06 Dec Changing Students’ Lives through Masa
Changing Students’ Lives through Masa
With previous experience teaching English in South Korea, Tisha is now enjoying being a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya and having a positive impact on her students.
Tisha, 28, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and grew up all over the U.S. as a military brat. Since August, she has been living in Netanya, Israel. During the week, she leaves her apartment shortly before eight in the morning every day, walking over to the school where she teaches English to six classes as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow (MITF).
“As Fellows, we bring value to our schools by offering our own experiences and sharing our cultures with our students, motivating students to want to learn English,” said Tisha. “I try to really get to know each of my students individually and believe as Fellows, we should all endeavor to be the teacher we loved growing up or the teacher we wish we would’ve had.”
The Jewish Agency’s Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program is a 10-month fellowship for post-college graduates (21-35) who want to make a difference by teaching English to children in the socio-economic periphery of Israel while immersing themselves in Israeli society.
Before becoming a MITF, Tisha actually taught English in South Korea. During that time, she received a bunch of emails from Masa about their Teaching Fellow program and felt compelled to look into it. Having previously lived in Israel for a time before going to college at George Mason University in Virginia, Tisha considered these emails to be a sign she should go back to Israel.
“Being part of MITF today, I’d say it was partly because of God’s plan and partly due to Masa’s sheer diligence,” Tisha shared. “Whether we’re here because we’d like to be teachers in the future, want to take a gap year, or just need a change of pace, MITF gives us the chance to experience a completely new way of life.”
Besides her work in the classroom and Netanya’s proximity to the beach, one of Tisha‘s favorite parts of the experience happens on a consistent weekly basis: getting together with her MITF peers to celebrate Shabbat together.
“We usually gather on Friday night to have Shabbat dinner potluck style. Then after everyone’s eaten, we’ll go around and say one nice thing about the person next to us until it comes full circle,” Tisha explained. “I can’t put into words just how happy this makes me. We’re really in this together.”
Tisha has also been enjoying exploring Israel and learning Hebrew through Ulpan classes with her fellow Masa participants, appreciating each moment and memory of her MITF experience so far.
“Israel offers us a completely new perspective and a chance to reinvent themselves while and immersing us into learning a new language that many of us have rarely heard outside of Israel. And we also are privileged to be a part of our students’ educations, because we can genuinely change their lives,” reflected Tisha. “I don’t know exactly what God has in store for me in the future, but I believe working as a MITF will help prepare me for that next step and journey.”