Earlier this year, mechanchos gathered at several Melava Malkas to network, discuss and inspire each other. They shared tips for their fellow teachers, and we wanted to share them with you.
On connecting with your students…
- Mrs. Dobba Webb: The most important thing is to build positive relationships with our students. They should feel that any misbehavior is not taken personally by their teacher. If they do something and you feel personally insulted, introspect and separate your emotions from the student – the fact that I’m upset is my problem, not the students! When dealing with the student, try to focus on fixing the situation without making the girl feel like there is something wrong with her.
- Mrs. Nechama Samuels: Grades 6 through 8 is the sandwich generation – the “ignored” generation – we need to do all we can to make them feel recognized, validated and special. When many girls raise their hands, acknowledge all of them by name before choosing one to call on. Organize individual class farbrengens. Make it a priority to show respect to your students (and then they’ll show respect to you).
On inspiring your students…
- Mrs. Chanah Rose: Journals are very valuable. I did a Tefillah journal that was based on Peirush Tefillah class. The theme of the class was “Tefillah is My Time to Shine,” and students wrote each week about how the Tefillah they are learning helps them shine (e.g. what they learned from it, how they are inspired). Illustrations optional. Girls did amazing and inspirational work!
- Mrs. Devorah Leah Angyalfi: To reach students today (and their parents) you need to go full force on the Chassidishkeit – more programs, more chayus. The students bring the inspiration to the parents. A girl came on the first day with a short skirt and was told by the principal “I’ll be so proud if you could just come in with a skirt that’s a bit longer,” in a positive and loving way. From then on, the girl tried and put in an effort to have a skirt that was long enough when sitting, during exercise, etc., with a desire to make her principal proud.
On building skills…
- Ms. Baily Vail: To motivate students in Kriah, explain that this is precious to Hashem just like a big bachur learning in Yeshiva, and how much Hashem loves it! For Ksiva, I paced the students by playing a story or music tape that they know they need to be done by the end of, and students who are finished early can enjoy listening. Having all students on the same pace aids the teacher in checking the work.
- Mrs. Tziporah Radar: It is much easier for the teacher to just speak from the front of the classroom. However teaching independent learning is like the phrase “If you give someone a fish they have dinner for one night, but teach someone how to fish and they’ll have food for a lifetime!” It also gives the opportunity to the teacher to be able to give each child what they need.