45 Mechanchim Complete Intensive Training School

Mechanchim to be teaching at schools around the globe learned chinuch fundamentals and teaching skills at Igud Hamelamdim’s one-of-a-kind teacher training summer school.

By Malky Weinstock

When the school doors closed for summer vacation a few weeks ago, forty-five teachers looked forward to beginning a unique summer school—Igud Hamelamdim’s teacher training school, which was held for its seventh consecutive season, this year, from 18 Tammuz through 5 Menachem Av.

“The school’s three-week, 35-hour course participants, included both new and veteran teachers, and even some principals,” says Rabbi Avrohom Bluming, director of Igud Hamelamdim Lubavitch chinuch organization.

Owing to the school’s popularity and supreme effectiveness, 25 out-of-town teachers also wished to join. In response, each classroom was outfitted with a wall-to-wall screen and loudspeaker, to provide live interactive classes between the instructor and the online students.

The school has a staff of five elite instructors, a group handpicked as leaders of the chinuch profession: Rabbi Mechel Rottenberg, renowned principal and trainer who has thousands of teachers worldwide using his classroom management and lesson planning skills; Rabbi Michoel Gourarie, veteran mechanech and trainer, and noted expert in the Rebbe’s chinuch approach;  Rabbi Yehoshua Lustig, principal of Oholei Torah Crown Heights, known for his leadership and practical communications approach with students and parents; Rabbi Mendel Klyne, principal of Cheder Chabad Detroit and master Gemara teacher; and Rabbi Nachman Yosef Twersky, veteran mechanech and noted lecturer.

The teacher training syllabus included a curated selection of best methods that teachers were thrilled to gain mastery of. Topics included: eliciting active participation from all the students, essential needs of every student, communicating with every student in their “language,” setting the stage for classroom success on the first day and every day, Kriah for all ages, teaching Chumash effectively, the art of the student-teacher relationship, education differentiation to master success with every level student, preparing tests, parent-teacher communication, creating an environment of positivity, the components of a model lesson, rewards and consequences, effective elements of instruction, lesson planning, maximizing student’s potential, raising students to a higher level of thinking and processing, teaching Gemara effectively, and ‘Bifnim’ learning techniques.

To the mechanchim’s delight, the 3-hour sessions were not boring lectures. The instructors, known equally for their charisma, wit, and humor, provided for lively, spirited sessions. Participants – both in-person and online – engaged directly with the instructors throughout the class. Custom loose-leaf binders, including close to 150 pages of handouts, diagrams, and invaluable chinuch tips and tools, were provided to each mechanech.

Mechanchim felt energized by the course and spoke of their excitement for going back into their classrooms with fresh enthusiasm and new ideas. Rabbi Yosef Katz, a veteran teacher in ULY, enthused, “I have recorded in my notes approximately 20 new points that I hope to incorporate into my teaching in the upcoming school year.”

The teacher training summer school concluded with a grand siyum, joined by speakers, Rabbi Efraim Mintz, director of JLI, and Rabbi Yosef Simpson, principal of ULY. Representative of the participants, R’ Shmuly Gneivish, then shared some warm words. The siyum concluded with the participants each receiving a graduation certificate and being inspired to take on their chinuch mission.

“The air was heady with the pervasive sense of achievement and empowerment,” says Igud Hamelamdim director, Rabbi Avrohom Bluming. “It was gratifying to see our children’s devoted teachers feeling confident and ready, armed with a host of newly acquired chinuch tools, to take on their classrooms with freshness and exuberance, newly committed to reach and transform each and every student in their care, in the upcoming school season, haba aleinu litovah.”

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