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A Dozen Good Reasons
TEACHING HAD NEVER really inter-
ested me. When I was younger, un-
like other little girls my age, I did
play school with my friends. I re-
member how some of my classmates
used to bring a small blackboard to
school, rather like a slate, and take
teacher. They used to pretend to give a lesson in
or writing and impersonate our own
teacher's voice and mannerisms but not
much preferred to skip, play jacks or a silly game in
which I put a
tennis ball in an old sock and hit it
against the school wall on either side
of me in time
to a little rhyme.
In fact, last year when I was in the
I had to complete a questionnaire for the career
counselor, and when asked which profes-
sion I disliked the most, I wrote
teaching. To be
honest, though I am embarrassed to admit it, the
why I began teaching in the first place was
for the money.
It all began
late one day last August, just before
school resumed again. It had been a
vacation, exams were over, the weather was beauti-
my friends and I had spent two weeks in
Israel together. Aside from camp, it
was the first time
we had all been away from home without our par-
For a final fling, I blew the last of the money I
had saved up from
babysitting on an amazing hi-fi
system with a double cassette deck, graphic
ers and compact disk player. In short, I was broke.
My parents were planning a trip to
the winter, and they were going to take me along.
without any money it would not be much
fun, and I needed to raise a lot of
cash very fast. I had
been telling this to Dafna, my best friend, on the
telephone that day when suddenly she gave a brief
squeal, something she
always did when she had a
"What is it, Dafna?" I asked.
"Tamar, I have a brilliant idea!"
"Tamar, please get off the phone," my
called from the kitchen. 'Tou've been on for over half
an hour. It
costs money, you know, and you don't pay
"I'll be off in a minute!" I called back.
"What?" Dafna asked.
"Nothing. I was speaking to my mother," I
plied. "Now tell me, what's your idea?"
"Why don't you teach Hebrew class on
mornings, like me?"
Teach? Hebrew class? For young children
non-observant homes? I was so astonished that I
began to cough and
practically choked. "Me?"
"Yes, why not?"
"Why not? I've never been in front of a
my life. Anyway, I don't think I could bear standing
in front of
a class of sniveling and sniggering little
kids week after week."
"It's not like that at all. It's really
Besides, the pay is good."
The pay is good....
"I heard there's a vacancy at Roseford
Hebrew Classes. Why don't you give the headmaster
"Tamar!" my mother called.
"I'm just saying goodbye!" I replied.
me the number," I said to Dafna. She hurriedly read
number just a moment before my mother
threatened to ban me from using the
telephone for a
I stared at the number for a long while
ward, deciding whether or not to call. I needed the
and here was an ideal opportunity to
earn it. I had never taught before in my
life. Could I
do it? It shouldn't be that difficult all I would have
do would be to imitate the way my teachers had
taught me, like the girls in
my class used to do when
we were younger. I would simply be acting a part. I
laughed out loud while trying to imagine myself,
Tamar, a school teacher.
Yet, at the same time, the
prospect terrified me.
I finally plucked up enough courage and
to telephone the headmaster. It would do no harm to
the job. I dialed the number slowly and
presently heard a deep male voice on
the other end
of the line. "Hello. Is that Mr. Caperin?" I asked.
"My name is Tamar Karov. I am calling
the vacancy you have for a Sunday Hebrew Classes
"Are you interested in applying for the
"Yes, I am," I replied.
"Would you be able to come here tomorrow
ning at about eight o'clock for an interview?"
"That would be fine."
"Let me just give you the address
That's how the next evening, I found
sitting and facing the desk of the graying and slightly
middle-aged headmaster in his study. He was
friendly, but I could tell that
he had the stern per-
sonality necessary for a man in his position.
"So, you have never taken any teacher's
tion courses?" he asked me.
"No," I replied.
"Have you ever taught a class?"
"No." Top marks so far, I thought glumly.
Caperin sighed and flipped through some papers on
his desk. Obviously
he felt the same way I did. Why
did I ever let myself get into this? The
was so hopeless, we might as well just end the inter-
view without another word.
"How is your Jewish studies level in
"I am in the top group for all Jewish
"Do you speak
"Yes. My father was born in Israel," I
way of explanation.
Two affirmative answers. Perhaps I was
doing too badly after all.
Leaning back in his chair, Mr. Caperin
again. "Usually we only take teachers with some
experience. However, classes resume this
Sunday and we still do not have
anyone to teach the
first grade, so it is a bit of an emergency. I am willing
to give you a six-week trial period, and we will see
how you do."
And that is how I began teaching Sunday