At first the name of this blog was was Chinuch Thoughts. Now it is Chinuch ENERGY! I decided the vision for this blog had to change. I was going to write my thoughts and ideas about the chinuch world. Then I realized that there are so many people doing that already.
Every crises that gets written about online and in the papers has the following words halfway through the discussion: SCHOOLS SHOULD . . .
I’m a teacher so that when it says SCHOOLS SHOULD it means me or my overworked principal or my dedicated colleagues.
when I see Yoni can’t get married, feel religiously passionate or know how to make a good chulent I am supposed to realize that it is because I’m not teaching what/how/when/who I should. If I change, things would get so much better.
After reading the vague and generalized suggestions, i start to think “maybe i should have just stayed at my first job where I programmed the missile launches from moving ships onto moving targets. My mistakes were not such a big deal there.” (yes that really was my first job)
It can get overwhelming, these educational manifestos or discussions about what societal ill I should be able to fix in my 3 hours a day in my classroom.
I was so proud that my class had finally learned how to put their papers in their binders so they don’t get crumpled on the bottom of their back packs. Then i read an article and felt like I should have been teaching the kids the meaning of the universe instead.
Should I abandon ship? My students backpacks will end up with this huge mess of papers on the bottom! The papers will get thrown into landfills! The landfills will overflow and then the world will really end. Destruction of the world as we know it? Quitting now doesn’t seem like a good option.
And depressing more teachers by adding to the cacophony of well meaning suggestions also doesn’t seem like a good option. So i will continue to teach but no more chinuch thoughts from me.
What I, and probably other teachers (in school or at home) could use is more energy and more resources. We could use quick ideas about how to bring lofty ideals that we know are right into our classroom in a way that doesn’t detract from all the other lofty goals that we are already pursuing.
We are doing a great job and can always get even greater. A good, practical idea is always helpful. If it has research to back it up, even better. If it wont take up time, even better. And if it adds time to our tight schedule, that is the best of all.
Just to clarify, I agree with the many suggestions that schools should teach our kids to be passionate about their Judaism, to have good character and to be independent learners. But rather on focusing on WHAT needs to be done theoretically, i want to look at HOW I try to do that practically.
So I’m going to post what I am doing to keep my class alive and learning and why I am doing so. Feel free to use what i post. Feel free to post your own ideas. I hope it brings energy to your students and to you and makes our Holy Torah come alive for us all.