In no uncertain terms, Israel is DESPERATE for English teachers. All children study English from elementary school, some even from first grade and the State requires a high level of proficiency for the matriculation exams. These demands translate into many additional teaching hours per week. With the growing population and the added emphasis on English, the list of available positions expands daily. Not only can you get a job in almost any area of the country, one can begin teaching with very little teaching qualifications.
Anyone can cut an apple open and count the number of seeds. But, who can look at a single seed and count the trees and apples? …… Dottie Walters
Teaching can be exhausting, frustrating, and offer poor recompense. On the other hand - it can be exhilarating, fun and tremendously rewarding. “Nobody should go into the field if they don’t want to spend time in classroom teaching,” warns Dr. Trudy Zuckerman, director of English at the Achva Teachers College in the Negev. However, if you think you do want to teach, Israel is replete with opportunity.
An oleh/olah from an English-speaking country, with little or no teaching experience, is often preferred to the certified English teachers, either Israeli, or olim from South America or the Former Soviet Union.
For those with a college degree in English, literature or linguistics and any teaching experience, a summer course offered by the Ministry of Education may suffice. Armed with a general BA, an oleh/olah can probably obtain a teaching certificate within a year.
What is it like to teach school in Israel?
Maureen Rajuan, who made aliyah from Minnesota 30 years ago, began teaching English in a girls vocational school. She now teachers at Achva. “Teaching in Israel is not easy. Discipline problems can be overwhelming. This is particularly true in junior high school, where the schools are bigger and classes are mixed with all proficiency levels. The situation cools down again in high school because students are tracked according to ability. In matriculation-oriented high schools, students and their parents are interested in good grades and good test scores, and that is a real motivation to learn. In the vocational schools where kids don’t do a matriculation exam, they are not interested in English, and it is harder to motivate them.”
Maureen has high hopes for the new English language curriculum introduced by the Ministry of Education. “Through television, popular music and the internet, kids come into class knowing some English, and the old system which emphasized grammar, reading, writing and vocabulary was divorced from a teenagers’ reality. The new curriculum, which is divided into different domains - social interaction, access to information, presentation, appreciation of literature and culture, and language, is more relevant to kids. It also allows the teachers much more freedom and creativity. A teacher can direct students towards the internet, emphasize literature and character development, or tackle social issues, rather than present material in a straightlaced framework.
For information on getting started as an English teacher in Israel, click here .