Before the starting, to avoid a mess using phrase “to have classes” I will apply to terms:
“a class” – a solid community of students
“a lesson” – a 45 minute lecture for the class
People say Soviet school was one of the best in the world, and present Russian school is a mere leftover from original soviet model.
Most of Russian schools are free but indeed we also have private schools. Children graduate from kindergarten at the age of 6 and go to school of their neighborhood at 7. As I already told in Commieblocks post, almost every block possesses a school. And blocks are very small, therefore students are able to go to school on their own and schools don’t own buses to pick up kids somewhere.
Russian school education lasts for around 11 years. 1-4 grades are elementary, 5-9 are mandatory medium course and 10-11 are high school. All this students share the same building, but elementary has a particular floor.
The studying year begins at the 1st of September. This date is a holiday Day of Knowledge, but students hate to celebrate it. Education process is divided into 4 semesters and ends at the 25th of May. Students have holidays 4 times a year: 1 week at autumn and spring, 2 weeks in winter and entire summer.
Students come to school at ~8:30 a.m. to take 5 to 6 lessons, 45 minutes each. They visit school even on Saturdays. Usually lessons over at ~2:30 p.m. and students go home to do their homework, which is supposed to take around 1.5 hours.
A crucial distinction from USA school is that students don’t take lessons solely, but they always stay in a class. Classes are composed at the beginning of school tier. It means, people you’ve met at the beginning of the 5th grade, will spend 6 hours a day with you for the next 5 years. Swaps between classes are possible, but rare. Consequently, nobody has a personal schedule, but it coincides for entire class.
A class consists of 25-33 students of both genders, which is apparently excessively. Kids from elementary have a bound classroom and a single tutor, who teaches several subjects like basic math, Russian language and Russian literature. Medium school students visit different teachers who always stay in definite classrooms.
In case of extra students, some schools practice two shifts. I myself was attending at school since 12 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. for two years.
The list of studying subjects is pretty wide. Usually students have about 17 courses per year.
An approximate list:
– mathematics (1-6 grades)
– algebra (7-11 grades)
– geometry (7-11 grades)
– informatics (3-11 grades)
– surrounding world (1-4 grades)
– nature study (5 grade)
– geography (6-11 grades)
– biology (6-11 grades)
– astronomy (11 grade) optional
– physics (7-11 grades)
– chemistry (8-11 grades)
– natural science (5-11 grades) optional
– ecology (8-11 grades) optional
– history (5-11 grades)
– social science (6-11 grades)
– basics of religions and ethics (4-5 grades) optional
– Russian language (1-11 grades)
– reading (1-4 grades)
– literature (5-11 grades)
– foreign language (2-11 grades)
– labor (1-4 grades)
– technology (5-11 grades)
– plotting (9-11 grades) optional
– physical culture aka gym (1-11 grades)
– drawing (1-2 grades)
– music and/or singing (1-7 grades)
– history of arts (8-9 grades).
To manage with such number of subjects (schedule changes every week) students have a special journal, which is simply called “a school diary”. Students fill forms with subjects and write down hometasks, while teachers set marks and comments with red pen. Parents are supposed to check diary at least once a week.
In contrast to USA, Russian teachers tell students to use pens instead of pencil to avoid erasing mistakes.
Russian mark system is pretty simple. Totally there are 4 possible marks:
“5” – excellent
“4” – good
“3” – satisfactorily (poor work)
“2” – unsatisfactorily (in this case student has to try again)
People say, it’s much harder to cheat in Russian school than in American. Teachers are careful and strict. But on other hand, our classmates will never tell teacher if you have been seen cheating. Denouncing is a very serious blame in Russia. Looks like staying together against superiors is an integral part of Russians.