Jess The English Teacher

The six of us have been living in Kiryat Malachi for three weeks and are really getting into the volunteering and the community. Everyday we go to schools around town and either work in small groups with students outside of class or go around a classroom helping students individually while the teacher is explaining the lesson. I work in a high school four days a week and an elementary school two days a week.

At the high school I work most of the time with 12th graders. They have a huge English exam coming up in the next month where they must speak about themselves and other topics like current events and important issues in English. I help go over things to talk about during the exam and help the students feel more comfortable about the test.

Then I also work with 8th graders who really don’t speak any English. This group is really hard because not only are their English skills really poor, but their attention spans are shorter than a baby Chihuahua. They get really frustrated having to look up every single word in a sentence that we are reading (and I don’t blame them) and end up running around the room or out in the hall or drawing on the board in massive distraction. Extreme ADD children.

At the elementary school I’m there to help kids that are struggling with worksheets or during tests I help explain what I can. The kids are really cute at that school and all know me and hug me when they see me in town. I love that.

But as much as I really enjoy everything I’m doing at the school, it is frustrating to see how things work in these small towns. There is absolutely no discipline. The teachers are referred to by their first names and this takes away power and respect from them. From what I see, the students do whatever they want. Whenever we go to school, there are at least 30 children around the halls and yard not going to class, just skipping with no consequences. In the classroom students come and go as they wish. If they get bored, they just leave. The teacher can (and does) scream and scream and the kids just don’t really listen. At the high school level they will just talk amongst themselves, show up late, have feet on desk, etc. At the elementary school, the classrooms are complete chaos. As the teacher screams at them, they continue to run around and climb on desks and hit each other (really this happens all the time!) and if the teacher gets them quiet it’s only for like 47 seconds. And the teachers are always complaining to me about having headaches. And I’m like… I wonder why???

But, ear splittingly loud children aside, and life in a town without a movie theater or bar aside, things are really fabulous. Everyone around town knows us and is so friendly. We get free pizza because one of our students works at the pizza place and free BBQ because another student works at the only other restaurant in town! I’ve taught everyone in the apartment how to knit and making scarves and watching DVDs has been most of our evening activities. It is quite the life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, wait. Jessica -- and children? And she likes them? Wow, you really have turned a new leaf, Jess. Sounds like you are learning a lot over there.
I start my first day of work in a few minutes. Wish me luck!


2:51 AM  
Anonymous Ann Bardacke said...

Jessica- I lived in KM for 4 weeks in '03 and 3 weeks in '05. All schools in Israel are unruly-but the kids are great. Are you at Amal or Amit High School? Shuki's Schwarma (on Rashi) is really good -and the pizza place (Dominos downstairs from the apt) though not good for pizza is wonderful for Sephhardi food. The cafe on the corner (up one flight) has espresso and breakfast/lunch -Iraqui, I think. There are some really good bakeries (just ask around). Have you been to the pool hall?
Ann Bardacke (P.S. I remember your folks from when I lived in Alaska -you are great to volunteer in KM!)

1:03 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Hi Jess,

Just browsing your blog. It is very cool. Tell your parents and Michael I said hi to you all and wish you a very Happy Hanukkah. Bodie and I had an hour together yesterday at the ball fields off Klatt. He had a great time running around. Tomorrow I'll water the plants for you Barb. Enjoy your family time. Guess what? Its snowing and they are lovely huge snowflakes. Love ya. Jane

1:38 AM  

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