Erin Goldsman is originally from Montreal, Canada. She graduated from McGill University with a Bachelors of Education. Today, you can find Erin living and teaching in Netanya, Israel with Masa Israel Teaching Fellows and Israel Outdoor Next (The Ion).
Q: Why Israel?
I was blessed with the opportunity to join the first initiative of the CIE Birthright Young Adult Division this past July, 2018. It was my first time in Israel and I knew almost immediately that my seven day trip wouldn’t be enough time for me in this country. I absolutely loved the culture, the easy going yet also rushed personalities, the diversity amongst the people and let’s be honest- the food!
I had heard about Masa and as my days in Israel passed I knew that I had to reach out to them. With three weeks to go before the upcoming school year, I worked with the Masa team to get all my documents organized so that I can participate and live in Israel for the upcoming school year!
Q: Tell us what your program is like?
Masa Israel Teaching Fellows is a ten month program that allows for graduates to live and teach in different cities around Israel. As an educator from Canada, I was given an Israeli co-teacher to work and learn with. My co-teacher Neomi has helped me better understand the students abilities in English, the government requirements and the overall learning goals for these students. It has been wonderful to have someone to collaborate with on a daily basis. Together we work on lessons that highlight teaching styles in Israel and Canada. We are really learning a lot from one another!
Q: What is your favorite moment so far?
The MITF program allows for us to have many opportunities both within and outside of the classroom. As a group of educators from around the world, we get together for different learning sessions or shabbatons and learn about our differences and similarities.
The best experience that I was able to take part in thus far is the General Assembly. Israel was the host of this year’s Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly with the theme of “Let’s Talk”. The discussion throughout the GA was concerning diaspora and Israeli jewery. We had the opportunity to hear from many innovative speakers across Israel and north America, including Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Q: Do you have any special teaching tips or advise on what to expect from working with Israeli kids?
Israeli kids are like all kids across the world, they want to be heard, respected and loved! The relationship that teachers have with their students is a lot more casual, which is something I am getting used to. In Israel they call you by your first name and they sometimes ask you personal questions that students in Canada wouldn’t dare even think of! These students (or pupils as they call them here!) have definitely kept me on my toes!
Q: How do you think teaching with MITF will help you on your journey to a meaningful career and future?
As an educator, taking a year to teach abroad is one of the best choices I could have done. I was very confident teaching in Canada and I was ready for a new challenge. Teaching in a new country with a new language has been challenging! It has taught me to take my time and to embrace different curriculums and teaching strategies.
Q: Any advice for the next cohort of MITF or newcomers to live in Israel?
Be open minded! Expect the unexpected!
It will most definitely be a hard transition in the beginning, but you will also be gaining a brand new family with the participants living with you that will be there to help support you along the way.