A Moment of Pride in my Israeli Classroom
As a volunteer, it isn’t always easy to see the results of my work. That’s also true as an English instructor. Languages take time to learn, and community projects take even more, but once in a blue moon, the change happens right before my eyes… and I get to sit back and watch the magic.
Every Sunday at 8 in the morning, I tutor a group of three fifth-grade Israeli students — Yahli, Linoy, and Tsagai. They started off nervous, embarrassed even to try to speak English with me, so instead of lesson plans, we just talked and played games, and we built trust in each other. Over the weeks, they loosened up so much, I could barely keep them from excitedly wiggling their way out of class. To keep them contained, I decided to challenge them with a special project — Yahli, Linoy, and Tsagai were going to become teachers like me.
We started by learning the English words of the weather, and each word was accompanied by a motion. For ‘sunny’, we made rainbows with our hands. For ‘rainy’, we made fingertip raindrops, and so on and so forth. It took us a few lessons, but when we had our act down, we put on our teaching caps and headed to the third-grade classroom upstairs.
As my three little teachers (and I) stood at there at the whiteboard, I had no clue what was going to happen, but Yahli, Linoy, and Tsagai stole the spotlight. They spouted off weather words like they’d been speaking English forever, bounced from third-grader to third-grader to help them with the coloring activity that went with it. A beautiful sight to see.
Now, at the start of a the month, the four of us head back to the third-graders to teach something new. March was ‘food’. In April, it was ‘family’. I don’t know what May will bring, but I do know that I’m proud of my little Israeli teachers — even if sometimes, I can barely keep them from wiggling away.