We have finally arrived in Zaporizhia, where I’ll be spending the next 8 days. After an interesting overnight train ride, we are so excited to be here. The train was comfortable, but it was a little hard to sleep with all the bumps and noises.
We are here to visit the Zaporizhia Classical Lyceum, and our host teacher, Lydia. In less than an hour, we will leave for our first visit to the school.
Back in Kyiv, we started getting some first hand experience with schools in Ukraine. We visited School 57 (where they did the lego sculpture) and our group was very impressed with the caliber of education. The students there are multi-lingual, and pretty much all of them speak Russian, Ukrainian, English, and German. They have study abroad opportunities, dance, theatre, sports, newspaper, and more.
We got an opportunity to visit classes as well, and the teaching was great. I observed a teacher in her late seventies who had more energy than most of the teachers at our school! She switched up the activity every few minutes, and even took a break mid-class to get the students moving their bodies, keeping them awake and on their toes:
The students also did several presentations for us, including a puppet show during a school assembly. They use puppets as a tool to practice their English skills.
In the afternoon, IREX hosted a panel for us, with various leaders in education talking about their views on schools in Ukraine. It was really enlightening, but also sad to hear about some of the problems with schools here. For example, they don’t really have any services for students with special needs. Many just end up getting tutored at home, and this is clearly an issue. There were also a lot of positives that we heard about at the panel, including teachers doing civic education and service learning.
I’m out of time to write now, but I will post more later and try to add some video from the panel as well! So much to write about!