By Judy Maltz, Ha’aretz

Using big bold strokes, Tamara Freilich, a 22-year-old teaching intern from Washington,  D.C., writes the letter “I” on the blackboard.

“Who can name a word that begins with this letter?” she asks her fourth-graders at the Ussishkin elementary school in Netanya.

“Ikea!” a girl in the front row yells out. “Good job,” responds Freilich, as the girl jumps out of her chair and high-fives her classmates. Ignoring what might be considered unacceptable behavior in an American school, Freilich moves on. “Anyone else?” she asks.

“Igloo,” volunteers another student. “That’s right,” says Freilich, “but we don’t pronounce it ‘eegloo’ – we say ‘igloo’ with a soft ‘i.'”

A few minutes remain until the bell rings, announcing the end of class, but some of the children are clearly losing focus. One boy gets out of his seat and starts walking around the room. Another flicks his classmate on the back of the neck and pretends to be paying attention to the teacher when the classmate turns around. Those students still participating have by now largely forgotten the rule about raising their hand, but Freilich carries on unperturbed, pausing only once to say “shhhhh.”  Continue reading “In Israel, U.S. teaching interns abide by a different set of rules” »