At my (former) teacher's suggestion, I've moved up another level, known as "Bet +" (pronounced "Ploos"). I had enjoyed the people and the teacher in level "Bet" but the minimal homework had been a snap and the class moved too slowly for me. It was underwhelming and I came specifically to Ulpan Akiva to be overwhelmed, or at least extremely challenged.
The first lesson in "Bet +" was a real shocker. People straggled in late, many struggled to pronounce basic words in Hebrew, and a sizeable chunk of them had not done the homework. Not to generalize, but there are more men (and they Russian men) in this class than in the others, and perhaps that has contributed to the less than dynamite dynamic. The class was conducted at the same plodding pace as "Bet", albeit with more difficult content. I had been hoping that the new class would be more synaptically stimulating but perhaps that is just another variation of "the grass is greener...." thoughts that seem to colonize my mind.
My new teacher is excellent, but as she pleaded with the students today, there is only so much she can do to help us progress if students are not putting in the time. Let's hope that they will. It's hard for me to believe that these new immigrants lack a pressing incentive!