From cutting open juice boxes to cleaning up impromptu finger painting messes, freshman Jacob Brodson is always busy while working as a teacher’s assistant for kindergarteners at Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim.
“You can never really expect what’s going to happen,” said Brodson. “Kindergarteners are just fun to be around, I’m never bored.”
The kindergarteners often blurt out amusing phrases while they try to interpret what they learn, Brodson said. Once he overheard one of his students saying, “Wine is just grown-up grape juice,” while learning about Shabbat, a Jewish holiday.
According to junior Abby Tzinberg, who works with Brodson, her favorite part about teaching is getting to see the students develop as learners.
“One of my students was really struggling to read [Hebrew] and he just worked his butt off, and now he’s … one of the strongest readers in the class,” Tzinberg said.
Brodson said he gets paid $12 to teach for two hours and 30 minutes. He has many duties as a teacher’s assistant, such as finding ways to engage the kindergarteners that incorporate Jewish teachings with games, and solving problems that arise, like finding snacks for the kids when they forget.
“I do definitely think we’re underpaid, but I don’t do it for the money at all,” said Brodson. “It’s still a great experience, and I’m completely happy doing it.”
He is inspired by the smiling faces of the kindergarteners, their eagerness to learn each day and their friendships with each other.
“It’s more for the experience at this job,” said Brodson. “If we were working for the money we wouldn’t become kindergarten teacher’s assistants.”