Still about twenty years ago Lenore Wade could not assume, that she would go to Russia and to begin teaching. However, this has taken place and today she volunteers at the English Resource Center and spends her time teaching English at various schools and universities in Cheboksary.
— Elenore, what main distinctive feature American, and in general - a foreign education system from the Russian education system? What advantages and lacks?
— Well. But that I shall tell, regard only as my personal opinion. I have visited many universities and schools in Russia. The American and Russian systems, certainly, differ from each other. They are not better and it not worse than each other, it is simple they different. One of the main basic distinctive features is an opportunity at the American school, children can choose subjects which are most of all interesting to them. The some people choose subjects: «photo», «theatre», « music”, “orchestra «, «electronics», «woodworking (carpentry)» and many other things. Besides our schools are divided into elementary school, middle school (6 - 8 classes), senior pupils (9 - 12 classes) study separately. As a rule, all these schools are in different buildings, and are not incorporated into one building as are you.
— And you taught what subject at school?
— Geography and the History. Also I conducted many lessons of English. My teaching experience is about 35 years.
— As to a history. It is interesting, how you the period of Great Domestic war is taught in America?
— Textbooks on History in America are written by Americans, in Russia - by Russians, and in Germany - by Germans, each with their own point of view. Russia was the communistic country earlier. And in America, as well as in Russia people for a long time remember the memoirs. Many my friends in America, are surprised, that I like to live in Russia.
— And still why?
— For the first time I arrived to Russia as a member of the Peace Corps and lived in Cheboksary. I liked this city, people living here, slow pace of a life, simplicity of a life. In America all is very fast. I grew up in Los Angeles. I worked here most of all at pedagogical university. In Russia first-year students, have the same age, as our senior pupils. In fact, in America we have12-years of secondary education. And consequently attitudes also always were with heart and understanding. I like that I do also I enjoy it. To teach in America became not so cheerful, as here. There it was work and I did not want it anymore. Here I feel, that I am making a difference and I help teachers to find new ways to teach English. My mom says, that I humanize words.
— As far as base preparation of the graduate of the American school differs from the Russian preparation?
— Many Russian teachers spoke me that they give knowledge, but do not explain how to apply the received knowledge. Students receive qualification, but many of them do not know how to apply this knowledge in life.
— Our graduates, anyway, the most part from them aspire to receive higher education. And at you?
— Who goes to study, and who simply does not want. At our schools there are the various subjects connected to manual skills. There are two year colleges, and those that are 4 years. Teaching at both the college and the university are absolutely identical, a difference only that university graduates can receive a higher PHD degree. For example, my brother has not gone to study in college, and has chosen a trade as a fireman. Now lives very successfully and receives good money.
— Training, in the USA is unequivocally put to what subjects better? Due to what it is made?
— At the American schools as it seems to me, there are more opportunities and they, as a rule, work after school to earn additional money and that since childhood the calling to this or that trade. During training at school they frequently travel in the USA and actively experience life.
At you in Russia all education on-line, in America schools not federal and are not totally subjected to administration of either state or federal with few exceptions. The program of training school children is at the discretion of administration of school districts. For example, in California - 982 school districts. In our district the school children (or students) should pass a minimum 4 years of English, 3 years of mathematics, 2 years of natural sciences, 2 years of physical culture and 2 years of foreign languages. In other states all can be in another way. All at the discretion of the administration of the district with some state regulations.
— And what languages are studied by your students?
— First of all — the Spanish language, because we are so close to Mexico. Then second language — French. Then — German. In my district there are 12 senior schools, and only one of them teaches Russian. In the same place, where emigrants from former Soviet Union live — Russian is taught more.
— What basic lacks of the Russian education system were evident to you first of all? How your way it is possible to overcome them?
— I think, that teachers should show students more how to apply the received knowledge. In America, students study fewer subjects, than their Russian peers. In Russia they are taught a lot of subjects, but not in depth. In America — there are fewer subjects, but there is more knowledge in these subjects. It is not good and not bad, it simply a difference in an education system.
— You should be engaged in pedagogical work much. How you estimate a professional level of the Russian teachers? Whether as the wages of our teachers, in your opinion are comparable to the salary of their American colleagues?
— I am sure, that the majority of the Russian teachers very much love what they do. Believe me, it is difficult work to teach good information to pupils. The salary is small and consequently many good teachers are engaged in other work. I give huge respect to the Russian teachers.
— For the information. What wages of teachers in the USA?
— On the average, the beginning teacher receives about 30,000 dollars one year, the skilled teacher — 50,000-60,000 dollars.
— Than our guys differ from your guys?
— Nothing! Unless only to drive the automobile and to work after school (cut lawns, sit with children, work in shops, various work).
— And how teachers and pupils concern to each other? Similar it on the Russian type of relations?
— As it seems to me, at us more informal style of relations. Smile, share and joke together, it is much more than here. Here, when I teach a lesson, I usually go into a class and I try to have conversation with each pupil. During a lesson so pupils do not get tired, I change themes of a lesson. In America teachers constantly ask a question: «What do you think?», «What would you have done? What would you have changed?». All this enables the student to apply the information.
— I remember those unpleasant seconds when the teacher drives a finger on magazine. Now someone will cause to a board. Whether is such in America?
— No, it is not the same. Students usually only use the board during mathematics. Our children answer questions from their place. If they can’t answer, a teacher will often ask the question differently and ask other students to help. We try not to intimidate or to embarrass.
— Whom you wanted to become, when studied in a graduation class? As far as it at you has turned out?
— Since childhood I dreamed to become the teacher. I married early – at 18 years. At 22 years, I already had three children. But the marriage was not good and I divorced. And to support children, I began to embody the dream to become a teacher. When I was 28 I started college. During that time, I met my future husband. He was my best friend. Later I gave birth to one more child. My mom visited me here in Russia, now she is 90 years. Also, I have 6 brothers and sisters, 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. I am a teacher, always.
My husband is not present beside me, but I believe, that he smiles on me from heaven and supports me in my best aspirations to help people.
— Your wishes to readers?
— I hope, that they will love the learning. I wish them to dream and execute their dreams, and to practice their English.
— Thank you very much!