Based on a talk by Mrs. Chanie Feldman
As educators, we often find ourselves trying to assist a child with a particular challenge, whether social-emotional, academic, or something else. When a child has a challenge, this is their personal Golus, and there is so much that we can learn from the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim for how to guide them toward their personal Geulah!
- The first step is to know that they can, and will, emerge from this challenge triumphant! Just like the posuk of “B’chol Dor Vador” teaches us, we are constantly empowered to grow by leaps and bounds and break free of any limiting challenge or circumstance. The first step is the Besuras Hageulah, instilling in the child this hope and certainty that they can grow and succeed. A growth mindset is a Geulah mindset!
- The teacher’s role is like that of Moshe Rabbeinu, shepherding the Yidden towards the Geulah. Moshe went to see the Yidden working so he could empathize with their pain. Similarly, before we can help our students we need to try to put ourselves in their shoes to understand their current frustrations.
- Similarly, Moshe Rabbeinu continued to stay with the Yidden throughout this whole journey. It is our job to show our students that we are there for them, particularly when dealing with a challenge, conveying the message that they do not need to do this alone.
- Change is hard, and many Jews were afraid to leave Mitzrayim. Similarly, we need to identify what the student’s resistance might be to growing (extra work? different group of friends?) and try to address that.
- A further step is to identify what Geulah means for this child. What will it look like? What will be different. What will he/she now be able to do (be able to read, play more nicely with friends, have better study skills)? What consequences might that bring about for the long term?
- The Geulah from Mitzrayim unfolded little by little. While still in Mitzrayim, they first stopped working as slaves, and then began to receive their first Mitzvos, so they could begin to transition to being free people. Similarly, it’s important to break down the goals we set for our students into smaller baby steps, and create milestones along the way that they can reach for and celebrate.
- Hashem understood that the process of leaving Mitzrayim was not easy, and that the Yidden needed encouragement along the way. He did so by showing miracle after miracle, uplifting the Yidden with the message that “I’m here, this will all be ok.” How can you offer encouragement to your students? How can you be their miracle?
The Geulah from Mitzrayim does not just exist in the past, but is remembered every year – and in a smaller way every day. We, too, should find opportunities to recall
our students’ growth and achievements. By Nissan, they have come along way since they entered their new grade in Elul. What an opportune time, in the spirit of “B’chol Dor V’Dor,” to reflect with them on what they have achieved, and how they feel differently from the beginning of the year. You can include a page in your class Haggada for students to record their own growth milestones in their Chinuch journey. Yasher koach for bringing them so far, and wishing you and your students a personal Geulah, as well as the Geulah Shelaima, this year!
Mrs. Chanie Feldman is a Chinuch consultant and currently General Studies principal at Cheder Chabad of Philadelphia. She shared these ideas at the Mechanchos Farbrengen for Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5782. You can view her full talk here: https://mymef.org/videos/chinuch-lessons-from-yetzias-mitzrayim-with-mrs-chanie-feldman/