Mrs. Rishe Majeski, who served as a principal for close to two decades, writes what she insisted on when she hired teachers, and why she made an exception for graduates of the Bais Rivkah Seminary’s Teacher Training Program.
By Mrs. Rishe Majeski for Anash.org
There is perhaps nothing in the world as meaningful and impactful as teaching Yiddishe Neshamos. It is the work of mining for treasures, of polishing diamonds. It is the task of illuminating the Chelek Eloka within each child and nourishing it with the light of Torah and Chassidus. It is the mission to empower Hashem’s children to fulfill the purpose for which they have been created.
Contrary to popular misconception, Chinuch and teaching requires intense training and cannot just be “figured out on the job”. True, there are those with an innate aptitude for explaining concepts, connecting with children, or charisma. But effective teaching involves a wide variety of skills that must be learned, such as lesson planning and classroom management. It requires a deep understanding of the goal and art of Chinuch as well as of the intricacies of the students’ emotional needs and learning differences.
As a principal for many years, I always insisted on hiring only teachers with prior classroom experience; I didn’t want my students to be exposed to the inevitable copious mistakes of a new teacher.
That was until I received applications from graduates of Bais Rivkah Seminary’s Teacher Training Program. In meeting with them and observing their model lessons, it became obvious that while they might not have held formal teaching jobs before, they were very well prepared to enter the classroom. They understood what a proper lesson looked like; they knew how to manage a class appropriately. And so, I hired these newly trained teachers – and was gratified with the results.
I was intrigued; what was actually happening in the Bais Rivkah Teacher Training Program that after one year, their graduates were so much more prepared for teaching than their peers?
This past year, I had the privilege of experiencing this amazing program firsthand as a Teacher Training supervisor. I was responsible for guiding a wonderful group of students who were specializing in education of grades 6-8. I reviewed their lesson plans, observed their peer teaching, their model lessons in the elementary school, and gave them constructive feedback. I was fortunate to work with a team of other dedicated supervisors, each committed to the growth and success of each and every student, working with them one-on-one for countless hours. Where does one find such individualized support in Teacher Training?
And then there were the classes. It was incredible to see how much high-level knowledge my students were gaining from many excellent instructors about the entire gamut of education. On a practical level, they studied lesson planning – including higher-order thinking, differentiated instruction and the specific art of teaching Limudei Kodesh subjects – as well as classroom management, child development and special education.
This was not simply a teacher training program that could be found anywhere else. This was a program preparing Mechanchos to teach Yiddishkeit and Chassidishkeit to all children. There were several courses about Chassidishe Chinuch based on the teachings of Torah and our Rebbeim. The whole program was imbued with inspiration and empowerment for the holy shlichus of Chinuch.
I wholeheartedly encourage any Seminary Alef graduate, who is considering teaching, to take advantage of this treasure in our community. An aspiring teacher might assume she will simply “figure it out,” observing that many teachers she knows started out that way. This is a mistake.
The errors of an inexperienced teacher have repercussions that are much more consequential than imperfect handiwork or documents. They impact our most prized possessions, the Neshamos of our precious children. The emotional scars or lack of critical learning skills, and the resultant disillusionment suffered by the students of a teacher who was not properly trained and prepared to teach are too high of a price to pay.
Future teachers and Mechanchos of the Rebbe’s children: We need every single one of you! It is you who will have the Zechus to teach the Neshamos of the first generation of Geulah.
But please, do it right. Take that one year to invest in receiving quality, professional and Chassidishe training for this most exalted endeavor. Enroll in Bais Rivkah’s Teacher Training Program. Our diamonds deserve nothing less.
For more information about the Bais Rivkah Seminary Teacher Training Program please e-mail [email protected].