Teaching – An Impossible Case in Permanent Emergency

Teaching – An Impossible Case in Permanent Emergency
Ruth Bengio

"Tafsan" in Hebrew means the catcher, the heart catcher. This Tafsan catcher has two faces: that catching the adolescent and that of clinging to one’s desire and not giving ground on one’s desire to catch the teenager who is falling. It is about a knowing-how to do in emergency, in urgency, to go to the encounter of the teenager, of the student’s symptom, to say yes and no at the same time. Tafsan is a place on the way that comes to meet the one who wanders in his path.

Exile in the language of S

S. is 13, he goes to a French-Arab-Israeli college. In Hebrew class he continually repeats that he is not strong in Hebrew, that he does not know how to speak this language well, but on the other hand he is very good in English. He likes to speak in English. S. decided to do nothing in Hebrew. He does not work, he does not do anything. He is friendly and at the same time annoying, he holds conversations with his friends in English and Arabic during the Hebrew classes. I do not understand why he keeps talking about not knowing Hebrew while he actually speaks it fluently.

One day during class work, I look at him and I wonder how is he going to hold one and a half hour without doing anything. It is the urgency of an intervention that arises in me, an invention that allows him to subsequently find his response to the study of Hebrew. I call him and say to him: "You will do this assignment in English. That's when he begins to stammer, saying: "But we're in Hebrew class, how come?" I say: "You do not know Hebrew, do you? But you know English? He says yes with pride and I continue saying: "Then you will read the text in Hebrew and you will write the answers in English. S. went to work without saying a word. The next day I meet him and I say to him: "So, since you did a good job, you will prepare your next presentation in English if you want.” He answers happily: "No! I'll write it in Hebrew, I'll bring it to you tomorrow."

Translation: Florencia F. C. Shanahan