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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 not
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 turns playing
teacher. They used to pretend to give a lesson in
arithmetic or writing and impersonate our own
teacher's voice and mannerisms  but not me! I
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 tenth grade,
I had to complete a questionnaire for the career
guidance 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
reason 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 wonderful long
vacation, exams were over, the weather was beauti-
ful and 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-
ents. 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 equaliz-
ers and compact disk player. In short, I was broke.

My parents were planning a trip to America in
the winter, and they were going to take me along.
However, 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
good idea.

"What is it, Dafna?" I asked.

"Tamar, I have a brilliant idea!"

"Tamar, please get off the phone," my mother
called from the kitchen. 'Tou've been on for over half
an hour. It costs money, you know, and you don't pay
the bill."

"I'll be off in a minute!" I called back.

"What?" Dafna asked.

"Nothing. I was speaking to my mother," I re-
plied. "Now tell me, what's your idea?"

"Why don't you teach Hebrew class on Sunday
mornings, like me?"

Teach? Hebrew class? For young children from
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 class in
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 enjoyable!
Besides, the pay is good."

The pay is good....

"I heard there's a vacancy at Roseford Sunday
Hebrew Classes. Why don't you give the headmaster
a call?"

"Tamar!" my mother called.

"I'm just saying goodbye!" I replied. "Quick, give
me the number," I said to Dafna. She hurriedly read
out the 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 after-
ward, deciding whether or not to call. I needed the
money badly 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
to 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 decided
to telephone the headmaster. It would do no harm to
inquire about 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 about
the vacancy you have for a Sunday Hebrew Classes

"Are you interested in applying for the position?"

"Yes, I am," I replied.

"Would you be able to come here tomorrow eve-
ning at about eight o'clock for an interview?"

"That would be fine."

"Let me just give you the address then..."

That's how the next evening, I found myself
sitting and facing the desk of the graying and slightly
bald, 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 educa-
tion courses?" he asked me.

"No," I replied.

"Have you ever taught a class?"

"No." Top marks so far, I thought glumly. Mr.
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 whole situation
was so hopeless, we might as well just end the inter-

view without another word.

"How is your Jewish studies level in school?"

"I am in the top group for all Jewish subjects," I

"Do you speak IvritT

"Yes. My father was born in Israel," I added by
way of explanation.

Two affirmative answers. Perhaps I was not
doing too badly after all.

Leaning back in his chair, Mr. Caperin sighed
again. "Usually we only take teachers with some
degree of 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 He-
brew class.



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