A hundred new school teachers started working in Estonia's most eastern county this September, mostly attracted by significantly higher wages than elsewhere in the country.
As Estonian language reforms get underway, more teachers are needed in the region and last year the government increased salaries in the region to encourage people to consider open positions.
While many new teachers have relocated to the east, some are returning to their old jobs or moved within the region for new positions, said Kerda Eiert, the Ida-Viru County education coordinator.
"Certainly money is behind this, too, because it greases the wheels. The fact that the state has stipulated that teachers in Ida-Viru County will receive higher salaries has made them look towards Ida-Viru County. At the same time, the question of mission is still very much at stake. People say: "I want to give something back to society, and Ida-Viru County is the place where I can put it to the best use"," Eiert said.
Teachers told "Aktuaalne kaamera" that they often have to push back on stereotypes about the region.
"I've also been asked how do you dare to go there. But I'm not afraid of Ida-Viru County, I'm not afraid of the people of Ida-Viru County, for me they are very open, cheerful and lively," said Erika Tiiman, head of education at Sillamäe Gymnasium.
Natalja Kurling, a physics teacher at the Estonian Gymnasium in Narva, added: "I myself see when colleagues come from other places, that at the beginning they come to Narva with trepidation. And their relatives do not understand why they are coming to Narva, [saying] it's a madhouse. But when people live in Narva and communicate, they understand: "Why not?". Narva is an ordinary city, a beautiful city."
Gretel Maidre, who is starting her third academic year working at Toila Gymnasium, advised the newcomers to take inspiration from exploring the county.
"What I like the most is that I found a lot of undiscovered places, I hadn't been to very many cities in Ida-Viru County. Gradually, I can discover them and discover the experiences that Ida-Viru County offers," she said.
Editor: Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera