Fellows Talya Zuroff and Itay Weiss present the findings (Photo: Simanim)
The annual group exercise offers fellows an opportunity to work together on an issue of public and institutional importance in education and is a significant milestone in the fellows’ journeys at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.
This year’s exercise focused on the teacher shortage in Israel's south. It was conducted at the invitation of Ram Zahavi, director of the southern region of the Ministry of Education and a graduate of Cohort 16 of the Mandel School, and
Dr. Heftsi Zohar, deputy mayor of Beer Sheva in charge of education and welfare and a graduate of Cohort 9 of the School.
Dr. Heftsi Zohar and Ram Zahavi (Photo: Simanim)
During the three-week exercise led by
Efrat Aran, director of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, and faculty members
Dr. Ayal Shaul and
Dr. Neta Sher-Hadar, fellows studied theoretical and practical issues of teaching, training, and placement of teachers. They visited classrooms and reviewed relevant research, learned about the educational challenges in Beer Sheva and the southern region, and formulated operational recommendations.
Efrat Aran, director of the Mandel School of Educational Leadership (Photo: Simanim)
Fellows presented their findings and recommendations at an event held at the Mandel headquarters in Jerusalem on January 30, 2023, in the presence of
Asaf Zalel, director general of the Ministry of Education, senior policymakers, local educators from Beer Sheva, and the greater Mandel community. The presentation included video clips in which high school teachers discuss their classroom successes, their motivations for teaching, and their frustrations and personal-professional challenges. These clips gave a human face to the teacher shortage, which is often discussed primarily as a numerical problem. The fellows addressed the shortage not as an equation to be solved but as an opportunity to improve working conditions and raise the social status of teachers.
Asaf Zalel, director general of the Ministry of Education (Photo: Simanim)
The recommendations emphasized teacher wellbeing as a means of improving teaching and as a way of attracting and retaining teachers. They focused on three levels: the school, the city, and the teacher. At the level of the school, fellows proposed changing the structure of the school day by introducing “para-educational” staff. At the level of the city, fellows proposed creating a one-stop-shop for teachers that would oversee human resource management and engage with local institutions that can contribute to students’ education, broadly defined. At the level of the teacher, fellows offered proposals to spur professional development and improve the attractiveness of the profession, including instituting national policies to improve teachers’ access to affordable housing and promote teacher communities.
At the event’s conclusion, Ministry officials and Beer Sheva representatives praised the fellows’ creativity and spoke about the opportunities that the recommendations offered.
Read the full booklet of recommendations (Hebrew) >>