The Vologda Gymnasium
The grave of N.F. Bunakov on Literatorskikh mostkakh
Nikolai Fedorovich published his first article after graduation from the Vologda Gymnasium (1846-1854). In 1854 he began to work as a teacher in Kadnikov.
Nikolai Bunakov's interest in teaching led him to become a teacher in Kadnikov after graduation from the Vologda Gymnasium in 1854. In 1859 he came to work at Vologda school. Since 1862 he focused on studying his native land history and culture and went into literary work. In 1866 Nikolai Fedorovich started to teach in the Voronezh military gymnasium.
Nikolai Fedorovich combined his teaching process in the military gymnasium with working in a primary school that was founded by him in 1867 (where he worked as a director until 1884) to prepare children for high school.
Nikolai Fedorovich also published manuals for students and teachers. In 1872 he read lectures on the method of teaching the native language at the Congress of teachers. Exorbitantly hard work and personal consternations undermined his health resulting in his resignation in 1879. However, Nikolai Fedorovich returned to work soon after treatment in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In 1902, he was removed from teaching and social activities and exiled to Ostrogozhsk, Voronezh province, under public police supervision.
Nikolai Fedorovich opposed the idea of the common practice preparing students not for life, but for the exam. He considered that the most crucial thing in high-quality education was to train teachers and increase their number in schools by half.
Nikolai Fedorovich noted that the main beginning of intelligent life for a person was work. When a school case, at first sight, was presented, firstly, as serious, secondly, as interesting and entertaining for all pupils, and then if any teacher was able to repeat this impression as often as possible - a lot of such feelings would be accumulated in the soul of a small pupil, which, as a result, would give ideas about teaching as an important and entertaining matter.
Nikolai Fedorovich considered that an important motive in a person's life was the consciousness of being a citizen of the country and the desire for the benefit of their Fatherland as a personal one. He noted that the school should support the students' sense of nationality with the help of the study of native nature, national geography, and history, the study of the native language, and poetic material. It all represented the national spirit and the ideal image of Russian nature and life. He believed that illiteracy was the greatest misfortune of the people.