Being a teacher is not only about teaching others, but about continuously learning yourself. This, above all, is what I have come to realize as a participant in TCK’s Legacy Teaching Fellowship.

This is the first year that TCK has run this incredible program for students in grades 11 and 12. The program consists of weekly in-class workshops run by Ms. Socken, an inspiring English and drama teacher at TCK, as well as placements in Beit Rayim Synagogue’s supplementary Hebrew school. The Fellowship curriculum aims to educate aspiring teachers and give us a sense of the mysterious lesson-planning-essay-marking world that is a teacher’s reality.

The workshops with Ms. Socken have quickly become a highlight of my week. The set-up is much the same every Monday: the eight of us congregate in the Perlis boardroom, seated around a big table in comfy swivel chairs that make us feel exceptionally professional.  We begin our meetings with a snack (always a hit!) and chat about interesting classroom observations we made over the course of the week. We then move onto the topic of the day, which can range from classroom management to learning styles to promoting a positive mindset in students. We receive handouts and activities, but the sessions are primarily conversation-based, with interesting anecdotes from Ms. Socken’s experiences and a chance for us to share ideas as well. We always have such interesting discussions, and ninety minutes later we are still totally immersed, laughing and polishing off the last chocolate chip cookies.

The placement component of the program puts all that we learn in class into action as we join grades 4 to 7 Hebrew school classes at Beit Rayim. We mainly observe, keeping in mind all that we have learned in our sessions, and help out the students with classwork. We are also working towards teaching a lesson ourselves in the spring term! It has been such an interesting experience, seeing the workings of a classroom from a new perspective and applying what we are learning to a real life situation.

The best thing about the program overall, aside from all that we learn, of course, is the positive, collegial atmosphere. The eight of us have quickly become a community in which we are encouraged to share our thoughts and are made to feel that our ideas are just as important in the learning process as those of our teacher. This program has not only taught me so many practical skills of being a teacher, but it has also opened my eyes to the power of ongoing participatory learning. I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this invaluable program and to have created such wonderful memories with my Fellowship Family.

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