The passage of the Arba Banim reminds us anew each year to tailor our teaching to all of our diverse students. Do you recognize any of these four in your classroom?

  • Chacham: The upper third of our class needs to be challenged with the intricacies of Halacha and the deeper meanings of our heritage. We may think that they can fend for themselves, but a thinking, searching mind needs to be utilized in Limud HaTorah, lest the Chacham slip into the role of his neighbor, the Rasha, who takes his questions and potential elsewhere…
  • Rasha: This child is placed right next to the Chacham because his potential is as great as his challenges. As educators, we can strive to channel his passion, his questions and his energy to the service as Hashem. The key? Making it personal. The Rasha’s fundamental error is “excluding himself from the Klal;” he feels alienated and does not belong. By showing him how to find personal relevance and find his own place at the Seder table, this child can be transformed.
  • Tam: The middle third of our class benefits from engaging lessons, painted in dramatic color, about the “strong hand” Hashem displayed and the miracles that He has done for us. Throughout our teaching, using stories, multiple learning styles, and engagement techniques will draw this child in and set them up on a path of lifelong learning and inspiration.
  • She’aino Yodei’ah Lish’ol: The underperformers in our class, or the silent children who neither challenge nor participate, may seem beyond our reach. However, the Hagada obligates us to take the initiative. By taking the first step towards a relationship, by creating a learning environment that piques even their interest, and by using the variety of professional methods within our reach to get to the root cause of their apparent apathy, we can create a classroom where every child can learn.
  • The Rebbe’s message about the fifth son who doesn’t even attend the Pesach Seder reminds us about the necessity of expanding the doors of our Chinuch even wider, and ensuring that every Jewish child receives the education that they deserve.

Which of these five kinds of children can you put extra effort in reaching out to in this last stretch of the year?