Frank Thoms

A Teacher in the Rye

Apr 15, 2023 by Frank Thoms

Well that was how I felt. I was, after all, ‘the teacher from America.’ Some days I felt like ‘the United States of America.’ I was the only America anywhere near to be found. I felt the whole of my culture was on my shoulders. However, I made every effort to just be myself, to be an American with them, not to bring America to them.

I was privilege to be in School 185. Privileged because I was invited to be inside Soviet education as it was happening. I was asked to bring my teaching into the classroom. The director, teachers, and children invited me into their confidence, took me seriously and shared from their hearts. Before I left after my nearly three months, the school gave me two-hour concert with flowers, songs, stories, and gifts. ‘Please come back Mr. Frank,’ ‘Come and teach us again.’

I did come back the following spring, but that’s another story.