Monday, September 05, 2005

Big day!

Today was a special day. After much trepidation I re-entered the classroom for the first time after summer vacation.

Only during summer vacation did a lot of things change in the school where I teach, Yeshivat Bnai Akiva Mateh Binyamin in Beit El. After spending hours with the other two teachers trying to find the perfect textbooks, suddenly it all changed. Our numbers had been dropping the past few years, and I was psyching myself up for reduced teaching hours. Then all of a sudden it was announced that another yeshiva high school was closing, and there were negotiations to accept a few dozen, maybe even more than fifty, in our school.

All of a sudden, my hours went back to last year's, and all of our careful planning had to be redone. We divide the kids into homogeneous groups according to levels. I'm an EFL teacher, trying to get Israeli boys to read, write and speak English.

So today we greeted the 9th and 10 grades with tests, and tomorrow the 11th grade will get a similar present. Thank G-d it went well, and the boys were pretty well-behaved, at least the 9th grade. I guess they're still scared. The 10th took a few minutes to calm down, and then they, too took their tests. The 11th grade tomorrow.

I was pleasantly surprised. I remembered last year's opening, when teachers rushed anxiously into the teachers room the minute there was a break, muttering about the impossible kids.

And now for the tough part. I have to learn all their names.

I got home pretty quickly, thank G-d. And then supper, and then walked with my friend, and then...

I went to a birthday party, my neighbor's 90th, ad me'ah v'esrim, he should live to a hundred and twenty. It was lovely, a typical Shiloh mix from all over the world. First of all, the guest of honor is from Russia, and his daughter lives in Shiloh, and her daughter and family, so it's a four generation one.

I was on the Absorption Committee when they showed interest in coming. I remember; we met them and were impressed. They weren't religious then, but we just felt that it would be a wonderful thing to give them a chance. As one person said: "If Shiloh is not for them, they'll leave, but at least we can help them adjust to Israel."

And the rest is history...

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