Learn to Create Magic
In the first week of August, our staff at Yeshiva Sha’arei Zion High School for Girls joined together for our annual faculty learning week. Throughout the week, the team reviewed their mission and values, discussed ways in which they can improve their systems, and learned new skills to make this academic year the most magical one yet. Mrs. Zeryiker, the Menahelet, created an agenda for the week that covered four essential questions that the faculty would use to guide them through this year of teaching, guidance, and growth.
How to Bring Our Mission to Life
The week started off with the discussion of how our faculty can bring YSZ’s mission to life. As an innovative, student-centered, Sephardic girls high school, our mission is to inspire, challenge, and empower. Inspire our students to live as proud, passionate and deeply committed Jewish women; challenge our students to think and be curious lifelong learners and empower our students to develop their character, become the best version of themselves and live a life dedicated to family, community, and purpose. On this day, the teachers discussed the importance of their mission and how to incorporate that into the learning and ultimately into the girls’ future. They took notes on how they can instill a love for Judaism in their students and promote student thinking all whilst in a warm, encouraging environment.
How Can We Create a Culture of Learning
On Tuesday, there was a heavy focus on creating the proper culture for a positive, safe, and encouraging learning environment. After watching a clip on the Navy Seals, the teachers were put to the test. They were broken up into randomized groups to put together scrambled tiles with minimal clues. This was followed by a conversation on the importance of teamwork. The teachers discussed how they can apply teamwork in their classes to motivate and empower the students in their interpersonal relationships.
Mrs. Zeryiker then played a video for the teachers, presenting two different classroom styles, which followed by a discussion of what tools they can incorporate in their classrooms to facilitate an environment of curiosity, respect, and a love for learning. This was a powerful moment for the teachers, as they realized some societal norms for a classroom actually inhibit learning. They took this time to reflect and ponder on the techniques they will use to give over their robust curriculums.
How Can We Create a Culture of Belonging
Wednesday quickly became one of the most impactful days for the teachers. Mrs. Zeryiker genuinely believes that before entering the year, the staff needed to deeply understand their students on an emotional and psychological level. Therefore, this day there was a spotlight on learning about the social-emotional wellbeing of teenage girls. Our staff took their time to educate themselves on the hopes, worries, and fears of average high school girls, so that they are better equipped to support their students and help invest into their futures. Our staff at YSZ truly cares for each individual student; we used this time to set ourselves up for success in nurturing student relationships within the classroom and beyond.
How Can We Teach to Inspire
On the closing day, the faculty started off with a scavenger hunt of everything they learned throughout the week. After each teacher found something inspiring to share, the groups put together presentations and really made the lessons of the week concrete. A growth mindset is essential for our staff at YSZ High School for Girls, as we wrapped up the week discussing coaching throughout the year to consistently improve our roles as educators, role models, and lifelong learners. As Mrs. Binyaminov said in her reflection of the week, “For me, it’s a reminder that I’m a teacher but also a lifelong student.”
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