The first time I went to Israel was after my freshman year of college, and it was an unbelievable experience. My ten days there were a complete whirlwind that really made me want to go back and spend more time there so I could get to know the country even better.
My mom actually found out about the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program, and I though "what better way to utilize my education degree than to go to an amazing country that I wanted to learn more about, and do what I love to do."
The English teacher at the school is your mentor, they help you and they give you students to work with. Every day you work with small groups, maybe larger groups or even one-on-one.
Israeli classrooms are incredible different. In general I found the schools to be quite a balagan--kind of a big mess and very disorganized--but the great part about it was that because I was a volunteer, they respected me. Every time the kids saw me, they were so excited and made me feel so welcome.
I think I really did make an impact on the students at my school. They taught me a lot: they taught me that its OK to try and fail, because they were doing it in English and I certainly was doing it plenty in Hebrew.
Israel Teaching Fellows really impacted me both as a person and as an educator, and I think it also really showed me what I wanted in my classroom. I really valued those good relationships that I made with students and that really helped them grow, so I know that's what I want to do with my classroom here in America.
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
College: University of Indiana, Bloomington
City in Israel: Ramla-Lod
Fellowship Year: 2011-2012