I’m three weeks into a year program at a local college to learn how to be an educator. It all happened so fast, really, I mean … the last thing I remember was being in Colorado to fix up my old house there for new renters moving in. Well, actually, I remember a whirlwind adventure in Indonesia the month after, but it still doesn’t seem to explain to me why I now find myself enrolled in a grueling program to learn how to teach English to children as a 2nd language. All I can think is that it must be related to living in Israel, and not just because English is a foreign language here, but because here the path of living life seems to traverse about like a comet bouncing though an asteroid field. It’s just a different life-pace here, for me at least. When I moved half-way around the globe to set up a woodshop in a new and foreign land, I expected that the life-tempo would continue about the same, that I would have a few bumps up front, but that eventually I would find my path and begin, again, to build what I started out to create – a life to be proud of with a loving family around me. I’m not saying that these things didn’t occur, and are ongoing (thank you, God), but the circumvention of blockage and the scaling of unknown heights only to be dropped into gorgeous vistas with barely time to hear my plummeting screams were not in the original specs of my Aliyah to Israel. As an artist, specifically a painter, I’m used to opening doors that seem shut closed for a reason, but having turned over the stone of my life the way I have, I seem to have opened up the box for an insane level of ordered-chaos to methodically reveal itself.
I started teaching many years ago as a teaching assistant in graduate school, which in turn turned into a full teaching position in one of my classes teaching math and biology students to draw. After that short episode, I abruptly decided that to survive in academia wasn’t worth the pain inflicted; but, I guess, teaching writing and art privately at the Zichron Art Center last year could have sparked my interest in the subject again. Inspiring people to dig deeper within, in order to explore life and further potential, sententiously speaks volumes to me. That’s probably why I find myself, today, where I find myself living. In Haifa the college I go to is perched on the side of a hill alongside a monastery and a cable-car that empties out onto a roundabout in front of the school. The students were told that we could ride the cable-car up the cliff in order to avoid scrapping for parking alongside the hillside street. I have yet to ride it. I try to get to school early in order to get a parking spot; then I have time to go over my class-notes from the week prior sitting in the college’s coffee house. This seems like a good practice to continue, but the cable-car idea keeps calling to me. I could ride the train from Binyamina, once getting down there from the town I live in, Zikhron, by walking through the nature reserve past Roman era ruins, an ancient natural spring, and a local high school where I have begun my practice teaching staj. Yes, it sounds to me like a dreamy commute, nature hike through ancient ruins, quick bus to the train, fast train to the cable car, and a vista to behold above the Mediterranean Sea all the way up to school.
The college I’m attending is specifically a school for teachers to learn their trade. People come from all over the north of Israel to learn there. A solid group of students are traveling with me through my endeavors to become an educator in Israel: a Jordanian-born American transplant from Texas, a Druse newlywed young lady, The twins from Hadera that just met, a woman with an infectious laugh, a disgruntled smiling nutritionist, a song from the West and a duel citizen, like me, a wonderful young man from the holy city of Nazareth, some Londoners, one of which is spectrum-inclined, an ex-Israeli ex-Belgium(ite) returnee, some young Swiss ladies that, story-wise, I haven’t quite figured out yet, and so many more. It’s a cultural mosaic of living inside every class, linguistics, psychology, classroom-management, literature, remedial-teaching, writing, didactics, grammar, and more.
The hallways of my campus are filled with, mostly, young women from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and traditions, religious and otherwise. As I walk through the buildings, once having been separate but now all joined by stairwells and causeways, I am constantly reminded that these young people are all to become the next generation of cutting-edge teachers in a world that has gone utterly berserk. I heard recently that there are basically three things that we should fear as a species on planet Earth: 1. nuclear holocaust; 2. natural disaster and climate change; and, 3. unrestrained technological development, specifically how our invented algorithms are and will ultimately remove our understanding and involvement within our own economic systems. The future teachers that I pass regularly in the halls on my campus, my classmates, and all the students that we will be teaching in the future, it seems to me, are the only hope for our collective future. I know it’s an idealist’s position, but I believe that we’ve been here long enough to understand that education is the only thing that allows for growth in our world. Other than that, all we have left is the eternal search for comfort and the illusion of security. Wish me luck!
Drew (Doron) Noll
Drew Noll is a professionally trained fine artist and a self taught writer living in Zikhron Yaakov, Israel. He has taught privately drawing, painting, mixed media sculpture, ceramics, and creative writing, and he recently began teaching English as a foreign language at a local high school.
Drew has a background as a fine woodworker and business owner, and his artwork has been exhibited in the US and Israel. Drew has contributed to various blogs and websites as a ghost writer, along with producing The Brave New Land, a personal blog that revolves around his adventures as a new immigrant to the Middle East, his other travels around the globe, and his personal thoughts and experiences relating to his life and artwork.
Please feel free to contact Drew through his website: doronoll.com.