Haaretz: Letters to the Editor: Responses to Arab English Teachers in Jewish Schools

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By Tamar Zilbershatz, Director of Service and Gap Programs at Masa Israel Journey

Another resource to address English teacher shortage

In response to “With Qualified English Teachers in Short Supply, Israel’s Jewish Schools Start Courting Arabs” (Haaretz.com, August 9).

Judy Maltz addresses the shrinking number of English teachers available to work in Israel’s schools. As the article shows, this is a critical issue — especially in the country’s periphery — and the Education Ministry has taken notice.

The influx of recently graduated Arab-Israeli teachers hired to work in Jewish schools is a welcome development that should be fully supported.

But there’s an additional resource, created through a partnership between the Education Ministry and Masa Israel, that could also help fill the void. Schools in Israel searching for extra bandwidth for English education should consider bringing in native English speakers living abroad who are eager to spend a year serving Israeli communities and gaining professional experience.

More and more, young people are seeing Israel as a prime destination for teaching English after college — right up there with Spain, China and South Korea. Through Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, we’ve brought hundreds of participants to more than a dozen Israeli communities from Netanya to Rahat, where they have a real impact tutoring in small groups and through one on one instruction. These are college graduates who come to Israel year after year to bolster their personal and professional growth, form lasting bonds with the country and make a positive difference in the lives of Israeli children.

So, as schools continue to identify solutions for the shortage of English teachers readily accessible, it’s worth highlighting the potential of this newly tapped resource.

Originally Published in Haaretz.

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