David Wasser:A quick look
Resides in Cranston.
Teaches kindergarten, first and second grade students at Temple Torat Yisrael, a Conservative synagogue in East Greenwich.
Years teaching: 23
Works as the middle and upper school technology teacher and technology integration specialist at Moses Brown School in Providence.
Holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.
Q: How do you stay motivated after more than two decades of teaching? What do you do to get prepared to teach at the beginning of each school year?
A: In a very real sense, teachers are always preparing for the next school year!
We tinker with the design of each lesson, project or activity – even as we are engaged in them – and we take note of what works and what needs rethinking.
Q: How do you instill Jewish values in your young students?
A: As a teacher of kindergarten, first and second grade students, I am always looking for creative ways to present Jewish values and principles to students whose vocabularies probably don’t include the words “values” and “principles!” Through art and drama, children are able to connect with concepts and feelings that can then be named and discussed.
Q: Can you give some specific examples?
A: Last year, we made videos of the children acting out various stories from the Torah, and leading one another in Hebrew reading games. The thrill of seeing themselves on the Web keeps them coming back to view the lessons again and again!
Q: The school is now in a brand-new location in the new synagogue site. Is there anything else new and different?
A: This summer, Torat Yisrael’s newly reconstituted school committee is engaged in an exciting and thoughtful process of re-envisioning Jewish education in the 21st century. Led by a group of passionate parents and a new program director, we are challenging our congregation and ourselves to construct a curriculum that provides engaging, relevant and inspirational Jewish experiences that speak to the needs of our diverse community. I will be meeting with this group throughout the summer and devising new strategies and ways to create opportunities for “hands on,” “minds on,” and “hearts on” experiential learning that will involve not just students, but parents and grandparents, too!