The Israel Ministry of Education endorses ESRA's English Tutoring Program (ETP)
And the best news is that anyone can take part!
English is the recognized global language. It connects people from diverse countries; it allows one to manage abroad; it enables engaging electronic media; it is a gateway to global business, markets, and academia. In short, it is an important school subject and a child's success in this subject is extremely important.
Unfortunately, our school system suffers from under-budgeting, under-staffing and overcrowded classrooms where, in order to succeed, children often need the extra help of a private tutor. Not everyone can afford such extra help, and it is often those who need it most who must go without.
A need identified – ESRA to the rescue!
Since the early 1990's, when the late John Vernon initiated the volunteer tutoring project in Rishonim High School in Herzliya, ESRA has been sending its volunteers into Israeli schools providing free tutoring to help children succeed in their English studies.
So how does it work?
ETP Branch Coordinator of the participating ESRA branch liaises with the area's English Inspector from the Ministry of Education, and contacts local schools to coordinate the hours designated for English tuition in the school's timetable with those indicated by volunteers as convenient for them. The only requirement for the volunteers is fluent English.
There are worksheets and Tips for Tutors prepared by our ETP Professional Consultant (see box insert), and available from the Branch Coordinators. The schools' English teachers also give guidelines and support.
Tutoring takes place in the school during school hours, for one or two weekly hours, in either a one-on-one session or with a small group of 2 to 3 students. The participating schools range from primary to high schools.
"Thank you for giving us tools to speak more confidently." - A high school student preparing for oral exam, Ramat Hasharon
The "odd couple" pairing of adult English speakers with Israeli schoolchildren has proven to be mutually educational beyond English lessons, and fun for both.
Volunteers report that they love doing it, and the letters of thanks and appreciation received from children and teachers is evidence of the success of the interaction.
"You gave my pupils a wonderful opportunity… to prepare for their oral exam in English, and of course to get to know a real gentleman …We would be delighted to have you back in September." - Thank you letter from an appreciative teacher, Ramat Hasharon
At the end of August, to mark the beginning of the school year, a meeting with all ETP Branch Coordinators was held to sum up the previous year's work and achievements, share feedback from the schools and tutors, propose possible ways of improvement, and discuss plans for the coming year and its new challenges.
is was pleased to have hosted at this meeting Dr. Tziona Levi, Chief Inspector for English in the Ministry of Education, and Ms. Perry Edri Amiri, Head of the Education Ministry's new initiative, Support for Teachers Program.
We are also proud to announce that through the efforts of ESRA's General Manager, Sunny Marshansky, together with ETP National Coordinator, Bernice Meyers and Professional Consultant, Lola Katz, ESRA's ETP has been recognized this year by the Israel Ministry of Education as an official provider in their Support for Teachers Program.
"I feel that the two hours a week I give is so little compared to what I receive from the kids in appreciation and joy." - ETP tutor, Herzliya
Celebrating accomplishments is always a good thing, and a number of branches held end-of-year appreciation events for their volunteer tutors.
In Herzliya, Marise Gordon, ETP Branch Coordinator, hosted 16 tutors with dinner and a sharing of experiences.
Twenty of the 50 Raanana tutors met at Beit Fisher to share experiences together with Bernice Meyers, Lola Katz, and Glenis Bertfield, ESRA Co-Vice Chair and head of ESRA Raanana Branch.
In Modiin, ETP participants were invited by the Municipality to an Appreciation Evening for all volunteers in education, with special certificates given to ETP volunteers.
The Netanya branch held an end-of-year coffee morning thanking its ETP volunteers, who also received special thanks from their respective schools.
And in both Ramat Hasharon and Herzliya, local schools held a special event and presented tokens of appreciation.
"I gave myself a gift by going to tutor". - ETP tutor, Herzliya
To date, 12 ESRA branches are involved in ETP, bringing 280 volunteer tutors into 85 schools across the country, from Karmiel to Beersheva and nearly all points in between.
ESRA is lucky to have Lola Katz as professional consultant and leader of tutor training programs. Lola has been involved with English language teaching since 1971 when she was a founder member of the English department at Beit Berl teacher's training college. She holds an MA from TAU in teaching English as a Second Language, has written course books for high schools and has taught Hebrew speakers English at every level.