North Russia: The village school in Tikhmanga was built in 1985 and has around 80 children. While the school goes to grade 11, there are normally just a few pupils in the 11th class, generally girls. The boys often leave after the 9th grade to attend a vocational school in the neighboring town that specializes on the automotive industry. A few pupils each year go on to attend university, normally choosing Arkhangelsk or Severodvinsk, both a few hours drive to the North. While the remote school doesn't seem to have received a cosmetic upgrade in many years, the teachers and students have Internet access and view assignments and grades online. There is no long-distance instruction at the moment. As I walked around the school with the English teacher Sergey, pupils came running up to have their picture taken. The children spend a lot of time on outdoor activities when school is over, either practicing soccer, riding bikes, playing on the swings or a game of hide and seek.
NOVOSIBIRSK REGION: ‘’We had a huge library at home, thus I loved literature from childhood. Mom would bring books home from work nearly every week, so not surprisingly I chose to study philology,’’ said Rostislav, who moved to teach Russian language and literature in a Siberian village. His wife Anna - one of seven children - also teaches Russian in the school. They met at an institute in Novosibirsk region and immediately fell in love. ’’We soon started living together and once we finished university we began to look for work at a school that had two vacancies.’’ They called around to many schools, visited one in a village and were satisfied. Maintaining discipline is the most difficult thing about teaching, Rostislav said. He feels schools give children too much theory and not enough practical learning. "You can't go far with just book smarts."