Monday, November 16, 2015

My Return to an Old Haunt

Last week, I went back to the yeshiva high school (Bnei Binyamin) in Beit El, where I had taught English for eleven 11 years. There were good years and bad years, enjoyment and sorrow, success and failure and lots of good friends. Actually, that's how I had gotten the job. I hadn't been trained to be an English Teacher. I hadn't a clue to teach reading, writing, spelling etc.

The only pedagogy I had ever learned was in the Fred Burk "Leadership and Choreography" course I had taken as a representative of NCSY at the Jewish Agency during my first year of college. And one thing for sure is that teaching Israeli Folk Dance and English aren't quite the same, except that you have to make it fun no matter what the talents of the students.

About eighteen 18 years ago, just after the beginning of the school year, I got a call from Toba Frankel, a friend, who was the English coordinator in the yeshiva high school in Beit El. She told me that she and her husband David, who was then principal, had decided that I was the perfect person to teach a couple of remedial classes. It didn't put them off that I had absolutely no experience; we had spent much time waiting around schools on parent-teacher nights discussing education, learning problems and our children's educational needs etc. She promised to train me, and she did.

It ended up being a perfect match. I had a wonderful and successful time teaching the boys who had thought they could never learn English. I even took the David Yellin Teachers College's certification course and became a licensed English Teacher. My only problem was teaching regular classes, so that when there were no longer any remedial classes plus transportation difficulties and reduced enrolment, I found myself out of a job. That's why I now work as a salesperson in Yafiz.

So, nu, why was I back there last week? Again I had gotten a call from Toba. This time she told me that after all these years (decades) David was officially retired (after years of being principal he had become "just" an English Teacher) and there would be a party in his honor.

It was truly wonderful seeing so many old friends together. Some of them I see in Sha'ar Binyamin and are now customers of mine at Yafiz.

The Frankels and I are among the very old generation in Mateh Binyamin, our regional council. Our children were in the first (early) graduating classes when the schools were small and in temporary structures. The Frankels, as teachers and administrators, were truly pioneers in their contributions to local education. With all of the deserving praise they received that night, I don't know if the younger generation truly comprehends their contributions. But maybe that is the sign of success.

I look at the history of education here, and I see the thirty plus years as rapid growth, but for young people, thirty years is a very long time. That younger generation, which has no memory of the pre-June, 1967 Israel sees a normalcy and permanence of the Jewish Life in Judea and Samaria that Israel's Left can't comprehend or accept.

May David and Toba Frankel be truly blessed with long, enjoyable and healthy retirements. And may the younger generation of educators come to them for training, because they will not find anyone more qualified to teach and advise.

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