This afternoon, I held my first underground Yiddish class at Whittier College. Operating out of a classroom on the second floor of my dormitory, I instructed 3 fellow freshmen on the basics of the Yiddish alphabet, and introduced some basic vocabulary. Fortunately all of my students had previous knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet, so my main focus was pointing out the pronunciation differences. In fact, two of them had Hebrew backgrounds and one a German background, making for a pretty sweet dynamic for a Yiddish class. On top of my whiteboard lesson, I distributed alphabet charts with pronunciation guides (similar to the alphabet page on the YIVO website). For homework I am assigning a couple of lessons from the Dora Teitelboim Center's website (http://www.yiddishculture.org/basiclesson/html3.htm). Next week I plan on having my students bring their computers so I could help them set up Anki flashcards. I might be teaching another class tomorrow with kids that couldnt make it today. My hope is to get everyone interested enough where I could get them to seek out more formal instruction. My hope is that I will be able to work something out whereas my Yiddish tutor could pick up where I leave off. I'll just have to see how it goes.
5 weeks ago