TALMA: Alumni Testimonials

Why TALMA? In the words of our Fellows...

Special Summer with Special People

Shad Sommers, English Teacher, Massachusetts

It's impossible to truly express how special TALMA is without experiencing it yourself. This past summer I was fortunate enough to teach and learn both in the classroom and outside of it. TALMA is such a unique program and opportunity. Initially, you feel like you've been catapulted out of your comfort zone, but soon feel like you are at home.

 

Teaching beside an Israeli co-teacher and learning about education in Israel while being able to share my experience and expertise from teaching in Boston created a fruitful atmosphere for everyone involved. While I couldn't understand a lot of what the students said to me, there is no doubt that we made a special connection after the three weeks of instruction were over. Whether they were climbing on me like a jungle gym at recess or painting all over the desks, we were learning from each other.

Just as special to me, were the absolutely incredible teachers I was living with in the North for the month-long program. As I was/am new to teaching, being surrounded by decades and decades of combined teaching experience aided me not only in Israel, but back home as well. These are people I went to with any questions I had and will continue to go to with questions that come up.

 

It's always interesting meeting and living with new people in a new place, but it is a lot easier when all of the people you are with are like-minded, intelligent individuals that truly care about helping people. From bus rides to our schools most mornings to weekend trips to Haifa, I connected with people and made relationships that I will hold for the rest of my life. Everyday I walk into my office at school and look at the picture of my TALMA class and my Israeli co-teacher, thinking of when I'll be able to see them next. I think that says it all right there.

A Meaningful Experience Teaching in Israel!

Judith Goltz, Instrumental Music Teacher, Greater Philadelphia

I have taught English as a Foreign Language with TALMA for the past two summers. Both years I served underprivileged students in the city of Jerusalem, and can't wait to return for a third summer next year!

 

TALMA is a well-organized, professional development program for young teachers seeking a meaningful teaching experience during their summer off. Participants participate in an enrichment program and professional development workshops while also co-teaching in an Israeli classroom. The balance between work and play is appropriate, and participants can choose from a number of different "tracks" to suit their traveling preferences.

 

In Jerusalem, the most independent track, TALMA teachers live in an extended-stay hotel in the heart of the city (close to the markets, shopping, and night life), and grow to feel like residents of the city. We get two free weekends to travel, and two organized weekends to share experiences with the TALMA teachers stationed in different regions. Both years I have had so much fun, developed meaningful relationships with Israeli teachers, built strong connections with my Israeli students, and improved my own teaching/reflective practices to boot! I highly recommend it!

Full Heart and Belly

Tracy Messer, Teacher of the Deaf, Greater NY

TALMA was an experience I couldn't have gotten any place else. It threw me out of my comfort zone in the most amazing way. I learned to connect and build relationships with students without sharing a common language. It taught me new things about myself as a teacher and a person. Through my experience with TALMA, I am able to bring back new ideas and techniques to my home classroom. Outside of the classroom, TALMA provides such a warm and welcoming community. My placement was my new home. I found myself missing my room and new family once I left. TALMA also allows some free time to explore different areas or just relax and recharge your batteries. And hummus....need I say more? I left Israel with my heart and belly full.

Best Experience I've Ever Had!

Samantha Bickel, Special Education Math, NYC

I can't speak highly enough about this program! I was lucky enough to spend the Summer of 2016 teaching in Northern Israel with TALMA. There was nothing more inspiring than spending time planning, discussing, and creating with such incredible and passionate educators. I will be a far better teacher in my career in the U.S. because of my fellow TALMA teachers.

 

My students reminded my why I got into education to begin with - I will never forget the relationships we formed in just three short weeks together (despite our language barrier!). My favorite memories will always be playing soccer in the hot Israeli sun during recess with the students practicing their English by telling me the score and complimenting each other, or when one of my students who had never taken English before approached me the last week to ask to use the bathroom in perfect, unprompted English.


Beyond teaching, I feel so lucky to have made so many special friendships with like-minded, passionate educators who shared this incredible experience with me. Our location in the North was a great way to feel like part of the community and explore a part of Israel I would normally not have the chance to. After school and planning, we would go swimming at our Kibbutz or take a bus to any of the many neighboring areas for hiking, shopping, dinner, drinks, dancing, and more. And of course, experiencing a new culture means learning some of the language, and eating lots of the local food.

 

Our two free weekends were an awesome opportunity to travel with new friends or visit old friends/family in Israel. I spent one weekend in Tel Aviv exploring the cities and incredible beaches and the other renting a car and hiking/wine tasting in the Golan Heights, visiting Haifa, and camping on the beach. In four weeks, I experienced so many new things and was pushed (in a good way) out of my comfort zone. I'm so happy I chose to participate in TALMA because of all the positive impacts it had on me as well as the benefits of our students having English immersion classes.

 

I left Israel a far better teacher, a more cultured person, a more creative and innovative educator, and a truly better human. I'm so excited to return to Israel and TALMA again in the coming summer(s).

Teach with TALMA!

Rena Forester, Lead Teacher at Busan Global Village, Korea

I don't even know where to begin with all of the positive things I could say about TALMA. The leaders of TALMA get how to run a program that has a clear vision and they select wonderful people to turn the vision into reality. Having the opportunity to teach in the periphery of Israel will allow you to see the country through a new lens, build new relationships, and undoubtedly grow both as an educator and as a person.

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