Mr. Ted Tibbetts is a new senior English teacher at Poland Regional High School. He lives in Poland and came from teaching at Portland High School. On October 13 Mr. Tibbets will take a temporary leave from PRHS so that he can spend seven weeks in a remote area of Russia.

The U.S. state department is trying to promote understanding between the United States and the former Soviet Union (Russia). They are also trying to break down the barriers between the U.S. and Russia. It is a seven-week program. The people in the program are going to visit two or three towns in Karelia.

A group of 30 Americans is going. Some of the people are from California, Illinois, and Montana. They are all educators.

Mr. Tibbetts is going to take videos about the American lifestyle to Russian schools. He says that he is also taking souvenirs from Poland Spring. Pictures and photographs from his students are other things he is going to take to Russia. Mr. Tibbetts said he is also going to take students’ e-mail addresses so that the Russian students can be pen-pals with American students.

Mr. Tibbetts said that he got an invitation in January from The American Council sponsored by the U.S. State Department to go to the former Soviet Union. He said, ” I chose Russia because I liked a lot of the literature and the wrestling.” At first he had to write a proposal and get interviewed before he was approved. Mr. Tibbetts said, “I am more nervous about leaving PRHS because I’m a new teacher and am trying to learn [how the high school works]”. He said that he had already committed to go to Russia before he knew he would be teaching at PRHS. Julie Rotherhan interviewed him. She is director of excellence in teaching awards. At the time he didn’t know who was going to do his job while he is gone.

Mr. Tibbetts said that he went to a five-day conference in South Carolina at the end of July and he met with some of the Russian teachers. Mr. Tibbetts said, “It will be considerably different. He said that the house he is going to stay in doesn’t have a computer and there aren’t many at the schools either. He also said that teachers only get paid twenty-five dollars a week. Mr. Tibbetts predicts, “It is going to be more run down than we expect.”

Mr. Tibbetts also said that if there is anything that the students would like him to get information on let him know. He said “anything I can do to serve the students and the teachers [I will do].” It is an adventure… more of an adventure than going from Poland to Portland.

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