Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

Shalom, chaverim! We're well into the school year now, going full throttle, and it's been exciting to gradually chip away at the pile of paperwork and forms that appear at seemingly random times. These are the forms that are necessary for me to get into "the system" of being an Israeli government employee in the public schools. A friend who made Aliyah several years before we did wisely reminded us that when it comes to things bureaucratic, Israelis often won't give you the entire picture regarding what needs to be done, or when, or why. He was so right in his assessment.

Today, for example, I found out that I need to have a medical examination by my doctor; the results of which, I presume, will be part of my file. That seems more than a little "big brotherish" to me, but of course I had to remind myself, again, that this is not America. It's Israel, where concerns over individual privacy are not such a high priority.

However, notwithstanding the rite-of-passage medical exams and the warm welcome I've received from my fellow teachers at my school, it was harshly brought home to me this week that I am still not yet considered to be a "real teacher" in Israel. I found this during a recent interview with another public school in Nahariya. The head teacher was kind enough to tell me that while she wanted to hire me, she suspected my lack of a full Israeli teaching diploma would most likely prevent her from doing so, as it didn't tick all the boxes of the administrative regulations. However, she also told me that she would look into the matter to see if an exception could be made, and promised that someone would call me the next day to let me know the outcome.

To my surprise, I got the call.

"Hello? You are an English teacher and you talked about a job with us yesterday?"

"Yes, that's me! Thanks for calling back!" (Said excitedly, hoping I'd landed the assignment.)

"Yes, good. I am calling to tell you that we don't want you now. Maybe in some years we will want you. Goodbye."


Well, it's a good thing, then, that I was finally accepted onto what will hitherto be known in this blog as "THE COURSE." THE COURSE is a teacher training course for immigrant teachers to Israel, which meets once a week down in Kiryat Motzkin--just a few train stops north of Haifa. It meets every Tuesday from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., between December 18th and the middle of July. At the end of it, I will be a licensed Israeli teacher, but not a certified one. Apparently, to get full certification, I also need to do another year-long course at a different college, which meets three days a week. But one step at a time, I will endeavor to lumber through these hoops. (I used to jump through them, but now I seem to only be able to manage a shambling gait.) Working with my Indian students online has been a great shot in the arm in regards to getting my professional development mojo supply topped up.

So on that note, I wanted to share with you one of the nicest moments I've had at my school, which was teaching "my girls" a Hanukkah song in English: "I Have a Little Dreidel." After I had them rehearse it across the course of a few lessons, I recorded it in our last session yesterday, just before the holiday break. Elul was kind enough to mix it with a video backdrop so it could be uploaded to YouTube. (If the link doesn't show up on your email, just go directly to .)

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, Miss Selah's English Class Chorale!

Chag sameach and Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

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