I finally started teaching last week, and it's been a great learning experience so far. I am working with Noa and Keren (our Israeli peer who joins us once a week) at the Ramat Alon School, an elementary school in the neighborhood of Sharona in Rehovot. It is a lower-income neighborhood, so the school may not be seen as "the best," but it makes it all the better for me because I came into this program wanting a challenge, and I am definitely getting that challenge.
Ramat Alon begins teaching English orally in 2nd grade, and in 3rd grade they begin learning to write and read. This week was definitely a lot of observing and getting used to being in the school, but I was able to work with small groups of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders last week, and it's been great getting to actually use the training I've received. Some days were better than others, and some classes are more challenging than others, but I think that is part of the whole experience. You have to have difficult situations and challenges in order to grow as a volunteer and as a teacher.
I am very excited to continue my work in the school this year, and hopefully I will gain even more confidence as a teacher as I do so. I also hope we are able to come up with ways to get the students to see English in a new way - whether it be an English word of the day, decorating the classrooms with an English corner, or putting on a play or spelling bee in English. I want to really be able to use the ideas we've learned through training, so hopefully as I get more comfortable in my surroundings, I'll be able to do so!
Tonight, we have our first ITF group Shabbat. People have been cooking all day, and I was over there a little while ago to see if help was needed (I'm on the cleaning crew, so I will be busy later!) and not only did the kosher apartment smell fabulous, but there were already such high spirits and people were really excited for Shabbat. I do not remember the last time the 27 of us spent time together doing non-Ma'ase Olam planned activities (even though this was planned), and I'm excited for a great dinner. Hopefully some of the Israelis will be joining us as well, which will be great.
Life is getting crazy here, but loving every moment of it! Shabbat Shalom!