By Orrie Appell, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows - Ma'ase Olam
When applying to become part of the Israel Teaching Fellows
programme, way back when, I initially had a very tough decision to make, but Ma’ase Olam made it very easy.
Of all the cities offering a place to house me over the next ten months to assist in teaching English and other volunteering projects, Ma’ase Olam took Rehovot and added the charming and powerful addition of the Israeli peers whom would aid all of us in interacting and integrating with the ins and outs of the city. This was, and still is, the single biggest selling point for me.
On my programme, based in Rehovot, I am the single UK participant in a crowd of 26 from the US and Canada. That initial feeling of being so similar and yet so different still remains. I was living as a minority in England, and now in Israel, little has changed. But the addition of the Israeli peers and the participant pairings at the schools has made me feel very much at home.
Another aspect of this programme is the field trips around Israel, which aim to broaden our understanding of geography and history of both the land and the people whom have lived here over hundreds of years. Ma’ase Olam, still a very new organisation with this particular programme only in its second year, has been vigilant and active in taking our feedback and acting on it for the better. While it's a challenge to meet the demands of over fifty unique participants from Israel Teaching Fellows, Israel Service Fellows, and the Gap Year program, the many field trips have continued to improve over time.
Though I did not have very much experience in this sort of working environment, I was amazed at how quickly I adjusted and found my rhythm in teaching kids at school. All of the teachers at my school have made every effort to accommodate and facilitate the needs of the children and myself. They adjust their teaching to different learning abilities, provide me with teaching materials, transport me to and from school, and even keep the teachers’ room stocked with cake on a regular basis. After the very first week of teaching, my hopes and ambitions were already coming to fruition, as the self-rewarding nature of the children’s excitement over learning with me became apparent.
We're nearing the halfway point, and I am struggling to acknowledge just how rapidly these final five months will go, which they will. I am very thankful for this experience and the opportunity which has allowed me to picture many entirely new educational and career paths, both in Israel and back home. I know the year will become even busier with even more volunteering and community projects thrown in over the coming weeks, but it will not be something I dread or feel I am being worked too hard over. This is why I am here. With all earnestness, this is something very different from where I imagined myself a year ago, and now that I am here and a part of this programme, I am going to make the most of it.