Новости Донбасса

The price paid. Principal of restored Slovyansk school about the war, children and teaching. Part 4

The price paid. Principal of restored Slovyansk school about the war, children and teaching. Part 4

Please follow the link to read the 1nd ,2nd, 3rd and part of the story


– Slovyansk is not on the frontline any more, life is peaceful here, but the war is not far away. Does it influence the life of your school?

– On April 3, 2014 there were not any militants here yet, but Russian was accumulating its army on the border, I went to the military enlistment office and enlisted to the Ukrainian Army as a volunteer. I will join the Army now if it is necessary.

I remember a lot of things which I learnt during my military service so I instruct the teachers of my school: how to protect children if a shelling starts, where to fall down to avoid pieces of broken glass. There ia a first aid kit in every classroom.

After Slovyansk had been liberated, a centre for assisting the Army was established here. I went there and said: “I am a school principal and we want to help you." They gave me some fabric patches and showed now to make a camouflage net. We made one with the teachers, then we brought some bedsheets from homes and made some more.

We are friends with one of the National Guard battalions. They came to us themselves and said: “Let's be friends.”

First we made a concert for them at school, then a sports competition. The servicemen showed us an amazing dance afterwards! We have a family with many children at school and their mother made an enormous pie for the soldiers, another family made them a present as well.

The way our kids' parents treat the Ukrainian Army is also the result of our teachers work.

– Aren't you worried that children get used to communicating with people in a uniform and thus are getting more integrated into the war?

– No, they do not pay attention to the uniform, they just see a person beaming with positive energy. Children react to the way they are treated first of all, they don't care about the person's clothes. Our servicemen treat them really nicely.

When the soldiers of that battalion were leaving on rotarion, they left a lot of presents for our children: honey, sweets, food — everything they had, they brought all those things here by car and gave them to the children. This is an additional factor which helps kids see that the Ukrainian Army is protecting them.

When the Ukrainian Army entered Slovyansk, we could see: there are people in military uniform in the town, they are carrying wepons but they keep fingers off triggers. When militants were here they kept their fingers on triggers all the time.

One child was seriously wounded by separatists, children were running and militants started shooting at them, one child ran away, another one was wounded.

Another accident happened at Easter (Slovyansk was occupied then). Our teacher's kids were returning from church, they were a bit noisy. Suddenly someone started shooting, one boy was wounded so seriously, that his leg still does not function. He has already been operated on several times...

Now you see a Ukranian servicemen and you are not scared any more. 

– How do you work with parents?

– We have meeting of each form, we talk to them individually, we visit them at home. We never attack, we just tell them: The Ukrainian State helped to restore our school, our Government, the Ministry of Education did a lot of things as well. We always emphasize: “Ukraine, Ukraine.”
Ukrainian mind should be developed gradually, if we force people we an only make things worse.

We should brought up new generations of the Ukrainians as we see them, it will not happen today or tomorrow, no matter how hard we try, it is a long process. But if we force people they will never become Ukrainians. Besides, every leader changes history according to his or her priorities and, as a result, we know practically nothing about our real history.

Ukraine has not strengthened its national positions since becoming an independent state and now the period is craving for it.

Changing priorities in education is crucial now, the most important thing for teachers of history and of other humanitarian subjects is to bring up patriots. There should be more information about what makes our country unique, about the achievements of our people.

Take Leonid Kadenyuk, for example. He is the first astronaut of independent Ukraine and he is from our region, from Krasny Liman. Our children know about him only because I tell them. There are about seventeen astronauts in Ukraine and no ones knows about them though they are our heroes!
The number of educational programmes on TV is critically low.

Here, in the Donbas, we do not know a lot about the West of Ukraine, about its beautiful nature and vice versa, how much do the rest of Ukrainians know about Slovyansk ot Svyatohirsk?
More unformation about Ukraine should be told on TV.

Yelena Cherednychenko for UT. Life.

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