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Monday, December 24, 2007

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Tonight we had parent-teacher conferences at my two younger kids' school.

This is a quintessential Israeli experience.

All semester, you know it's coming, you just don't know when....

Then, with just a few days notice -- here it is.

On the notice, is the time that each parent is scheduled to meet with the teacher.

If you have more that one child in the school, you might have to do some serious juggling. (I once had two appointments scheduled for the same time). Not to worry, the scheduled times have very little to do with reality.

But wait, there's more. The evening is far more complicated. In addition to meeting with the mechanechet (main teacher), it is also important to meet with the morot miktzoiot ("professional" teachers). And, if you are really ambitious, you also try to meet with the yoetzet (guidance councellor) and/or the principal.

There is no homeroom teacher here. The kids go to school and whoever teachers them their first class, also greets them when they get to school, and supervises morning t'fillot (prayers). The mechanechet (main teacher), teaches them the most subjects, including basic subjects, such as Torah (Bible). The morot miktzoiot ("professional" teachers) teach them specialized subjects: math, science, English, Arabic, Art, and Jerusalem studies (a special course of study, unique to our school).

There is no schedule for those specialized teachers, who are seated all over the school. So, it's "first come, first served". Though sometimes there is a sign up chart -- so you don't have to just stand around and wait.

So.... parents begin this unique process of running around, trying to fit everyone in, without missing your main appointments(s), and without missing a teacher, who is leaving early.

Basically, you rush to a teacher, sit down, discuss your child/children, get up, then rush to another teacher and start again.

Of course, there are parents who skip the "extras". They just meet with the main teacher and go home.

That's not us.

We meet with EVERYONE.

And tonight, it was worth it!

Both kids are doing well. Of course, there is room for improvement. But, overall, each has improved significantly and continues to improve.

Now we have our homework: to help our kids continue in the right direction!

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Robin said...

We're still waiting on that note home to tell us that conferences are coming. No news yet. You're scaring me though. My oldest is only in 1st grade, I didn't realize I'd have to go searching for all the morot miktzoiot. Do I have to do that in first grade? His main teacher teaches most of the "real" subjects, the others are for things like art, music and road safety (which I know he's learning because he's becoming a real PITA about things like which side of the sidewalk to walk on). Ugh. I always feel like I'm three steps behind everyone else with this stuff.

Congrats on all those good reports. You must be beaming.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Hey Robin, you have inspired another post.

My response got too long, so I just posted it.

I have more to say about the Road Safety thing, but that will have to wait. I have to go teach swimming....

Robin said...

Thanks RivkA. As long as I've lived in Israel (and it's about 20 years now), it's always the little things that trip me up... (Did you ever read my post about "a soapdish for words"? It was on Itai's list of school supplies this year and had me utterly baffled. I felt better about it once I realized that all the Israeli mothers were just as clueless as I was LOL.

HolyCityPrayer said...

Seminal post, RivkA! Should be linked to on innumerable blogs and top Aliya websites.

I noticed
morot miktzoiot ("professional" teachers)

This is the way people say it (sing. Morah Miktzo'it) but I think now looking at it that it should be "morot miktzo'a" and "morat miktzo'a" - subject teacher[s].

Keep smiling!

Here's a service that I've launched, please look and consider linking to it:

mother in israel said...

HCP, I've been here for 17 years and never heard anyone say the plural of subject teachers as anything but morot miktzoiyot.

We have four this year.

HolyCityPrayer said...

MII, I've been here for 29 years and neither have I:-)

Maybe I'll ask the Akademiyah what they think:-)

RivkA with a capital A said...

Forget Hebrew, I can't even understand Blogger language!

What is HCP and MII?????

RivkA with a capital A said...

Forget Hebrew, I can't even understand Blogger language!

What is HCP and MII?????

HolyCityPrayer said...


HCP=Holy City Prayer
MII= Mother In Israel