3 Month Aliyahversary

3 month aliyahversary .JPGThat’s right folks it’s been three months and I’m not disillusioned…yet! I’m feeling pretty inspired actually. Yesterday, my day off from the  Gan which is my private practice day (Side hustle Tuesday folks) I met with an MFT here in Tel Aviv. As we talked she shared all the wisdom she has gathered in her short time practicing here and it has inspired me to focus on getting clients here in Tel Aviv. Up to now I’ve been focusing on getting California clients and it has not paid off. As we did therapy talk I became rejuvenated in a way I haven’t felt since I arrived. I love the kids at my gan and the familiarity of the place is nice but really it’s not my passion. As we walked to Habima square it was “Good Deeds” day and we chatted with a woman named Efrat (my hebrew tutors name which made me smile warmly) and she told me she was going to Silicon Valley to visit her sister over Pesach. (An aside she also wanted to adopt me and bring me something back from the states-until you move abroad you don’t know the excitement of getting your favorite home country delicassies-I’m still jonesing for Cheez-its). Any way she asked about what we did, which my new friend replied that we were therapists, and we chatted about this (the different services in the area and she gave me her card so I can reach out to her as well). This got me thinking about how I have been failing at marketing myself since I arrived (and really I don’t know why). When people ask me what I do I usually say that I am an assistant teacher at a gan but I should actually be saying that I’m a therapist and I work with trauma survivors. Since Pesach is in just 2 weeks I need to get myself an office ASAP so that I can spend my week off networking. 

Earlier this week I talked with my boss about the promotion to head teacher at the other gan. I said I would take it after she answered some of my questions and we negotiated my pay (from 5 shekels she offered to 6 shekels an hour) but we talked about waiting to sign the contract until after I’ve visited the school and met the staff. Well I read the contract yesterday (before the meeting with the therapist) and I had second thoughts. It would require that I either open or close the gan 3x’s a week. Opening means coming in at 7 (as opposed to 8) and closing means not leaving until after 5 (I leave at 4:30) so your talking about a 9 and a half hour day as opposed to a 8 and a half hour day. Then I would have to cut up fruits and veggies for morning breakfast (incidentally as I write this on my way to work she sent a text that one of the assistants will be needed in the kitchen this morning so one of the teachers needs to stay in his class to watch those kids) and that kind of stuff would be part of my job as a teacher (no thank you). I also have to hold holiday parties-a Chanukah party too-where I have to plan and all that. So those things in and of themselves don’t sound like fun I also thought about the added work and how tired I would be. Being a head teacher means added responsibilities and longer hours, how will I have the energy to build my practice?

So as I reflect on this contract and my conversations I’m thinking about why I wanted to move to Israel and the life I wanted to build here. My dream of working 4 days a week, having my own office filled with stuff to nurturance my clients (food, toys, books, art, sand tray, tipee, swings, etc), attending seminars and conferences, and consulting at schools. For personal I wanted to do more yoga, meditation, go on retreats, go hiking, traveling around the country (and outside), cook more, spend more time with friends and also make new friends, and on and on. How can I do this as a head teacher? I’d work 9 and a half hours 3 days a week plus the time it takes to do lesson plans etc. At this moment the head teacher is out in the kitchen doing stuff for the kids while I sit here writing while they sleep. Then I thought about connecting with parents. Right now I babysit for a little guy and it’s no problem because I’m just an assistant so there is no conflict but if I was a teacher there is no way I’d be able to do it. Also this family invited me to join them over Pesach and I don’t have family here to do Pesach with so why not take them up on their offer. Again it’s a chance to meet people and make friends-its much easier when your not the teacher. These parents talk to each other as well and one day a week I am the head teacher and I communicate with parents at this time. They like me and they trust me. They talk to each other as well, so having an in with the parents this way can get me connected in my business as well. The point is, is that even though its 6 shekel more an hour as a head teacher, I’m actually losing more than I’m gaining, when I break it down like this. So now it’s time to buckle up and follow my passion. 

So my mind is made up and I’m feeling good about this. Next week I plan to go to the government offices to open my business legally and I’m also on the hunt to rent an office space. I can’t decide if I want to do by the hour or by the day but that will come. I also need to sign up for the online directory gethelpISrael. So fingers crossed that April is my first month where I get at least 1 client.

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