Monday, October 4, 2010

Pinch Me, I'm Dreaming

Today turned out to be so wonderful. I went into the office today to hear a presentation by the brains of the new reading remediation system I'll be writing about. I was enthralled, just transfixed by Yossi as he explained all the science behind the process of reading. It just blows me away to think of the coincidences that led me to this great job.

Dov was doing odd jobs for Yossi, who was moving to a different neighborhood in my town. Dov just happened to ask Yossi what he did for a living, and when he discovered that Yossi was a scientist who had developed a remediation program for reading difficulties, Dov thought to ask if Yossi had a website and did he, by any chance need a content writer?

Yossi had just begun the process of building the company and was about to start developing a website. He did indeed, need a content writer; one like me who had experience in dumbing down for the layman, difficult technical concepts. All of us, Yossi, Dov, and I thought this was a clear-cut case of divine intervention (hashgacha pratis) bringing us together.

There were other factors that made this a good match. For instance, I had served as a reading teacher for eight years to 3-6 year-old boys on my former settlement. In certain Jewish communities, boys are expected to be reading by the time they enter first grade. This is fine in theory, but in practice, the boys aren't always quite at the stage of reading readiness at age 3 or even at age 6.

As a result, I had done a great deal of reading during the time I served as a teacher on the subject of reading: what are the processes involved in the act of reading and so forth. I needed to figure out how to get the kids who had difficulties, reading in time for first grade. So I had done some research on the topic.

All this means that I had more than just a fleeting intimacy with the subject of reading difficulties when this job landed in my lap, seeming, as it did, to arrive from the heavens.

But today was the first time I got a taste of what it is that Yossi has achieved with his work in the field. And I was impressed that it's not just some fraudulent trickery set up to dupe some poor unsuspecting, desperate parents out of their money. Gosh, I was impressed!

I didn't want to voice this earlier, but I'd been so afraid I would be forced to work for a bunch of charlatans and trust me, there are a lot of them in this (unregulated) field. But this is the furthest thing from the facts of this situation. This is science, not some gimmick pretending to be a miracle worker nor is it a silly gadget with unfounded claims .

I can't spill the beans here—I have to save this for my job. I'll share the website address once we get everything launched. But this is such KEWL science. It made me get goose-flesh. I listened to Yossi hold forth for almost three hours and never once felt the least bit of boredom. That never--well, almost never--happens to me.

I have always tuned out lectures, long classes, cassette tapes of classes, and teachers of almost any stripe. There have been rare instances in which I felt engaged for lengthy periods of time in a classroom situation. In my former neighborhood, there was a woman named Chaya Horowitz who held classes in Navi (Prophets) every Shabbos afternoon for the neighborhood women. Chaya was one of the very few teachers who have ever been able to hold my attention.

Yossi is another one.

I am so excited to be working with this company and so grateful for the chance to do some really good work in something that I believe in—something that fascinates me and can help people, too. Wow. Pinch me. I'm dreaming.

Wednesday, I go in to the office again for another presentation, and today I came home with a stack of reading material to go through. I also took voluminous notes during Yossi's presentation and asked numerous questions. I am totally sucked into the charm and energy of this company. I love the office space, too. It's almost a shame I said I'd work mostly from home.

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