It’s that time of year again – the days are getting cooler, the nights are getting longer, the school supply stores have sold out of basic equipment, and teachers are excited about the beginning of the new school year.
Well, at least, I hope that last one is true. We should be excited about our work as teachers, about influencing our students’ lives and about changing how they react to the world around them. The ability to use English in all possible forms is a powerful way to make our students, of all ages, citizens of the world.
But sometimes we need a little help in the enthusiasm for teaching department. And that is where the idea of professional development comes in, and as we all, hopefully, know, that is what ETAI is so good at. This year we have an impressive list of conferences and mini conferences planned at different venues throughout the country. All of these conferences will feature outstanding plenary speakers, parallel sessions given by wonderful ETAI members and focus groups led by teachers from the field. However, the programmes are not yet completed, which means there are plenty of opportunities for you all to present, participate and help at the conferences. We are also offering a gmul option this year, after the resounding success of last year when close to 100 teachers were able to get a gmul for attending three worthwhile conferences.
Naftali Bennet, the Education Minister, and Tziona Levy, the Chief Inspector for English, have both stressed the importance of teaching the skill of speaking. ETAI fully supports this idea. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that “Speaking of Speaking” will be the theme of this year’s conferences, and I hope you will be inspired in many ways to implement the teaching of speaking skills in all your classes.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tziona Levy for the unwavering support she has shown to ETAI, both in our day-to-day interactions and in the way she manages to constantly mention ETAI in her work in the Ministry.
Conferences are an important feature of ETAI”s ongoing involvement with English teachers, but so is the Forum. The editing committee has been working extremely hard to get back on track of having three issues of the Forum each year. I am sure everyone will find something of relevance to them in this issue of our excellent professional magazine.
Wishing everyone a fruitful and successful year of teaching English here in Israel.