Government sponsored teaching programs offer ESL teachers a great way to get their teaching careers started. They can also provide an incredible life experience that will live long in the memory and they look good on your CV/resume. The Masa Teaching Fellows Program offers native English speaking Jewish teachers from all over the world the chance to live and work in Israel as an ESL volunteer. Through the program first-time teachers and those with previous experience are placed in public schools in local communities across the country. During your stay you will work with small groups of students to work on conversational English, reading, writing, and grammar.
What are the requirements for the Masa Teaching Fellows Program?
The program is open to native English speakers from any country between the age of 20 and 35 who identify as Jewish. Applicants must also have completed a Bachelor's Degree before mid-September of the year they plan to apply. If accepted on the program your schedule will be for 10 months, running from late August to early July. During your stay you will be expected to work between 30 and 35 hours per week, either teaching in the classroom or volunteering in the local community. To complete your application you will need to pay $1,000 to cover accommodation, orientation, Hebrew courses, teacher training and seminars, cultural excursions, and health insurance.
Also read: Do TESOL teachers need a second language?
Fluency in Hebrew is not a requirement to get on the program and you will receive Hebrew lessons throughout the length of your stay. Teachers with previous experience are welcome to apply, as are those without any teaching experience as full teacher training will be provided. It is not an official requirement to complete a TEFL or TESOL course before signing up. However, due to the popularity of the program, a teaching qualification could help your chances of being accepted as it shows you are committed to learning the methodologies behind teaching English.
Where in Israel does the program operate and can I choose my location?
The Masa Teaching Fellows Program operates in 14 different locations across Israel, including Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Netanya, and Bat Yam. You are able to specify your preferred location, although your choice cannot be guaranteed as placements are based on availability. Who you will actually be teaching will also vary with the location. Your class may contain secular or Israeli Jews and children of immigrants from countries worldwide such as Ethiopia or the former Soviet Union, as well as Christian or Muslim Israeli Arabs.
Is the program open to Israeli citizens?
As the program is primarily aimed at overseas volunteers it is not generally open to Israeli citizens. The official line is if you have Israeli citizenship you must have left the country before the age of 14 and have lived outside of Israel for at least four consecutive years prior to applying to the program.
What are the benefits of the Masa Teaching Fellows Program?
The cultural, educational, and personal benefits of this program are huge as you will get to experience all of the amazing history, culture, and natural beauty that Israel has to offer. However, as this is a volunteer program the financial benefits are limited. Certified teachers will receive a stipend of 4,000 NIS (currently around $1,090) per month. If you are not a certified teacher you will receive a stipend of 1,750 NIS (currently around $480). If you complete the full length of the 10-month program you will also be reimbursed up to $1,000 for the cost of your flight. All participants will also get to enjoy regular excursions and other cultural activities throughout their stay.