New oleh parents often face numerous hurdles as they slowly learn to navigate Israel’s education system, and these challenges are only exacerbated by the fact that every. single. teacher – yes, even within the same school! – insists on using different terminology.
Take, for instance, gym class.
In Hebrew, it’s alternatively referred to as hitamlut (התעמלות - literally, exercise or gymnastics), sport (ספורט – literally, sports), or chinuch gufani (חינוך גופני - physical education).
And science class isn’t too much better.
I still recall how one of the Shiputzim kids, who was then in first grade, came home confused, because the homeroom teacher called it mada’im (מדעים – literally, sciences) while the science teacher called it teva (טבע – literally, nature).
A mainstay of Israeli school supply lists, it’s used as a cover for papers, projects, and reports and – in the younger grades - also as a simple folder.
What’s the Hebrew word for “binder,” you ask?
Ay, there’s the rub.
Because over the years, the Shiputzim kids’ assorted teachers have used all of the following:
- Klassair (קלסר - from the French “classeur,” meaning, IINM, file or binder)
- Klassair shakuf (קלסר שקוף - transparent klassair)
- Klassair chatzi-shakuf (קלסר חצי-שקוף – semitransparent klassair)
- Klassair tzivoni (קלסר צבעוני – colored klassair)
- Tikiyah (תיקייה – file or folder)
- Tikiyah shkufah (תיקייה שקופה – transparent tikiyah)
- Tikiyah chatzi-shkufah (תיקייה חצי-שקופה – semitransparent tikiyah)
- Tikiyah tzivonit (תיקייה צבעונית – colored tikiyah)
- Shkafkefet (שקפקפת – from the word shakuf, i.e. transparent)
And so, I turn to you, Mr. Education Minister*, in the name of new – and not so new – olim across the country.
Just as you decreed that school uniforms would be the norm, maybe now’s the time to introduce uniform standards for pedagogical terminology?
I’m just saying…
Which terms do your children’s teachers prefer?
*What?? He MIGHT be a devoted Our Shiputzim reader. It could happen… ;-)