Sorry I have been slacking in blogging. Life got really busy, and I feel like I've spent all of my free time sleeping. And if not sleeping, I've been hanging out with my ITF family, attending a lot of meetings and trainings, and going to Ulpan twice a week.
I FINALLY started teaching this week, and it's been a great learning experience so far. I am working with Noa and Keren (our Israeli peer who joins us once a week) at Ramat Alon School, an elementary school in the neighborhood of Sharona in Rehovot. It is a lower-income neighborhood, so the school may not be seen as "the best," but it makes it all the better for me because I came into this program wanting a challenge, and I am definitely getting that challenge. Ramat Alon begins teaching English orally in 2nd grade, and in 3rd grade they begin learning to write and read. This week was definitely a lot of observing and getting used to being in the school, but I was able to work with small groups of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders this week, and it's been great getting to actually use the training I've received. Some days were better than others, and some classes are more challenging than others, but I think that is part of the whole experience. You have to have difficult situations and challenges in order to grow as a volunteer and as a teacher. I am very excited to continue my work in the school this year, and hopefully I will gain even more confidence as a teacher as I do so. I also hope we are able to come up with ways to get the students to see English in a new way - whether it be an English word of the day, decorating the classrooms with an English corner, or putting on a play or spelling bee in English. I want to really be able to use the ideas we've learned through training, so hopefully as I get more comfortable in my surroundings, I'll be able to do so!
Besides school, which has been a huge part of my life, I have really enjoyed all the time I've had leading up to start teaching to explore Rehovot, Tel Aviv, and even a little bit of Acco. I have had some great Shabbat weekends the past few weeks. 2 weeks ago, Rebecca and I went to Chen's house for Shabbat dinner, and it was great to finally meet her family…and she made her shakshuka! I obviously love that stuff, and my first time having shakshuka was after camp last summer when Chen stayed with me in LA, and made it for me. Good memories :) We also went to the outlet mall that's open on Shabbat, which was a lot of fun! Last week for Shabbat, Noam (another Israeli peer) invited us over to his house for Shabbat. I want to say it was a group of 15, and having Shabbat with a few of the Israelis was so much fun! It was great food, great laughs, and we even taught them how to play beer pong!
Tonight, we have our first ITF group Shabbat. People have been cooking all day, and I was over there a little while ago to see if help was needed (I'm on the cleaning crew, so I will be busy later!) and not only did the Kosher apartment smell fabulous, but there was already such high spirits and people really excited for Shabbat. I do not remember the last time the 27 of us spent time together doing non-Ma'ase Olam planned activities (even though this was planned), and I'm excited for a great dinner. Hopefully some of the Israelis will be joining us as well, which will be great. As far as the rest of my weekend, I am hopefully going to having a relaxing Saturday (no plans yet), and Sunday morning I have to be up REALLY early to go to Tel Aviv for an infusion (Crohn's fun, hooray!) and then have meetings later in the day.
Sorry I haven't blogged lately, and hopefully I'll be doing more soon! Life is getting crazy here, but loving every moment of it!
Hope everyone has a great and meaningful Shabbat, and a happy weekend! Shabbat Shalom! <3