As we reach our fourth month mark, things are beyond settled in and have become pretty busy. Adam is getting deeper into his research and has begun working with his mentor professor and another graduate student learning and relearning topics of interest. With Ulpan four days a week, work, and running, it is getting harder for him to find down time. Dinnertime continues to be on the late side, and we still haven’t been able to get to bed before midnight except on Shabbat. It is nothing out of the ordinary for us, but it is surprising that it we got back to this point so quickly. I guess it is just our natural state of being.
What about me? Things have also become busier. Unfortunately, it is not because of Ulpan. Due to lack of enrollment, my Level 1 Ulpan class was cancelled for this month. I hope to sign up for it again in the upcoming months; I’m just waiting to see how it can fit in with everything else. What else is there? Well, of course there is babysitting. Starting next week, I will be picking the kids up from gan three times a week since Esther is going back to work now that her maternity leave is over. There is also my volunteer work for Shomera. I’m still trying to keep up with the website redesign that I committed to do for this environmental NGO. It is a slow process, but hopefully the site will be launched in the next month or so. It will be weird to see something I created on the internet. I hope it appeals to everyone. 🙂 And of course there is my new time commitment; I got a job! Surprise!
So here’s how it happened…During my mopey days in October, I started applying to whatever jobs I could find. Some were here in Israel, some back in the US since I could always work remotely. In November, I got a response from a program in Jerusalem, and I went in for an interview. To be honest, it was pretty stressful. I haven’t been to an interview in 5 years, but after a serious amount of time updating my teaching portfolio, I felt a lot better. And, the interview went well. I left feeling successful and felt that even if I didn’t get the job, at least I know that I have the ability to have a positive interview. The people who interviewed me told me they would get back to me in about a month, which they did. I haven’t mentioned any of this until now because I was afraid I would get ahead of myself. Since I had my first faculty meeting on Monday night, and they sent me my schedule yesterday, I think it is safe enough to start talking about it.
So where am I going to be working? I am going to be a Physics and AP Environmental Science teacher for the Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY) program. The program is for American and Canadian high school students who would like to have a study abroad experience in Israel. The students arrive at the end of January and spend the entire spring semester learning and traveling. The core of their instruction is about Israel; they learn in the classroom and out in the field. While here, they must keep up with their general studies, which is where I come in. My job is to teach them Physics or AP Environmental Science while they are immersed in Israeli culture. They also will be learning Hebrew while they are here. The program sounds like an amazing experience for these students. I am looking forward to sharing it with them.
After working six years in the CT public schools, things will definitely be different teaching for TRY. First of all, these students are self-selected, so for the most part, they are motivated students who want to do well. Secondly, the entire student body is 45 students, which means smaller class sizes. My Physics class has a total of 8 students and my AP Environmental Science is actually a tutorial since there is only 1 student. Very different from the 18-24 that is typical of a public school science classroom. Third, they are here as part of a Ramah program, which means they are Jewish students. I haven’t really had many Jewish students ever actually, so it will be interesting to be able to share holiday experiences with them. Lastly, because of the nature of the program, I have limited time with the students and limited equipment available. I have been working hard to create activities much like I did with my students in Southington that can be completed with simulations and provided data so that these students can still have something close to the inquiry-based teaching methods that are very successful. It has been fun working on curriculum as I prepare for classes which start at the beginning of February. I still have a lot to do, but it is the type of work that I love to do. I know that this will be an enriching experience for me as a teacher.
With all of this, I still have found time to crochet. I finished my first prayer shawl (see Crochet Cancer Project page of our blog), and I made a bag. I hope to make hand warmers to help fend off the cold while I am typing or doing work around the apartment. Then I should be starting on my next prayer shawl. It’s so great that I found yarn stores near by!
While looking at the next few months, it seems like we will be so busy that it may be difficult to travel around the country. We are trying not to forfeit our once a month activity, but we are starting to realize that we are going to have to stay closer to home. That’s okay though; there are so many amazing opportunities in Jerusalem that there will be plenty for us to explore. Once the TRY program is completed (it is a four month program), we will begin to travel some more. Don’t worry; I am so happy to teach again that this doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all. I belong in the classroom and feel blessed that I have a chance to do it while in Israel.
Until next time…