From the COLlive Inbox:
Do these quotes sound familiar?
“Its not fair,” “My Morah/ Rebbe picks on me,” “The teacher didn’t tell us that,” “one teacher lets us and the other one doesn’t,” “how is that chutzpadik? The teacher said it too”?, ” We have a massive test and were never taught the material,” “I just don’t get it,” “my teacher is so mean all day and never smiles at us.”
For many parents, these are all too familiar quotes we hear from our children on a daily basis. Whether in kindergarten, middle school, high school or Yeshivah, sometimes the kids come home unhappy with their situation.
Most of the time we reply by saying, “Deal with it” or “Life’s not always fair in school.” Or, we say “do the best u can,” “please try and improve your behavior,” and with a kiss and a hug or a nudge of encouragement we make it go away for the time being.
Sometimes there’s a phone call. Sometimes a meeting, and sometimes a meeting with Hanhola, student, and parents to “work things out,” and most of the time it’s a passing stage and works itself out.
But what if you can’t? What if things have escalated to such a point where you honestly believe your child? Your kid is absolutely miserable? It’s definitely not a friend issue, but a teacher one? Every day your child comes homes with an extreme air of negativity surrounding them about school. He is sad, depressed, and actually stops caring. A child who used to be a happy, carefree, smart, an A+ student with tons of potential, is now despondent and “hates” school and “hates” his teachers.
As parents we are always told that for our children/teenagers to respect teachers and hanhala we must always back the school and back the teachers. I agree 100 percent.
But to what point? When will teachers take responsibility and start to be accountable for their negativity? Yes, teacher, obviously, you are doing something which is having a “negative” effect on my child. Is it always the parent’s fault? No way! Why should my kid suffer because you couldn’t pay your bills? Or your child is home with fever? Or you had an argument with your husband/wife? Or maybe you are making a simcha and don’t know where the money is going to come from. Or your babysitter didn’t show up. I’m sorry, but the negativity you are “projecting” on my child has got to stop. You might be a great teacher, well prepared, know the material and have every credential in the world, but if you are teaching without Ahavas Yisroel, it is worthless.
Do you remember learning that for every act of “gevurah” toward a child there must be two acts of “chesed”?
In any case, how can we as parents “fix this?” There is no quick fix, and I’m not here to vent, but in order for this op-ed to be productive for our kids, our schools and our hanholos, we must take action.
Solution: Video cameras in every classroom accessible only to the highest form of administration. Periodically the teachers will be observed, although they won’t know when so they will always be on “show”. (Which is a good thing because when I was teaching one of the things I learned was that you are always on show, or ‘acting,’ and not bringing your daily issues into the classroom).
Yes, a teacher has to be an actor. And if you refuse to “perform” in front of a “lifeless” camera then you certainly shouldn’t be teaching a classroom of 25 vulnerable children. Kids who consistently misbehave will also know that they are on camera and will be rewarded/penalized for their actions. But at least we will have something to show for it.
If there is a huge issue, parents or teachers can go to hanhala, and the situation can be observed in reality. And there is no argument with video footage. That’s how police catch criminals. And that’s how we protect our homes and businesses from crimes.
There is all this talk about “victims” today and how the person who commited the crime and his family are not the “victims”. The victim is the victim.
I’m not picking on teachers, they are not the victims here. I have been in chinuch for most of my life and my husband is teaching for almost 19 years. But honestly how can we expect our kids to be accountable, responsible and productive if some of their teachers who are their “role models” are not. The majority are doing a great job educating our kids and the future generation. I just don’t want my child to be a”victim”of negativity. (Unfortunately we all do that at home when we make our mistakes. Noone’s perfect.) I want, as we all do, to have my child/ children come home happy from school, and be capable of dealing with daily challenges happily and positively.
May we only merit true chassidishe nachas from our children.
Signed, a concerned parent