero. There isn't one or two school districts were all the kids in the city go. Instead, there are a ton of smallers schools all over, and you go to one. THe highest school number I've heard of is 33 though I'm not sure that there's every single number in between.

I go to school number 8 as most of you probably already know from me mentioning. School number 8 is a gimnasium. (Prounounced with a 'g' like in the word "gum") from what I hear, a gimnasium is a school for smart people, not the smartest people because there's a separate school for them, but still fairly smart people.

I do not go to a high school. There is no such thing as "high school" here. My school holds the littlest grades, up to the last grade. There are some differences in the way grades work too.

First grade is about the same age as first graders in america. The last grade is 11. There is no twelfth grade and from what I understand there's no fourth grade either. students graduate when they are 16/17.

I change classes, but I have the same people in every class. There are three "tracks" you can choose here. One is a Math/Science track and most of your classes are like algebra, chemistry, bio, etc. The second track is a literature track where you take more Russian/literature/language classes, and the third track is the Law track and most of your classes are like History/social studies. I am in the Literature track. This means that I sit in Literature class five days a week. That's every day but tuesday.

SPeaking of which, for those of you who don't know, I go to school six days a week. monday through saturday. I am required to wear "formal" clothing to school. This means that I wear black pants, a white blouse and a black sweater though occasionally i wear my rotary jacket when my sweater is in the wash. Saturday is cool because we don't have to wear said "formals" and can wear what we want. At first I didn't like the "uniform" thing but I've gotten used to it and it's kind of nice to already know what you're going to wear for the day. plus, it makes washing clothes easier.

At first, I had to look at a schedule to figure out what classes i had each day because they changed. After a while though, the schedule became fixed and now i basically have the same classes on the same days every week.

school starts at 815 in the morning and goes until 1:10 or 2:00. It depends on the day. On Mondays, and Fridays, I have seven lessons blocks and so I get done about 2. Tuesdays and Thursdays i have 6 and I get done about 1:10. Wednesdays I go to the rotary meeting so I get out at 12:20. Saturdays I have five lessons and the time schedule is different so i get done at 12:15.

Having 7 lesson blocks doesn't mean i have seven classes. hence the reason i call it a block. an example is today. today is monday so i have 7 blocks. two blocks are computer class, two blocks are literature, one block is Algebra and the last two blocks are history. and that's how that works.

There is like no truant policy as far as I understand, and no policy that says you can only miss so many days of school. there's one girl in class who's missed like 3 weeks of school. A while back she was sick for a week. then two weeks ago she wasn't at school, she came one day and then was gone last week too. i have no idea if she's back now or not.

we occasionally have holidays at school. Russians are really big on celebrating random things. hence, the night back in october celebrating day of teacher, and tomorrow which is like 'be a teacher for a day' day.

The highest grade is a five. the lowest is a one. The class has a grade book that someone is responsible for making sure it gets to the teachers. often grades are read outloud.

Everyone in class takes turn 'being on duty' this varies from watching the halls, to erasing chalkboards, to who knows what else.

NOw I must go because i actually have an assignment I"m supposed to be doing, so I'll have to continue this later.

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