English is without question a global language, used in international trade and tourism, in academia and research, and in the electronic media.
Therefore, professional English teachers are in high demand in Israel and the Ministry of Education is interested in encouraging new immigrants to teach English. The purpose of this document is to provide you with information regarding how to become an English teacher in Israel.
For additional information, please contact the Chief Inspector for English Language Education, Dr. Judy Steiner, at the following numbers: 02-5603587, 0506-282-273, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introduction to the Israeli Educational System
The Israeli educational system is divided into Jewish, Arab and Christian sectors. The Jewish sector is further divided into secular (mamlachti), religious (mamlachti dati) and independent (atzmai: Beit Yaakov and Haredi).
All the schools are under the auspices and supervision of the Ministry of Education.
Elementary and junior high schools are run by the Ministry of Education. However, almost all Israeli high schools have the status of independent, recognized schools and are run by public bodies such as municipalities, national networks and local committees. Some high schools provide a general academic education while others may be vocationally oriented. Yeshiva High Schools combine general studies with Torah study.
Generally speaking, the school year for elementary schools begins on September 1st and ends on June 30th. Secondary schools also start on September 1st but end on June 20th. In some schools students study six days a week and other schools have a five-day work week. The Ministry of Education is currently undergoing educational reform that will affect the number of hours teachers are expected to teach. The numbers below reflect the current system (prior to the reform) required for a full-time position, depending on the age group of the students:
For elementary school (grades 1 to 6) a full-time position is 30 hours of frontal teaching per week.
For junior and senior high school (grades 7 to 12) a full-time position is 24 hours of frontal teaching per week.
A mother of children under the age of 14 can work fewer hours for the same pay. In elementary school, she can teach 24 hours per week and receive a 10% addition to her salary. In junior and senior high school (grades 7-12), she can teach 19 hours per week and receive a 10% addition to her salary. For example, if a mother teaches 19 hours per week in the 8th grade, she will get paid as if she teaches 21 hours per week.
Teachers are permitted to work on a part-time basis.
Salaries As in many other countries, teachers’ salaries in Israel are not among the highest. A teacher’s salary consists of a base salary plus various additives. The base salary depends on academic degree and experience. Experience abroad is recognized; if you taught in schools prior to making Aliyah, (immigration to Israel) bring documentation (a letter from the principal or from the department head) to prove your experience. If you go to reserve duty in the Israeli army each year, your service is counted as additional experience. Attending in-service courses or additional academic studies gives you increments towards your salary.
Vacation Teachers receive approximately two months paid vacation in the summer, one week before and during Passover, a week during Sukkot, plus additional Jewish holidays and Israeli national days.
English Teaching in Israel Learning English is compulsory from the fourth grade; however, most elementary schools start teaching English in the third grade. In addition, there are schools that begin English instruction in the first and second grades.
Requirements for Teaching English in Israel
Knowledge of Hebrew: English teachers must be able to speak, read and write in Hebrew. Participating in an ulpan(intensive Hebrew course for new immigrants) prior to teaching is strongly recommended. New immigrants are frequently required to continue their Hebrew studies in training courses organized by the Ministry of Education. Courses take place throughout the country and studies generally last for 6-9 months.
An Academic Degree: Teachers must have a degree from a recognized academic institution, which needs to be approved by the Israeli Ministry of Education. For immigrants coming from non-English speaking countries, the degree must be in English.
A Teacher’s License: Retraining Course: For new immigrants who are already certified teachers, the Ministry of Education offers a one-year subsidized retraining course that usually starts in October and lasts for the entire school year.
Requirements for entry into such a program include:
a. Possession of an Israeli Identification Card (teudat zehut) and/or an Israeli Immigrant Card (teudat oleh);
b. An academic degree (a degree in English if the degree is from a non-English speaking country);
c. Teaching credentials from abroad;
d. Hebrew proficiency at a post-ulpan level
If you do not have a teacher’s license, there are retraining courses for academics in the Teacher Training Colleges.
If you are interested in teaching English in areas where there is a great demand for English teachers, it is sometimes possible to be hired as an unlicensed teacher. In this case you can begin teaching, and in your second year apply to your local English inspector for an evaluation report.
If the report is positive, you can then contact the Ministry of Education to inquire about further courses you are required to take in order to qualify for a teacher’s license. You can attend these courses and at the same time continue teaching.
The Acceptance Procedure
Contact the district inspector for the Unit for Absorption of Immigrant Teachers.
Contact the English district inspector.
Bring the following documents with you when you meet the inspectors:
1. All degrees and teaching certificates (originals and photocopies);
2. A translation of degrees and certificates (for languages other than English);
3. Transcripts from the academic institution;
4. Proof of experience in teaching from previous places of employment abroad (including place of work, dates of commencement and conclusion of employment as well as position);
During the interview, the inspector will review your documents, background and experience. Your employment options will be explained, and the particular steps you must take in order to gain recognition will be outlined. The inspector will then organize an interview with the acceptance committee. The committee reviews your documents and determines the grades you are eligible to teach, and any further requirements you must fulfill in order to receive certification (training courses, etc.)
Note: Original documents should be used for presentation purposes only. Make sure to have plenty of photocopies of any document you need to submit. Do NOT give original documents to anyone.
To find a job as an English teacher, contact the English inspector of the Ministry of Education, in the geographical area where you plan to live.
When a school wishes to hire a new immigrant who has received Israeli qualification, the Ministry of Education Unit for Absorption of Immigrant Teachers may be able to provide financial assistance toward teaching hours. The principal must submit a written request for assistance. If the school provides a minimum number of hours, it can receive a limited number of matching hours from the Unit for Absorption of Immigrant Teachers. It is necessary for the teacher to apply within the time period of eligibility for assistance, and to meet all other criteria.
On-going Professional Development
The Ministry of Education encourages teachers to study. Most teachers regularly enroll in some kind of training program or in-service courses. In many cases, the Ministry of Education will pay part or all of the tuition for academic study. Decisions regarding funding are made by a special committee, on an individual basis.
Pedagogical counseling is available to new teachers from the English Inspectorate.
Teachers are entitled to a sabbatical every six or seven years (your choice), on condition that they register and complete the necessary paperwork. If you take a sabbatical after six years you are eligible to receive 66% of the previous year’s salary; you receive a higher salary if you take your sabbatical after seven years. You are expected to be enrolled in an approved professional development program during the sabbatical year and you are refunded for the cost of tuition. You may teach on a part-time basis throughout your sabbatical year.
Because of the importance of English in today’s global society, it is imperative that our students meet the standards that have been set in the national English Curriculum. The English Inspectorate invites you to join the approximately 9,000 English teachers who are enabling their students to reach the level of English necessary to succeed in their education and future careers.