Welcome to Israel!
The first few weeks of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows post-college Israel program will be dedicated to getting settled into your new Israeli home and environment, and getting to know other participants.
The orientation will include:
- Group activities and group building
- A two-day opening trip
- City orientation in your respective cities
- A 60-hour teachers training course (certificate upon completion)
- Intense Ulpan (Hebrew) classes
- Free time to explore on your own
During orientation, you will explore your new home, get acquainted with your teaching colleagues and make new friends (most fellows do not know anyone in the program before arriving). In addition, you will meet your host family, who will take you in as one of there own and help you get acclimated to life in Israel. This will give you a better feel for what your upcoming year will be like. You will see how our structured independence works, we will show you how to get around the city while letting you do the real exploring by yourself, with your colleagues, and new friends. We want you to become comfortable in your new home and understand that Israel Experience is here for you every step of the way (but we will not get in your way).
Be a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow
As a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, you will bring enthusiasm, positivity, and creativity into the classroom and the student’s lives. You will gain professional and personal skills of a lifetime. You will be a role model, a big brother/sister, and a mentor to the children you teach. They will want to work with you and get to know you, they will go home and tell their families how exciting it is to work with you, and by the end of the year, you’ll be amazed by how far they’ve come. It will be clear how much of an impact you made on the children’s lives.
The Israeli School Climate
Just like most aspects of life in a foreign country, the Israeli school system may be quite different from what you 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, making the barriers to academic success for these students even higher.
English education in Israel takes time to improve. With an open mind and a bit of hard work, you can transform your students’ relationship with English and give them an important tool they can use for the rest of their lives. They will have the opportunity to take this new language and make a connection to the world outside of Israel. The students in these schools will not view you as a superior, but more of a friend. Your relationship with them will be less formal than a teacher-student relationship.
It takes time for most participants to adjust to the Israeli work environment, but this investment is endlessly enriching to the local community. Our staff is here for you the whole way 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 teaching fellows around, they accept them with open arms, and make great efforts to make them feel welcome and a part of the school.
Masa Israel program participants will be working in the 3rd-9th grades in schools of varying socioeconomic levels. The majority of participants work in elementary schools (grades 3-6), and 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: 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 the school. For most of your 20 teaching hours, you will work with small groups outside of class with an assigned teaching partner who is also a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow participant. 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. 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 pedagogical training throughout the year. During the first month of the program, in order to prepare you to enter school, 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 glimpse into their prospective school.
Throughout the rest of the year, there will be 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, MITF 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.
On our post-college Israel program, 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.
Israel Experience provides you with:
- Overnight trips throughout Israel
- Monthly seminars
- Educational activities and more
These trips are for you to experience all of Israel and see the entire country for yourself. They will help you gain a deeper understanding of the community that you will be living in. Over the course of the program, you will become integrated into Israel society and adapt to the environment around you.
The program includes Hebrew classes for you to enhance your language skills and provide you with 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.
Here are some Hebrew words for fun!
- Sababa: cool, fun “everything is sababa”
- Slicha: excuse me or I am sorry
- Hakol beseder: everything is okay!
Your ulpan classes are dedicated time for you to practice new vocabulary and grammar concepts. Most Fellows state that they learn the most Hebrew from their students and their Israeli friends. This is an exciting way to become immersed in the community, Israel society, and the Hebrew language.
The school day tends to end early in Israel, and we are committed to providing you with plenty of opportunities to connect to the community and make a difference after school lets out. The MITF Israel Experience staff will help connect you to a volunteer opportunity for 4-5 hours a week that fits your skills and interests. You can volunteer 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 Masa Israel program.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY
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. You will also become a part of the alumni community that can help you create a professional network with alumni and Jews all over the world. It might seem intimidating to travel to Israel without knowing anyone here or on the program, but over time you will realize the friends you made, have become friends for life.