A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TALMA FELLOW

THE PERFECT DAY: GOING TO BED WITH A DREAM. WAKING UP WITH A PURPOSE.

A PROGRAM THAT VALUES THE INDIVIDUAL BUT CREATES A COMMUNITY:

The truth of the matter is, there is no one 'typical' day in the life of a TALMA Fellow. Our participants have unique experiences based on the classroom they're assigned, the students they work with, their placement location, the friends they choose, the co-teacher they partner with and even their personal interests. TALMA values the individuality of our participants, so although certain parts of the day are scheduled (e.g.: teaching hours are non-negotiable and the professional development programming is mandatory), how you spend your free time beyond that enables you to get what you want out of this experience and make it your own! Here, we introduce you to a few of our alumni and let them give you a glimpse into "A Day In The Life Of A TALMA Fellow" as they experienced it!

A DAY IN THE TALMA LIFE OF:

Click on a photo to read that Fellow's TALMA story...

 

Ryan Noshay

The Independent Track

Jerusalem

Carly Weisel

The Original Track

Nazareth Illit

Barry Shafrin

The Original Track

Nazareth Illit

Debra Feinberg

The Independent Track

Jerusalem

THEIR STORIES:

Name: Ryan Noshay

Placement: The Independent Track

Assigned Class: 3rd Grade, Jerusalem

 

Backstory: Ryan graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the fall of 2009 with an Elementary Education degree. Following university, Ryan joined Teach For America where he taught third grade at Glenview Elementary in Nashville, Tennessee. Presently, Ryan teaches in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

 

Ryan's Placement School:

I taught third grade to a class of approximately 20 students from a very diverse demographic. My school overlooked the valley and consisted of a very warm and inviting entrance to three separate floors of classrooms. My co-teacher was amazing and she truly enhanced my experience in and outside of the classroom. We were able to work together to change not only our students' mindsets in regards to English, but their general attitude towards education itself.

 

A 'Typical' Morning:

I would typically wake up around 6:30am in preparation for the day. This would include getting all necessary materials together and a final walk through of teaching points. Breakfast would either be from the market down the street, or eggs made by someone in our apartment. Our apartment was conveniently located in the epicenter of Jerusalem, and busses to our school were right down the steps. We would wait for the bus, get on, and be at our school within 15 minutes.

 

The School Day:

Our school day would begin with adding slides to a PowerPoint and talking to our co-teachers in the conference room before students showed up in the morning. When the bell rang we would make our way to our rooms to a very energetic group of kids either calmly seated in their seats, or chasing the school cat from getting into the classroom. We would warm up with introductions and hellos in English and Hebrew, and begin with a refresher of words and skills broached the day before. After a warm-up exercise, a mix of English games and new material would be presented. At times the class was calm and engaged and at others chaotic and in need of a Pop-See-Ko brain break or Golden Boy interlude. The toughest part was reigning in our kids after lunch and recess towards the end of the school day.

 

After The Bell:

Upon the bell ringing at the end of the day, kids running out of the classroom, and a sigh of relief that you survived yet another day, we would clean up and make our way back to the conference room. Once seated we would take a deep breath, drink some coffee, and recollect on positives and negatives throughout the day. Once the daily ritual was complete, we would hop back on the bus towards home, food, a greatly needed nap, and free time most days. Free time would include reading a book, walking throughout the city, exploring the markets, or walking down to the park or coffee shops surrounding our apartment.

 

Professional Development TIme:

Professional Development opportunities at Lev Yerushalayim were varied. They included entrepreneurial enterprises, best practices within a classroom with limited English Knowledge and varying opportunities within the community itself. Most of the Professional Developments were in house, but for a few, we traveled to neighboring communities and delved into projects that were being completed, and talked about how to help the people, parks, and open spaces all around Jerusalem. Most were meaningful projects in the sense that they were helpful in enabling us to understand what was being done around us, how to best help ourselves, and most importantly how to alter our teaching methods to pack the most into each day - to not only successfully teach our students, but to learn from them as well.

 

The late afternoon/evening:

After TALMA commitments were finished, most of our time was spent exploring nearby restaurants under the recommendations of our Mentors, Co-teachers, and friends who had previously explored throughout the day. When eating was not necessary, you could frequently see us at the market having drinks and unwinding after a short, but stressful day at school. Although there was always plenty of work you could spend your time completing, hanging out with individuals in the group was definitely a priority and we became very close throughout our stint in Jerusalem and Israel.

 

Dinner is very late in Israel and because of this it took a little while to get accustomed to the different eating styles and time allotments. However, once properly adjusted we would set off around 9 O'clock in search of something tasty to eat within the markets, a popular dinner locale, some hummus, or a slice of pizza from across the street.

 

The Day Is Done:

Sleep varied from anywhere between the hours of 10pm to 2am.

 

Final Thoughts For Future Fellows:

There is always more you can do, but make sure to take a step back and enjoy your experience. You are in a new place, with new people, make sure you take the time to get to know your fellow participants, learn from them, and make some lifelong relationships along the way.

Name: Carly Weisel

Placement: The Original Track

Assigned Class: 4th Grade, Nazareth Illit

 

Backstory: Carly is a middle school literacy teacher in the Philadelphia public school system by day and a drug and alcohol counselor for teens with violent & drug felonies by night. She received her BS Ed in Secondary Education and BA in English from Temple University and a Masters in School and Mental Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania. Carly is certified as a school counselor and teacher of English and Social Studies.

 

Carly's Placement School:

I taught in a "green" school, where the focus of the school during the regular year is on the environment. The school had gardens and greenhouses as well as plenty of spaces outdoors for children to play. I taught a 4th grade class with about 17 students. One of my students was deaf, so we were in a room built to support acoustics, and I was set up with a small microphone which was directly hooked up to the child's hearing aids. My co-teacher was an Israeli-Arab who taught in the school during the year, which really helped because she knew all of the students, their levels, and what each student needed. My co-teacher was not only able to help me explore the Israeli school system, but also what it means to be an Israeli-Arab.

 

A 'Typical' Morning:

I was lucky and had a co-worker who lived by Nof Tavor (the hotel where we lived), so I was able to get a ride to school. This allowed me to have a few extra minutes in the morning to wake up, eat breakfast, and pack a lunch (because I didn't always love the lunches that were provided for us in the North). Breakfast was usually a hard boiled egg, toast, coffee, and some sort of fruit. Sometimes it would be cereal, or even tuna. I couldn't get around the idea of eating vegetables for breakfast!

 

The School Day:

My co-teacher and I would spend the mornings in the faculty room drinking coffee and catching up with other teachers in our building. In our school (and I believe most of Israel), students enter the room before the teachers, and when adults came into the room, the children stood until we told them to sit. My co-worker did not want to break their school year routine, so we did this every morning, which was not what I was used to as an American teacher...But I'll admit, I loved it! We had an advanced class, so we started every day by having the students copy a dialogue from the board, which we created based on what we had done the day before or what we were going to do that day. The students would practice the dialogues at their desks, and then in front of the class. (By the end, the students were writing and performing their own dialogues.) Then, we would introduce new vocabulary and complete a project based on the vocabulary we learned. For instance, we taught zoo animals, so after students learned that words, they drew animals and we created a zoo. This would take us up to or first break. After our first break, we would normally practice the song for our contest, which would take us to our second break. After our second break, we would play a vocal game, do an activity from GoNoodle and practice our song again. Then, students would journal about our day before we went to our end of the day, school wide meeting.

 

After The Bell:

My co-teacher and I would make sure our students got to their bus or parent. Then, we would snack a little, take a little time to plan and create for the next day before a co-worker would take me and a couple other girls home. We normally got home before the bus, so this gave me time to just relax and decompress on my own.

 

Professional Development TIme:

In the North, we had a lot of great professional development opportunities. One took us to a neighboring town where we learned about an art movement that was helping the community. We did group activities, got to know each other, took a tour of their building, had a community dinner, then went to a bar for an open mic night which was amazing! We also went to a workshop where we got to do science based activities, which was so interesting. I loved getting to see what was going on in the communities, and how citizens were trying to better where they were living. These happened to be long nights, which could sometimes take a toll on me the next morning, but worth it!

 

The late afternoon/evening:

If we didn't have an engagment with TALMA, there were a lot of things to do. Some of us would get together to work out (for me, this was not a normal thing). Most of the time, we went to the pool before dinner. Other times, we explored the neighboring cities for dinner. My co-teacher was great about coming to get me to show me around Nazareth, take me out and give me a glimmer of what her life was like. Her mom made me food and gave me spices to take back to the US.

 

If TALMA provided dinner, we had group meals which were really good. Lots of schnitzel, pasta, hummus, etc. If we were on our own, we would order in or go out for sushi. For those craving meat and cheese together, there are great Arab restaurants in Nazareth that my co-teacher took me to!

 

The Day Is Done:

I would go to sleep anywhere between 9-11pm (depending on the day's events).

 

Final Thoughts For Future Fellows:

Take advantage of the weekends! Go explore or take time for yourself to relax! It will truly be one of the best summers of your life!


 

 
 

Name: Barry Shafrin

Placement: The Original Track

Assigned Class: 3rd Grade, Nazareth Illit

 

Backstory: A Midwesterner hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Barry completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard with a degree in psychology and theater. Now living in New York City, Barry works as an actor and educator. Over the past several years he has piloted educational programs through a variety of tutoring agencies, private schools, after school programs, and the New York Historical Society while also perfoming in venues Off-Broadway.

 

Barry's Placement School:

I was placed in an elementary school with an Israeli co-teacher who taught half our class during the regular school year (we were a hybrid of two different schools) and another TALMA Fellow.

 

A 'Typical' Morning:

I was usually up by 6:15 AM so I could make it to our free breakfast before 7:00 AM and have some time to catch up on the news and assemble my thoughts before jumping into school. We all bussed over together from the kibbutz to our various schools.

 

The School Day:

The first 90 minutes was when you needed to get all instruction in, we tried to reserve the last 2 hours for games and craft projects...there was no learning happening then. Arable usually made another girl cry around 11:30, right before our second break!!

 

After The Bell:

Nap!

 

Professional Development TIme:

This depends on the schedule. If it's a seminar session, it's walk to the local university for a large lecture followed by some small breakaway groups.

 

The late afternoon/evening:

Usually some time planning with my co and building materials for the next day. Then, more nap...and maybe some pool time!

 

The Day Is Done:

I usually tried to be asleep before 11, but I'm a procrastinator to the core. 

 

Final Thoughts For Future Fellows:

Listen to everyone's advice, but don't listen too closely!

 

Name: Debra Feinberg

Placement: The Independent Track

Assigned Class: 3rd Grade, Jerusalem

 

Backstory: A Connecticut native, Debra has lived, worked and studied around the world. Holding a BA in Political Science and a Masters in Elementary Education, she taught third and fourth grade literacy in Charlotte, North Carolina as a Teach For America corps member before heading overseas for a series of international teaching experiences, including a JDC Entwine Fellowship teaching in the slums of Mumbai, India, five months in East Africa and two summers in Israel with REALITY and TALMA.

 

Debra's Placement School:

I taught third grade at Keshet Talpaz in Talpiot, Jerusalem. My class fluctuated in size but generally I had between 25-32 students of mostly Jewish-Israeli and Ethiopian backgrounds. I was fortunate to get my wonderful mentor teacher as my co-teacher. Though we drove each other crazy at times because we are both big personalities with different styles of teaching, we also learned a lot from each other. For me, I had to learn to loosen up and go with the flow and Gilad learned the value of setting disciplinary expectations. He also reminded me the importance of positive reinforcement - something we brought to our classroom daily in the form of Gilad's chants which were love by our students. Their favorite? "A-W-E, S-O-M-E...Awesome, Awesome, Awesome are we!"

 

A 'Typical' Morning:

We had four girls living in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Jerusalem and I'm a morning shower girl, so I set my alarm for 6:15 am so I could beat my roommates to the shower! I'd usually gulp a chocolate croissant for breakfast as I was throwing my clothes on...usually with OMI's Cheerleader playing while my roommate and I pumped eachother up for the day ahead. I usually made it to the lobby area with a few minutes to spare and my friends and I would cross-check lesson plan ideas to see if anyone had something worth stealing or sharing. If it was a really good day, one of my friends would pick up an extra Cofix coffee and meet me with it at our bus stop! Our bus came around 6:50 am and I was the person who Whatsapped the late sleepers to make sure they made it at the last second. During the bus ride to school my co-teacher would read me news highlights from the newspaper and try to teach me about Israel.

 

The School Day:

The first thing I would do when I got to school would be to head to my classroom, turn on the computer and load my PowerPoint for the day. While I set that up, my co-teacher, Gilad, made us coffee, then we'd talk through our morning game plan. My students would arrive early so we'd put on music and they'd sing and help me prepare the materials for the day. My class combined two classes into one so there were a lot of rivalries among the boys and girls which meant there was never a dull moment. I also had a student who was deaf which meant Gilad and I had to share a microphone headset which worked with his cochlear implant. I never quite got used to hearing myself on a mic! We would play games and learn new vocabulary until lunch time, then put our morning vocab words to practice in the afternoon with hands on craft projects. During lunch and break time the girls loved to play with my hair while I wolfed down hummus sandwiches and watched the organized chaos that is an Israeli 'recess.'

 

After The Bell:

By the time the bell rang I would be wiped - but Gilad and I always tried to share highlights of the day while tidying up our classroom. We'd 'steal' hot lunches of shnitzel from the afterschool program, then eat lunch with the other teachers at our school while debriefing and sharing ideas for the next day. Then, it was back on the bus to Lev Yerushalayim - and I usually fell asleep before getting woken by Gilad at our stop!

 

Professional Development TIme:

I really enjoyed the professional development sessions because we met really inspired individuals. One of my favorite sessions was a social entrepreneurship tour of Jerusalem where we got to visit social ventures and see them in action.

 

The late afternoon/evening:

Free time usually involved eating, competitive sessions of Bananagrams and dancing with my roommate. At night, we'd venture out into Jerusalem to enjoy a drink, try a new restuarant or explore the city. Some of my favorite memories of the summer involve our evenings out: Dancing in Machane Yehuda's alleyways; watching the late night water show at Teddy Park; or the surreal experience of attending a screener for the Jerusalem Film Fesival at Mauristan Square with The Old City as the backdrop.

 

The Day Is Done:

I'm a night owl so I stayed up late prepping my materials for the next day, then fell asleep when my eyes were no longer willing to stay open.

 

Final Thoughts For Future Fellows:

The beauty of TALMA is in the relationships you form. I made so many close friends and it enabled me to experience Israel in a way I haven't previously experienced it. The Israeli teachers took me into their hearts, homes and cars, showed me the hidden gems of their city and made me feel connected to Israel in a way that only can come out of an experience like TALMA. The summer ends, but the relationships don't, so keep the people around you at the forefront of your mind.