Meet Sara Rudolph
“Getting to share a classroom and co-teach with an Israeli English teacher has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned so much and grown as an educator in so many ways,” said Sara Rudolph.
MITF with Ramah Israel was the perfect match for Sara’s interest in spending a year in Israel while utilizing her bachelors degree in early childhood and childhood education from SUNY Cortland.
From East Meadow, NY, Sara was assigned to a small school in the East Pisgat Ze’ev area of Jerusalem. She brings to the position her experience working last year full-time as a permanent substitute teacher in an elementary school, as well as teaching kindergarten and first grade Hebrew school.
Sara, 24, is pleased to be able to interact with every student in her school here in Jerusalem. “I teach every student in the building — first through sixth grades, including first and fourth grade special education,” she shared proudly.
According to Sara, every aspect of her job excites her, but most of all she enjoys seeing how much her students are not only improving their English skills but also growing in confidence.
“The first few weeks the kids were shy and afraid to speak to me. Now every morning I look forward to the kids running up to me give me hugs, saying ‘good morning,’ asking ‘how are you?’ and eager to engage in conversation with me,” Sara said.
The only drawback so far has been the language barrier she has encountered in interactions with school faculty and administration. “When I have an idea of a project I want to do with the kids, I can’t express it in my own way to my principal. I have to explain it to my co-teacher who then has to ask for me,” she said.
This, however, has not stopped Sara from implementing her creative ideas, some of which she recently shared with other fellows at an MITF workshop.
Despite having completed her Hebrew school education all the way through 12th grade at her local Reform temple, Sara did not come away able to speak Hebrew. Being in Israel this year has helped her strengthen her Jewish identity, and learning to speak Hebrew has a big part of that.
“With the ulpan MITF provides, I’ve had so much fun learning the Hebrew language. My Hebrew speaking skills have grown so much and I can now order my coffee in Hebrew with confidence!” Sara said.
This skill has come in handy, as Sara enjoys spending time with other MITF fellows, often hanging out at cafes in the Baka neighborhood, where she shares an apartment with seven roommates. Other favorite spots are the Mahane Yehuda market, downtown, and the Old City. Making pizza from scratch for Shabbat dinners spent together is also a highlight for Sara.
Sara has brought her love of movies and music with her to Israel. Having grown up going to the cinema every weekend, she was excited to go to her first movie in Israel. A flutist for the last 14 years, and now learning to play the ukulele, Sara was thrilled to experience a live music performance here.
“I’ve been to one concert so far in Israel and even though I didn’t understand any of the words, it was so much fun and one of my favorite nights in Israel so far!” she said.