These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

[PEP Student] Back in the Second Grade and Loving it

Posted on March 24, 2012 by Hannah Perlis

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This week is my last week of student teaching.  As I reflect on my time spent here in Massachusetts, I truly believe it has helped my professional career, as well as my personal perception.  I was a bit apprehensive before starting the internship.  I didn’t know if I would have ‘good students,’ a ‘good school,’ and a ‘good mentor.’  But, to my fortune, expectations were exceeded in all 3 categories.

There are 2 additions to our classroom. One is named Harriet (after Harriet Tubman) and the other is named Goldy (after Golda Meir).  They are both female rats. On the first day of student teaching, I didn’t know what to think.  I walked in and the 2nd graders smiled from ear to ear while holding a rat in their hand.  They looked up at me with their big eyes and asked if I wanted to hold a rat.  I politely declined….Then later that day, the rats were let out of their cages to run around the room so they could stretch their legs out.  I made sure I kept an eye on them so I knew where they were at all times.  3 weeks later- while I have not mastered keeping my cool while the rats take a stroll around the room, I am able to now say that they’re kind of…well…cute.  The way the students interact with them is so endearing and would make any rat-fearer have a change of heart.   I’ve taught lessons about the treatment of animals, as seen in the Torah, and incorporated their first Hevruta experience into the mix.  I asked them to evaluate their first Hevruta experience and many of them reported that they enjoyed hearing their partners’ ideas.  I think that is a great start! I can now say that just as my feelings for the rats have changed from discomfort to admiration (from afar), so too, my feelings about being a teacher in the classroom have changed from apprehension to confidence.

On Tuesday, I will be turning the big 2-5 and I couldn’t be happier spending my birthday with my students and mentor teacher!  I will be sharing some chocolate that I brought from Israel for my students.  That is, of course, if I can prevent myself from sampling a few of the treats first. 

-Hannah Perlis