Bonnie Sharfman is a DeLeT Instructor, Clinical Educator, Credential Coordinator, and Induction Coordinator.
Although this is a CE profile, I wear many hats at DeLeT, and thought I would describe each of my roles.
Starting in 2007, Michelle Shwartz and I wrote the standards to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for DeLeT to offer a preliminary multiple subject teaching credential. Since that time, as DeLeT Credential Coordinators we have continued to update the standards, lead the accreditation team, and support DeLeT fellows in completing the preliminary state credential requirements.
As a consequence of offering a preliminary credential, DeLeT developed an induction program to support DeLeT alumni to “clear” their preliminary credentials. In 2009-2010 I wrote the induction standards to the CTC and was named the DeLeT Induction Program Coordinator. With the help of the seven induction program clinical educators, over the past four years we have supported over 30 DeLeT alumni and beginning teachers in Jewish day schools to clear their credentials.
I also teach the Physical Education & Jewish Values course. I began my teaching career at Temple Emanuel Community Day School as a PE teacher. I’m always thrilled to see the developmental growth of the fellows as beginning teachers by the time they take PEJV in the spring.
My favorite role in DeLeT is as a Clinical Educator! I am so lucky that I have been able to develop professional relationships with the fellows and beginning teachers who I have mentored in both DeLeT and the DeLeT Induction Program. I am honored to work with so many wonderful colleagues, mentors, principals, and heads of school throughout California. My greatest satisfaction is to see the DeLeT fellows and alumni grow as teachers in their roles as Jewish educators, touching the lives of their students and school communities.
Pictured below are the DeLeT fellows participating in Bonnie’s PEJV class, experiencing how learning can be enhanced by physical engagement.
This week we meet Paula Frost, 3rd grade teacher at the Wise School in Los Angeles.
Throughout my thirty plus years as a teacher at Stephen S. Wise, I have been asked to participate in various programs, chair committees, and attend educational conferences, but nothing has been more rewarding than being a DeLeT mentor.
The outstanding faculty at Wise is always looking for ways in which we can improve our ability to differentiate our teaching and reach out to our students. Through our partnership with USC Rossier School of Education, students have acquired assorted prompts and strategies, some of which are to identify the big idea, look for details, and make observations using multiple perspectives. We also ask our students to continue to question. As a DeLeT mentor we encourage our interns to do much the same, “to notice”, “to wonder”, and “to ask”. To dialog with an intern is truly a gift for it has allowed me to think and question my own teaching.
This is my third time mentoring a future Jewish educator. I am so grateful to Michael Zeldin for asking me to be a part of this outstanding program. Meeting DeLeT staff, and learning along with fellow mentors, professors, and clinical educators is truly a blessing. Thank you!
This week we meet Rebecca Feld, first grade teacher at Pressman Academy in Los Angeles.
I have been in Jewish day school education my whole life. As a child, I attended Jewish private schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. I received my bachelor’s degree from Boston University in 1989 and my master’s degree from Hunter College. I spent the next 24 years teaching in Jewish education in New York and Los Angeles.
I had been teaching first and second grade in a few different Jewish day schools and always commented that no one really knew the day to day struggles that I faced. My assistants were almost always parents who needed financial aid for their children and were not in the least bit interested in my teaching philosophy. They were amazing assistants, don’t get the wrong idea, but no one cared why I chose one method over another. No one questioned or challenged my teaching on a daily basis. They just did what I told them to do because after all I was the teacher in the room.
And then two years ago, after only one year teaching first grade at Pressman, I became a DeLeT mentor. I was flattered when I was asked to participate in this program, but I was also nervous at the prospect of someone questioning my teaching and methodologies. Will I have the answers? Will I actually be able to prove if my “tried and true methods” worked? I immediately began to think about fellow colleagues that have had a positive and lasting impact on my teaching career. What made the informal support they offered me so meaningful? I was so excited to be able to provide for new teachers the caring support that I had received informally.
This is my third year as a DeLeT mentor and I am thrilled to be a part of this program. As we begin each morning meeting with Responsive Classroom, my DeLeT fellow joins us as we build our classroom community. We set the tone for our day together and we connect to our students as a team. Whether it is Reading, Phonics, Handwriting, Writing Workshop or Everyday Math, my DeLeT fellow knows that I welcome all concerns and inquiries that he might have.
Moreover, beyond being able to give back to Jewish education through being a DeLeT mentor, I firmly believe that my teaching has been strengthened as a result. My day to day struggles are now shared with someone who cares, who is eager to learn and who works with me on making my teaching even stronger. I am constantly engaged in dialogue with my fellow, as I explain the rationale to the many different aspects of the curriculum. With the help of the CE and the mentor shiurim, I do my best to give the caring support and guidance that all new teachers need. Thank you DeLeT for providing me with this tremendous opportunity!
Ilana Rabin is a member of Cohort 12, and is completing her internship in a 6th grade classroom at the Wise School in Los Angeles, CA.
“Teacher” is quite often an inherited trait, and the profession tends to run in families. Ilana grew up helping in her mother’s religious school classroom, and was soon given her own classroom. She saw that though her mother was not formally trained to be a teacher, she was a natural—she kept her cool, related to each child as an individual, and was able to get her students to care about the material she taught. Ilana tries to emulate that now as she begins her formalized teaching career.
Ilana grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and completed her undergraduate work at UCSD, where she was active in Hillel. The Hillel director told her about the DeLeT program, and she was immediately interested. She was not sure what she wanted for a career, but she knew that she wanted to help people and make the world a better place. The DeLeT program allowed her to combine that with her love of teaching, and also allowed her to do it all through a Jewish lens.
Coming from a large school, Ilana found the small-group learning aspect of the program appealing, as well as the fact that she would be able to earn her credential in only 13 months. Also, Ilana was attracted to how DeLeT would give her the opportunity to apply her learning directly to the field through an apprenticeship model. She knew this program was right for her.
Before DeLeT, Ilana used to feel most comfortable when she worked independently. She was happy on her own, and did not view collaboration as an asset. However, after her experience working with her cohort, she was surprised at how important collaboration has become to her. Now, she views it as the cornerstone to her success in the program.
Ilana is completing her internship at Wise School. She says that there is a lot of collaboration among the faculty, as well as openness to change and flexibility. They base their curriculum around Enduring Understandings, the same way Ilana is being taught to write curricula in the DeLeT program. Wise is a powerhouse in the Jewish community, and the students take pride in that; they love their school, and have a strong sense of belonging.
One course at DeLeT that was eye-opening for Ilana was the Day School and Society course. For the capstone assignment, the DeLeT fellows were charged with designing a start-up plan for a day school. Ilana realized that she had a knack for thinking about day school education from this perspective, and that though she is passionate about classroom teaching, but can affect more change from outside of the classroom than from within.
Consequently, Ilana decided to continue her graduate education path after the completion of DeLeT; she is continuing to HUC’s joint master’s program in Jewish Education and Non-Profit Management, and leaves to spend her first year in Israel shortly after DeLeT graduation. She is excited to help affect change on a larger scale—she wants every day school to be infused with the ideologies she has been exposed to at DeLeT, is looking forward to being able to start bringing that vision to fruition. The entire Jewish education community will benefit from her contributions.
This week we meet Debbi Seligman, fourth grade teacher at Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, CA
Five years ago I got a phone call from my friend and colleague, Kaylee Frager. DeLeT was looking for mentors and she suggested that I get involved. Not sure exactly what I was getting into, I agreed to be a mentor. Little did I know that I had just made the best decision of my professional career.
Becoming a DeLeT mentor has forced me to look critically at my teaching strategies. When you have someone in the back of the room saying, “I noticed that you did…” and “I wondered why you did…” all day, every day, you need to come up with some answers quickly! Along with my fellows, I learned about Understanding By Design, Critical Friends Protocols, and Responsive Classroom and began incorporating these ideas into my pedagogy.
Over the last five years my teaching has changed considerably. I have become the queen of integration. Along with my teaching team (all of whom happen to be either DeLet Mentors, alumni, or current fellows!) we have begun teaching a unit we call JSTEM – Judaism, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – which looks at the essential question: “How can science, technology, engineering and math be used to fulfill mitzvoth?” Our students delve into Jewish texts, research current inventions, and utilize design strategies to create the next generation of innovations – all with the goal of making the world a better place.
I could go on and on about the gifts DeLeT has given me, but the greatest gift has been the people with whom I’ve had the fortune to work. The professors, the DeLeT staff, the other mentor teachers, each have provided me with opportunities to think, laugh and grow. And the fellows themselves – they have become my colleagues, confidants, and dear friends.
Thank you, DeLeT, for the opportunities you have provided me. I can’t wait to see where we’ll be in another five years!