Saturday, May 23, 2009

1st Day of 1st Grade (Kind of)

Today all the first graders were invited to an "Open House" to meet their teachers, classmates, and to get a taste of what to expect on September 1st. They had two full periods of lessons plus a light lunch, and the parents got to meet one another and various teachers. I knew quite a few of the other parents -- either their older children are in Katya's class or I teach them in the middle school/high school. That felt good! We all had fun sipping tea and eating piroshki on the child-sized dining room chairs. 

Natalia had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back tomorrow morning! 

I feel really lucky that she ended up with an American friend in her class; she will really enjoy that and I think they'll end up being very close. Katya never had another English speaker in class and she adapted just fine, but I can't help but think that this will make it easier for Natalia...

I really like their teacher, too. We got off on the right foot! You see, yesterday was "The Last Bell," a sort of Graduation ceremony when Seniors ring the last bell of their school days. It's not officially a Graduation because they still have national exams to pass before they can get diplomas; those exams are the second week of June and their official Graduation is during the third week of June. In any case, the day was very special with two ceremonies attended by all the students and then the high schoolers, teachers, parents and friends.

The fourth graders played a special part in the ceremony and did a wonderful job. Their teacher was on stage at one point, and I then recognized her in the lower school later that day when I went to pick up Katya. I ran after her to congratulate her on what a good job her students had done -- and was surprised when she thanked me, knew who I was, and told me that she will be Natalia's teacher! I'm so glad that I complimented her before I knew who she was, so she knows I truly meant it!

She's kind and strict, the perfect combination for Natalia. 


Annie said...

I had a long talk with Ilya about school. I've not blogged about it because I don't want the authorities coming and pulling him out of my home....but this year he has pretty much refused to go to school. After the suspension for decking the boy who'd been bullying him, I guess he decided that the stress and strain he'd been under at school wasn't worth it, particularly as he also got (reasonably) the idea that they didn't actually care much if he were there or not. So, he started going to the Russian teacher's house and studying English instead.

Anyway...when I began to talk to him about NEXT year's school plans (he'll go if I have to hire strong men to take him there by force) he started telling me why he hated it.

Unlike Russia, he tells me, the students are a) not serious about the work, b) not capable of the work (there are some LD kids in his class), c) rude to the teacher and d) the teachers don't ...I think this is what he meant...keep their dignity.

There are some things to be said for the Russian system.

Tina in CT said...

A Catholic private school allows disrepect in the school! That shocked me.

Why are LD kids in with the regular class all the time as don't they need the extra help and the smaller classroom for some of their subjects?

If kids are not capable of the work, why are they there in the first place?

Not a good situation.

Annie said...

Well....if a parish "rejected" a child who needed extra help either academically or behaviorally, it wouldn't seem like a very Christian place. It is a bit different than a "private" school. Also, just to stay open they need about all the students they can get! And, of course, Ilya needs extra help himself, for that matter.

I do wish the standards were higher, but the way we do things in this country (mainstreaming rather than separating children into ability groups) pretty much defines school, and what can be accomplished/expected there.

Tina in CT said...

I'm so glad that I got to visit the school and now I can picture the girls there and know what it's like. It's a lovely atmosphere for the girls to learn in and the teachers were so friendly that I met. I look forward to going to school when I'm there in December.