The first few weeks of the program will be dedicated to getting settled into your new Israeli environment. The orientation will include an opening trip (Building a Community), city orientation to get to know the city you will be living in (Haifa, Rishon LeZion, Ashkelon or, Bat Yam) an intensive Ulpan (Hebrew classes), group activities, Israel education days, volunteering in the community and a teacher training course.
Be a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow
While you will gain professional skills and understanding of the field of English education in Israel and beyond, your role at your school placement goes far beyond your ability to teach verb tenses. As a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, you will bring enthusiasm, positivity, and creativity into the classroom and into your student’s lives. You will be a role model, a big brother/sister, and a mentor to the children you work with. They will beg to work with you, they will go home and tell their families how exciting it was to work with you, and by the end of the year, you’ll be amazed by how far they’ve come.
The Israeli School Climate
Just like most aspects of life in a foreign country, the Israeli school experience may be quite different than what you have experienced in your childhood. Cultural differences may include: less formal relationships between school staff and students, the loudness in Israeli classrooms, different approaches to discipline and classroom management, the number of students walking around out of class, English teachers (and other school staff) without fluent English and more. Many of the schools we partner with serve disadvantaged neighborhoods, with high populations of recent immigrants to Israel, and the barriers to academic success for those students are even higher.
No one Fellow can completely overhaul English education in Israel, but with an open mind and a bit of hard work, you can transform your students’ relationship to English and give them an important tool for the rest of their lives and their connection to the world outside Israel. It takes time for most participants to adjust to the Israeli work environment, but this investment of time is endlessly enriching to local communities around Israel. Our staff is there for you the whole way through to prepare you and help you make the most of the experience for yourself and your students. In general, schools are very grateful to have Masa ITF fellows around, accept them with open arms, and make great efforts to make them feel welcome and a part of the school.
Masa ITF participants will be working in the 3rd-9th grades in schools of varying socioeconomic levels. The majority of participants work in elementary schools (grade 3-6), but there are a limited number of opportunities to serve at junior high schools.
Each participant is required to work 20-25 hours a week at their school placement: 20 hours working directly with the students, and 5 hours planning, meeting with the English team and working on special projects to help the English department at their school. For most of your 20 teaching hours, you will work with small groups outside of class. Some of the time you will be assisting the Israeli teacher in the classroom. Many Fellows take the initiative of planning special lessons for their classes about holidays from their home country, bringing a bit of their own culture into the classroom.
You will be working closely with the main English teacher at your school, who will be in charge of your daily schedule and tasks. The Masa ITF with Israel Experience Educational Coordinator will be in charge of your placement and will keep track of your integration in the school, and seminars throughout the year will give you the opportunity to learn from experts in the field of English education as well as your peers throughout the country.
Masa provides a special training track for all Israel Teaching Fellows participants. The Talpiyot College of Education, a recognized academic institute, provides training for the fellows, which includes over 60 hours of training throughout the year. During the first month of the program, in order to prepare participants to enter schools, the training is more intensive and includes several days of theoretical classes and workshops, as well as observation days in which each participant gets a first glimpse into their prospective school.
Throughout the rest of the year there will one training day a month, several school visits by the pedagogical advisor assigned to each group, as well as monthly group meetings with the advisor.
At the end of the program ITF participants receive a certificate from Masa and the Talpiyot Academic College of Education stating that they have completed 60 hours of training for teaching English as a foreign language in Israel.
When you’re teaching with ITF, all of Israel becomes your classroom! Masa Israel Teaching Fellows with Israel Experience also provides an experiential educational program aimed at giving you a much deeper perspective on Israeli society. By exploring the country on foot and participating in trips and seminars ranging in topics from Social Issues in Tel Aviv to Religious Minorities in Haifa and beyond, you will gain an appreciation for the incredible geographical and human diversity of Israel.
Between several over-night trips to different parts of Israel, monthly day seminars, and other educational activities, the Masa ITF with Israel Experience educational program is aimed not just at helping you see the whole country, but also gain a deeper understanding of the community that you will be living in.
The program includes Hebrew classes for you to enhance your language skills and give you tools to connect to the Israeli society around you. After a few intensive lessons at the beginning of the year, you will have ulpan twice a week for the first half of the program.
Most Fellows state that they learn the most Hebrew from their students and their Israeli friends, but your ulpan classes are a dedicated time for you to practice new vocabulary and grammar concepts and ask questions to teachers who are experts on the language.
The school day tends to end early in Israel, and we are committed to providing you with plenty more opportunities to connect to the community and make a difference after school lets out. The Masa ITF with Israel Experience staff will help connect you to a volunteer opportunity for 4-5 hours a week that matches your skills and interest, in fields ranging from informal education to sustainability and beyond. Gaining experience in non-profits outside of the classroom will help integrate you into the community and develop more professional skills that will serve you long after you leave the program.
Masa Israel Teaching Fellows with Israel Experience is a community. You’ll live together, teach together, explore your city together, travel together, celebrate Shabbat and birthdays together. The close community you’ll build with your fellow participants will be your home away from home, and the friends you’ll make will be friends for life.
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