“If you’re thinking of teaching English in Palestine at the Excellence Centre but aren’t sure what to expect, this article is for you.
The thought of coming to Palestine can be worrying, but the Excellence Centre has made me feel it’s a home away from home. Before I came to Palestine, a friend briefly mentioned that the Palestinians were a particularly hospitable people. Naturally, I took this with a pinch of salt, but I’ve been staggered by the lengths that the people here in Hebron will go to make you feel welcome. Last week I was invited to a students home and fed until I thought I would burst. Another time, I was lost, and after explaining my problem to a local man, was promptly led by the hand to my destination. I’ve built strong personal relationships with the staff, volunteers, students and locals during my time here and this is partly due to the work ethic and culture of the Excellence Centre. It’s an informal, laid back work place with a strong family atmosphere. We share breakfast every morning, help each other out, and have more than a few running jokes.
I’ve been teaching English at the Excellence Centre for over a month now. At first, getting up in front of a class of students can be daunting, but helping the students to develop their English is such a rewarding experience that any feelings of angst are soon forgotten. I’ve taught students with a wide variety of English proficiency. Sometimes at the Excellence Centre you might be placed in an advanced level conversation class and find yourself discussing the finer points of international clean energy policy. At other times, you could be playing games with the younger students and teaching them how to introduce themselves. The Excellence Centre will provide you with curriculum materials, but one thing I really value here at the centre is the freedom to plan my lessons as I like.
You might also be placed in lessons away from the Centre. I’ve taught students at the local University how to properly tell the time and talk about their daily routines. I’ve also taught at a local girls school, the topic of which was ‘Inspirational People’. However, by far the most rewarding experience away from the centre has been teaching at a local village called Kharas. I’ve been teaching a class of 30, usually with another volunteer. It’s a large class and things can get very loud, but the students always greet me with a smile. I’ve really noticed the improvement of the class and have enjoyed the challenge of finding new and fun ways to engage some of the weaker students.
My reasons for coming to Palestine haven’t all been altruistic. At the Excellence Centre you’ll be given 3 hours of Arabic lessons a week. I didn’t speak any Arabic when I arrived, and at first it was very confusing being surrounded by Arabic all the time. But this is the best way to pick it up! I feel I’m making quick progress. I’ve enjoyed learning Arabic here so much that I’m planning to move over to an intensive course to make the most of the rest of my time here in Hebron.
I’ve loved my time at the Excellence Centre so far, I definitely want to come back again in the future. I hope this article has put your mind at ease and answered a few questions. And, if you’ve mind up your mind, I look forward to meeting you!” This article was Written by Owen Mccaffrey from the UK