270 participants in the Teacher for Russia program set out to teach children at schools with a complex social context

Participants are passionate about changing the lives of children in rural settlements, villages, and small towns
270 participants in the Teacher for Russia program set out to teach children at schools with a complex social context

270 Teacher for Russia participants set out to teach children at schools in the regions

Not every student at a Russian school has access to a higher education, quality knowledge, or the profession they want. Students at schools with a complex social context and children who live in rural settlements, villages, or small towns have the fewest opportunities. Since 2015, participants in the Teacher for Russia program (implemented by the New Teacher charitable foundation), with the support of Sberbank and Sberbank Charitable Foundation Investment to the Future, have sought to make sure that all children, regardless of their place of birth and starting conditions, can realize their most ambitious goals. We talk to you about the program and its achievements in 2021.

Teacher for Russia – a counterpart to the international model

The Teach For All model is already being successfully applied in 60 countries around the world. Graduates and leaders from prestigious universities undergo professional retraining and a rigorous selection process in order to participate, and then spend two years as teachers at schools in rural settlements, villages, and small towns. Their task is not only to teach the children, but also to help them find motivation for classes and believe in themselves, as well as raising interest in school education and learning outcomes.

In 2021, Teacher for Russia operates in 95 schools across seven regions of Russia. Teachers in the program instruct over 30,000 children. SberBank and Sberbank Charitable Foundation Investment to the Future act as strategic partner of the program.

Why do different specialists go to rural settlements, villages, or small towns?

The program participants are people who have completed tertiary education and undergone professional retraining. They then move to rural settlements, villages, or towns far from the capital for the duration of the program. There they find a place to live, and the program reimburses the cost of rent every month. In addition, they receive a stipend and a new schoolteacher's salary. The salary is small by Moscow standards, but the program participants are not in it for the money.

Approx. RUB 17,000


RUB 20,000


RUB 15,000

housing compensation

Mikhail Arslanyan moved to the village of Panovy Kusty to show children that reading can be interesting.

He looks for works that are close to children’s hearts: e.g., stories about teenagers his students’ age who are experiencing similar difficulties.

The children identify with these characters, so they are invested. Mikhail plans to discuss Pushkin with his students later, when they are older.

Mikhail teaches Russian and English, literature, and the basics of project work. The school he teaches at only has 20 students.

Irina Demidova is using scribing to change Kaluga’s approach to tests.

Scribing is a way of visualizing large amounts of information. Irina believes that this visual technique helps students understand and remember data better, as well as encouraging them to pay attention not only to the content, but also the form.

Tests in Irina’s classes are also taken using the scribing technique, so that the children are interested and do not flinch when they hear the phrase “get your papers out!”

In addition to being creative, scribing is also a consistent technique, which is why it simultaneously develops logical and creative thinking.

Malika Akhmedova teaches children to allow themselves anything as long as it does not distract other students.

Some teachers at small schools emphasize discipline and demands. Malika, who moved to the village of Novorusanovo in Tambov Region, thinks that is the wrong approach when there are three people in class and a child has to raise their hand to ask something or go to the bathroom. She allows her students anything as long as it does not bother other students: e.g., going to the restroom without asking for permission.

Malika also enjoys holding exploration lessons with the children outside. Recently she and her 7th grade history class went for a walk outdoors. The children were surprised at first, but Malika explained that they were going to explore an abandoned building.

How the program helps children

Victories at Olympiads and believing in success.

Anya Komarova took her children to the Russian Tournament for Young Biologists, and the kids took the bronze. Everyone was convinced that it was almost impossible to win at their very first tournament: the kids had been preparing online and had only seen each other three times — unlike other teams that had been playing together for years. In the end, it turned out nothing was impossible.

The team made the senior league, which brings together the top nine teams in the country.

The adults who believe in them.

The children told their teacher, Dulma Chibakova, that they used to think they were stupid because they constantly heard that from adults. Instead, Dulma tries to give each student confidence in their abilities. She even invited the 9th grade students to tea to get closer to the children and understand them better. The children talked about what they were up to and told her about their dreams.

“Based on the conversations I have had with the children, I have concluded that they lack grown-ups who believe in them. When I tell them they can go to camp, participate in an Olympiad, or be accepted at a university in Tambov, they do not believe me,” says Dulma Chibakova. She moved from her native Tomsk to the village of Ivano-Lebedyan in Tambov Region to teach geography at the local school and help children believe in themselves.

Dulma does not just teach geography in Ivano-Lebedyan – she also teaches the children to believe in themselves.

The program mission

is to help each child take charge of their life and understand that they have choices and opportunities that do not depend on where they were born or what school they attend. The program participants come up with a number of useful initiatives that address the challenges of the environment in which they work. The following projects were launched since the program’s inception: Equally Different (a social adaptation program for children with a foreign language background), (V)meste (play on words – together, or in [a] place. A school space transformation project), Online School (a distance education project), Support School (a school social and psychological service transformation project), Principal for Russia (a management track for teachers who become principals and deputy principals at schools), and many other smaller initiatives that help children grow, realize their dreams, and use their potential for their own development. After two years of teaching, 90% of the program graduates choose to remain in education, facilitating the development of the educational system by applying their knowledge and skills in projects and at institutions.

More teacher stories

Learn more about the program’s teachers and their projects on social media:




Support Teacher for Russia

By supporting the program, you are:

  • helping expand the program to new regions
  • supporting current and upcoming projects born within the walls of the school and having a direct impact on the students’ motivation and opportunities.

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