Rapoport Center Hosts Citywide Jewish Teacher In-Service
Educators attend the Jewish Teacher In-Service event at Temple Beth Shalom March 3. Credit: Rachel Stern
By Rachel Stern
On March 3, a group of approximately 60 religious school teachers gathered together to learn and support each other in a Jewish teacher in-service, a citywide joint program of Austin congregational religious schools and Shalom Austin’s Rapoport Center.
As the new Jewish education hub of Shalom Austin, one of the goals of the Rapoport Center is to create opportunities for education professionals to learn together.
To achieve this goal, the Rapoport Center rebooted the Educators Council, a committee of educators who come together monthly to study, get to know each other as colleagues, and plan community programs.
The Educators Council includes Austin synagogue education directors and Rapoport Center educators Jordan Magidson, Harvey Raben, Rabbi Rebecca Reice, Carly Cera, Iris Koeller, Shereen Ben-Moshe, Rabbi Dan Millner, Alachua Nazarenko and Rachel Stern.
They began meeting in the fall of 2018 and the Jewish teacher in-service was their first joint program.
The in-service began after religious school concluded and consisted of a lunch and mixer, a keynote session on teaching emotions as a form of classroom management, and two sets of electives. The first series of electives were arranged by grade level and focused on strategies of teaching text to different age groups. Teachers were able to choose their second elective from sessions including “Multiple Learning Styles Through a Jewish Lens,” “From the Outside Looking In(terfaith): Supporting the Needs of All Congregational Families,” “Bringing Jewish Religious School Lessons Home,” and “Be Like Abraham: Relational Judaism in the Classroom.” Sessions were taught by the members of the Educators Council.
Offering this kind of community learning event shows teachers that Shalom Austin’s Rapoport Center cares about investing in them and making sure they have all the tools needed to be successful teachers. This also creates a community of teachers, making sure that they know each other and support each other. The whole community benefits when every school is offering a quality and engaging education program.
The Rapoport Center’s first teacher in-service was a success with amazing learning and a spirit of togetherness. The hope is to offer two of these community teacher in-service programs each year. Many thanks to the congregations and to Shalom Austin’s Rapoport Center for making this event possible. ■