Parent Shares Deep Gratitude in Emotional Letter to Teacher

A parent who witnessed a dramatic change in his son due to his child’s Rebbi, writes a heartfelt letter about his experience this year.

By: A Grateful Parent

Today is the last day of school, and while I am not usually one to be emotional, I am filled with gratitude and deep emotion. Gratitude to Hashem for all His blessings, to the Rebbe for creating the incredible institution of Oholei Torah, and to my son’s Rebbi, who has made a remarkable impact this year.

As a graduate of Oholei Torah myself, having gone through the school system, I have had some good teachers. However, nothing and no one comes close to the year our son had this year. We know that children today face challenges that we either didn’t have or weren’t addressed when we were growing up.

Back then, any student needing assistance or therapy, or who didn’t fit the mold in some way, was often cast aside by the teacher or spent most of the year roaming the hallways. I recall that the only requirement to pass to the next grade was simply having a birthday. Whether you learned anything or not, no one knew or cared.

When I was on shlichus in yeshiva and later an Eltere bochur, I would see boys in Zal wasting their days, not learning a word. The root cause was simply that they didn’t know how to read Hebrew. These boys were from Crown Heights, from good families, but no one in elementary school bothered to make sure they could read. All the melamdim just passed them on to the next grade.

This year, our son has learned to read, both in Lashon HaKodesh and Yiddish, far better than many adults I know. He has learned hundreds of Hebrew words and shorashim, can write in Yiddish, and knows countless pesukim in Chumash. He can open any parsha and string together the ideas the passuk is saying, and he is not even eight years old yet. Why? Because Oholei Torah found it important to track the students’ progress and help them if they fall behind, ensuring they are ready to move up a grade with the knowledge they need, not just because they are older.

The point of this article is to highlight my son’s Rebbi. As I have mentioned, if my son had the teachers I had growing up, he would have spent the year in the hallway, with the teacher counting down the days until school was over. But not with you! Yes, there were challenging days, especially at the beginning, but you never gave up. You never stopped believing in our boy. You never once put him down but built him up every day with comments, rewards, points, prizes, and praise, always with a smile.

Did you have to discipline him? Yes, sometimes. But he knew it was only because you cared for him and wanted the best for him. He had difficulty getting along with other boys at the start, but by the end, he was one of the most popular kids, thanks to the tools you gave him. Is there still room to grow? Sure, but you paved the way and gave him the tools and confidence to do so.

Last night, I spoke with my son about how far he has come this year, about all the “shtick” he did in class in the first few months, that he has Baruch Hashem, stopped and outgrown. He looked at me and said, “Ta, that was not me; that was the old me!” So true! You helped him grow into the true him he can become. You made Torah and mitzvos, chassidishkeit, and the Rebbe come alive and exciting. The love you showed him and all the students every day made a huge difference. You never complained, you never gave up, and you always believed in him and saw what he could achieve (and thanks to you, he did).

All the other parents in the class feel the same way, and we all wish you could stay on as his Rebbi until the end of elementary school. I write this to illustrate the importance of having a good Rebbi. I am happy to see that our institutions are investing in talented melamdim who take the job because they want to see our children grow, not because they had no other job options and so became a Rebbi. A good teacher can make the difference between a talmid’s love for Torah, Hashem, and Yiddishkeit or, chas v’shalom, the opposite. They can make the difference between getting along with friends and making connections or being a loner.

Rebbi, my tayere Rebbi! You truly are the foundation of our son’s world. You have the most important job in the world, and when done right, there is no telling how awesome your achievements are. I was not in your class, but I feel like I was. I wish I had you as my teacher growing up, and I hope the other melamdim can learn from you to truly care for and do what’s best for the talmidim!

May Hashem give you the strength to keep doing what you are doing and raising the Rebbe’s army. Thank you so much—you know who you are!

A Thankful Parent

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    1. The names are withheld to protect the identity of the child and the parents.
      If you were to list teacher’s name it’s only a 1 and 25 or 1 and 23 chance who The child in question is.

  1. I know sometimes we don’t want to write who we are as the editor of the blog. Understandable i respect that. No need to tell everyone your struggles the weaknesses of your child. The community can be harsh unfairly. Mostly it may have a negative affect on your boy.

    I’m so glad you wrote these words. Many Melamdim don’t see it get enough credit for their hard work their intuition and delicate way to handle each student.

    However. Coming out in public praising the Malamud giving him credit where is so powerfully needed and deserving, is something we need to see more of. To show the הכרות הטוב a parent has for them is extremely important and vital. It will boost the confidence and enthusiasm for this Malamud and encourage others to follow suit.

    I therefore firmly believe we should know in gratitude who this is. As you are proud of your child, from the hard work and dedication please allow other parents going through hard times to see Nachas from their son.

    בזכות הרבים תלוי בך. אם רוב נחת לגדל בדרך החסידות ויר״ש בדרך ובהנהגת כ״ק אדמו״ר. משיח נאו.

    1. Since this seems like a really good rebbe, his priority is not to be publicly named and applauded I’m sure. Rather, he would likely want all of the children to succeed, and a fundamental part of that is respecting their privacy and making that a priority. It may be that there are a number of really good rebbes that are not being publicly acknowledged but G-d knows the truth and the parents can often let the principals know. It is indeed good to keep posting hakaras hatov— good news, and of course with discretion. Not naming the rebbe is the right thing to do. It helps everyone be blessed.

  2. I read this and it could very well be almost all the Rebbis my boy had this year, and not in OT.
    new, young, and goal oriented teachers is such a must today!
    thank you to ALL amazing Rebbis!

  3. Your article could have been so beautiful if you would have kept it only positive. No need to criticise other teachers (especially from the past – I have had amazing teachers in the past) while building up your sons teacher. Let’s just keep building up. That will go a long way!

  4. If we would like our children and the next generation to follow our ways it’s extremely important to keep on praising the older generation in our articles and conversations, they built up thousands of talmidim, the more we knock them the more the next generation will knock us, the more we praise them them and look up to them the more our children will respect us and follow what we teach them.

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