Source: AVI CHAI Foundation Blog
Cheryl Stone, Judaic Teacher at Gross Schechter in Cleveland, attended JTS' Ivriyon this past summer. The Ivriyon program strengthens the Hebrew language proficiency skills necessary for teaching in Hebrew by way of peer teaching, participant presentations, and textual study. She reflects on her experience and next steps in her blog post.
"We gathered together the first morning for breakfast, a meet and greet, to get the full lowdown of what we had signed on for. We were a diverse group from all over the country, coming from different religious backgrounds and with different educational objectives. I was happy to be finally meeting the voice and power behind the program, Miriam Meir, our friendly taskmaster, who beguilingly smiled as she listed what would be expected of us.
We would be teaching a mini-lesson every other day that we would script and execute in Hebrew, starting the very next day. We would create worksheets, in Hebrew. We would be reading a book in Hebrew. as well as a mini-essay to write every evening, also in Hebrew. We had courses in grammar with nightly homework that would be, of course, in Hebrew. Wow, we were feeling very overwhelmed. Could we really accomplish this? Personally, I knew that this was what I had signed up for, but I was feeling daunted by the process.
Our days were full, beginning with chimmum, a chance to ‘warm up’ by discussing what we had written the night before in our mini-essays. Topics ranged from “Who would we like most to meet?” to “Our hopes and dreams.” Some would be easier than others to articulate in Hebrew. Following that there was a quick paced and intensive grammar lesson. Then came the teaching. We were divided roughly by the ages that we would be teaching. We soon came to realize that the lower grades were utilizing play dough and crayons while the upper-grades were limited to worksheets. This would need to be amended…
After four weeks, we completed the program by presenting a complete unit that we had built, with the help of Miriam. This unit included our lesson plans, handouts and other resources. There was a ‘good bye’ lunch and we were done. Somehow, what had seemed like an insurmountable task was behind us. We had made it. In the process, we learned a ton, gained confidence and created some wonderful friendships. We were reluctant to say goodbye, lingering as long as we could.
The true test is still yet to come. Will we be able to effectively implement what we’ve learned in our classrooms? To this end, we have a mentor to help us, as well as colleagues to help correct our mistakes. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have spent my summer working to improve my classroom and my curriculum."
Read Cheryl's entire post at the AVI CHAI Blog.
Get information and registration for Ivriyon 2015 here.