Lifelong Learning in the Midst of a Pandemic

Guest Blog Post by Naomi Levy, Jewish Studies Teacher at Yavneh Primary School

At TalentEducators, we recruit talented people to the field of Jewish education. Our main focus is bringing new people to the field and finding them the right positions for their unique strengths. In order to ensure the success of these matches and placements,  we create and fund bespoke training and mentoring plans for our fellows, supporting that particular individual in his or her particular position. These training plans range from one day workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions to QTS routes and graduate degrees. In some particular cases, we work with talented veterans in the field who we have identified that with our help have the capability to take their teaching to the next level through expanding capacity to a new position. Naomi Levy, a fellow from London, England, writes about her experience as someone who TalentEducators identified with this specific profile. In this article, Naomi highlights the role that her mentor played in her growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Tell me and I’ll forget. Teach me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll learn’ – Benjamin Franklin

A year ago, I was accepted on to a program with a new and exciting organisation in England – TalentEducators. Having been in teaching for a number of years but was now embarking on a leadership role with TalentEducators’ assistance, I was eager to discover what TalentEducators had to offer. In particular, I was intrigued with the opportunity to be coached by a mentor from BetterLesson. 

Armed with my usual motto dancing around in my head, “There is always more to learn,” I went into it with an open mind not realizing how much of an impact my mentor would have on my teaching career in the coming months. September came and went and it seemed like life was beginning to resume normality after schools closed in the summer term due to Covid-19. I began having bi-weekly meetings with my coach to discuss any area of education currently on my mind. In between sessions, I was able to develop my learning further by having access to the BetterLesson website with millions of articles and lesson plans on more topics than one can imagine!

It was all going so well, and then, it happened again! A nationwide decision to close schools – however, this time we were expected to teach live lessons. To say I freaked out was putting it mildly. I wasn’t confident with technology at the best of times, to now be told I would be teaching a full day of live lessons over Microsoft Teams… It was set to be a disaster! 

And here is where my mentor came to the rescue! I was blessed to have a mentor who was an IT whiz. She patiently coached me over the months on how to incorporate different tech tools into my lessons. She didn’t just verbalise it, she actually sat with me and helped me create lessons using a different program each time we met. Within 2 months, I had a string of games and tools that I could use to enhance my online lessons – and I was confident in doing it! It was my Covid miracle. Never in a million years did I envisage myself passing on IT demonstrations to the staff in my school of things I had learnt from my mentor! Never did I imagine I would be able to set exciting work for children via a screen and grade it over a screen too!

TalentEducators in conjunction with BetterLesson empowered me to do this, and for that I will be forever grateful. Not only had I discovered ways in which to lead, I had learned new skills to help me develop myself further in this role.It was a powerful lesson to learn: one can be talented and yet grow even further in more ways than one can imagine, if we just open our minds and get involved in our own learning.

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