Here’s what I came up with:
June 24, 2015
I began working as a Teacher’s Aide in my Temple Community following my Bat Mitzvah in 1991. Since then I have endeavored to make teaching, especially Jewish education, part of my life. Through my 18 years of religious school teaching, I have worked across many grade levels and subject areas including Judaic studies, the Holocaust, Jewish Arts & Culture and Biblical Drama. I have also worked at a Jewish day camp in multiple capacities, and as a one-on-one Religious school aide for a child with autism. I am currently teaching multiple grades at Temple Xxxxxx in Xxxxxxxx, XX and lead a group of girls in the Moving Traditions, Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing program. In teaching my students, I find I am constantly learning.
In working through all of these different environments, I have come to realize how much teaching really means to me, and how fulfilling it is. My experiences at camp have cemented my commitment to bring a sense of fun to learning. Working with children with learning disabilities has taught me to teach to multiple intelligences using as many different styles as necessary to meet my students where they are. As a youth mentor, I strive to cultivate a caring, safe community for teen girls to explore issues that are important to them through a Jewish perspective.
In the coming school year, I will have an amazing opportunity to lead a program at Temple Xxxxxxxx. This program is for families with Kindergarten and first grade children, featuring learning experiences for the parents as well. My role will be to teach the children and facilitate family learning experiences, while a Rabbi will lead the adult learning. I am very excited about this opportunity, am looking forward to the challenge, but I want to learn more.
I have taken seminars focusing on Holocaust Studies, Teen issues, learning styles and learning modalities. I read extensively to try to keep ahead of my students. I try to stay current on the news. I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching. In researching educational opportunities for myself, I received an email about Xxxxxx College’s M.A. in Jewish Education. As I scanned through the information, I thought to myself, “This is what I’ve been missing!”
I’ve put a great deal of thought into what kind of religious school educator I’d like to be, and how I can best reach my students. I came up with a wish list for myself that I’d like to share here.
- I want to be instrumental in creating positive Jewish experiences and establishing connections to the Jewish community for children, teens and families.
- I want to understand how to use non-traditional learning environments to facilitate Family participation in supplemental Religious education.
- I want to teach to multiple intelligences in multiple learning styles, experiences and modalities.
- I want to challenge students to think about Judaism’s stance on important social, environmental, political and personal issues/decisions. (In particular, LGBTQ rights, Body Positivity and Ethics, Social Justice and Building and Sustaining Community)
- I want to increase my foundational knowledge, skills and resources to help me share my passion for Jewish education with my students.
- I want to collaborate with and learn from other Jewish educators towards these goals.
I strongly feel that the program at Xxxxxx College would support me in my pursuit of these goals. The courses Xxxxxx offers would enhance my knowledge greatly, and give me the tools I need to go from being a good teacher, to a great teacher.
My principal often says that we are all standing on the shoulders of the previous generation, and nowhere is that more obvious to me than in the classroom. When I teach my students about the meaning behind our traditions, I know that we are instilling a sense of belonging; we connect them to past and future generations of Jews. When we light Shabbat candles and recite the blessings in class, my students share their memories of Shabbat observances with their parents and grandparents. Truly, one of my biggest sources of pride and fulfillment is seeing the faces of my students as they experience those moments of recognizing their family’s traditions in what we’re learning in class or as they begin to see the Jewish values in their everyday world.
With a Masters of Arts in Jewish Education from Xxxxxx College to support me, I could inspire and energize my students in deeper ways. I would be able to better challenge them to think about their place in the world as Jews, and give them stronger tools to carry their Religious education through their lives. I hope I will have the opportunity to study with you.