Wednesday, May 04, 2005

On Rabbeim

I've got to say, I love my boys' Rabbeim. I may not agree with everything that they say regarding Torah and Yahadus, but I love 'em anyway.

My younger son is in third grade. His Rebbe is simply amazing, but we already knew that from when my older son had him. He puts so much of his own personal time and effort into making learning interesting for the children. The fact that he's techno-savvy is a big plus.

The younger one is starting to learn "Az Yashir" now. So, what did this Rebbe do? He made a PowerPoint presentation where the children can click through one pasuk at a time, see the text of the pasuk and listen to either the translation or with truppe (cantallation), and sent it home on CD with the boys. When the boys started learning Mishnayos, not only did he make a celebration for them (making sure that all the boys participated), but he also made sure to send home for each boy a certificate with a picture of the boy as he appeared that day. In addition, his whole family chipped in to help with the celebration - his wife baked cakes and cookies for the occassion and she was there to help set up. When my son's yeshiva had a father-son brunch, he took his digital camera there, made sure to get shots of all the boys with their fathers (or alternate male relatvies who attended) and then sent home a nice picture of the boys framed with the words of a song that he had taught them for a presentation at the brunch. When they learned the Makkos, not only did they just learn it, but he arranged for a Makkos fair for the children. When nine boys from the class were absent, he conferenced called them so that they could learn together with the class. When my older son was in his class and was out sick for a few days, the Rebbe called him on his cell phone from class and used his own personal cell minutes to make sure that my son kept us as much as he was able during his illness.

My older sons' rebbe is not as tech-savvy as my younger son's rebbe. He doesn't send home pictures of the boys and doesn't send presentations for them. He doesn't call them from the classroom when they are ill. But he makes up for it in the pure love that one can see that he has for the boys. He takes great pains to see to it that every boy is taken care of. He paired my son off with another boy to learn b'chavrusa (together). My son's chavrusa didn't take the responsibility seriously enough (he never called our son, when my son called him he was difficult to get a hold of, etc.) and so we asked the rebbe to switch our son's chavrusa. He did - he took the job himself. For several months, he and my son learned on the phone most nights b'chavrusa. How many grade-school Rabbeim would do that? He arranges for trips for the boys who don't watch TV to meet with Gedolim (and dinner for those that go) on his own time and from his own money. He arranged for all the boys in the class to be able to go to a gym and swimming pool one Sunday night. These aren't among his official responsibilites as a Rebbe - but one can see the love he has for teaching and the love he has for his students. He comes off as just such a warm person.

My sons have had some good Rebbeim in this school, and they've had some downright awful ones - ones who have burned out for years and ones who belittle the children. But these two are so far above any other Rabbeim I have ever met! If only I had such caring, nurturing and thoughtful Rabbeim when I was in elementary/high school - I might have turned out much different than the maverick I have become.

The Wolf

13 comments:

Eliezer said...

I'm no fan or advocate of having a television, but why should that disqualify young talmidim from the opportunity to meet with Gedolim?

Anonymous said...

It was obviously meant as an incentive for kids not to watch TV.

BrooklynWolf said...

Yes, it was the carrot (reward), not the stick (punishment).

Wolf

PsychoToddler said...

You're very lucky, especially with all the negative blog buzz that rebbes get. My sons' rebbeim have been hit or miss. The younger grades are phenomenal, but in the older grades we've had some issues.

I applaud your older son's rebbe for learning with your son. My 8th grader was having very poor luck with his assigned chevrusas and we were getting very little help from the rebbe. I finally finagled him a chevrusa at the local beis medresh, and it's worked out great.

BTW I'm not so sure how great a carrot a trip to the gedolim is for kids who would rather watch TV anyway.

BrooklynWolf said...

Truthfully, we've been "hit-or-miss" as well. The second and fourth grade Rabbeim were of the types that I mentioned in the last paragraph of my post. But the other years have been excellent. We were skeptical going into this year with our oldest (since it seemed that the even-grade Rabbeim were problems for whatever reason) but we were very pleasantly surprised.

The Wolf

momof4 said...

My boys' Rebbes have also been hit-or-miss. I have found that the newbies seem to have have something to prove and consistently pleasantly surprise me. (The Yeshiva is growing at such a rate that they add new classes yearly, thus lots of opportunity for newbies.) The old-timers, even the "star" old-timers, always seem a little too burnt out for my tastes.

daat y said...

do your kids feel the sme way you do.

daat y said...

do your kids feel the sme way you do.

BrooklynWolf said...

Yes, they do. Children can sense very easily when someone cares about them. The good Rabbeim try to make the class interesting and fun, try to engage the kids and build up their self-esteem. The others range from the indifferent to the harmful - and the kids know it too.

The Wolf

yeshivaguy said...

I wouldn't have wanted my rabbeim conferencing me when I was sick. That's vacation time!

BrooklynWolf said...

Yeah, I felt that way too, yeshivaguy, but you know what? This Rebbe really makes the kids interested in learning. My son wants to learn. He was thrilled that the rebbe called.

But my son's feelings on the matter aren't really the point. The rebbe could have (and most would have) just noted the absence in the roll book and not thought about the boy again all day. Not this rebbe. He genuinely cares about the kids and thinks about them constantly.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

How about your daughters' educations?

BrooklynWolf said...

Make that daughter's education - I only have one.

Her teachers are competent, professional and certainly do their jobs well - I have no complaints there - but they don't put in the same personal effort that my sons' Rabbeim do.

The Wolf