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MEF’s annual Chinuch Awards will be given this year to a teacher who stands out for their CARING AND CONNECTION. Anyone can nominate a teacher, and have the chance to say thank you to a teacher who cares!

Nominees must be

  • Currently teaching in a Chabad school.
  • Have at least 3 years of teaching experience (not including current year).
  • Have a substantial teaching load of at least 10 hours a week.
  • Teach any subject in grades K-12.

Note: Past winners of MEF’s Chinuch Awards (previously the Eisenberg Award) are excluded. Finalists, however, are welcome to be nominated. Also excluded are current, contracted employees of the MEF.

Days Left to Nominate!

Nominations are due on 9 Iyar (May 5th).

Two winners, one Mechanech and one Mechaneches, will be awarded $3,600 and be highlighted at the annual Chabad Chinuch Convention. 10 finalists and other semi-finalists will also be recognized. Awards will be presented at the Chabad Chinuch Convention on 4 Tamuz (June 28th).

About the Chinuch Awards

The goal of the Chinuch Awards is to celebrate and thank the teachers who shape our children’s lives in positive ways, and to inspire all teachers with the potential they hold and give them role models to emulate.

In the past, the Chinuch Award was given to an outstanding teacher in a general sense. However, there is no one “best” teacher – great teachers are all different, and excel in so many different areas of vital importance.

For this reason, this year’s Chinuch Awards will focus on one aspect of teaching, in connection with the theme of the Chabad Chinuch Convention at which it will be presented. Other key aspects of exceptional teaching will be awarded and recognized in future years, b’ezras Hashem.

While nominees will be vetted to ensure that they are a dugma chaya in all areas of teaching, this year’s award will be given to a teacher who is particularly strong in one, specific area.

Theme: Caring and Connection

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring. Each of these small acts of kindness have the potential to turn a life around. According to research, few factors in Chinuch have a greater impact on a student’s educational experience than a caring relationship with his or her teacher.

A teacher has many jobs – to impart valuable information about how to live as a Yid, to teach learning skills, to inspire their students, to serve as a role model, and to connect to each student. Connection lays the groundwork for students to be receptive to learning. A child who feels cared about, who feels that they have a valuable role in the classroom, and whose teacher appreciates their unique personality and situation in life, is a child who is in a much better position to flourish.

This year’s award will recognize the teacher who cares. This caring can be manifest in many different ways. Teachers will not be judged by how many hours or dollars they spent, but how they conveyed a genuine sense of caring and connection to the student as an individual, within the parameters of an appropriate teacher-student relationship.

The finalists will all be exemplary teachers in every regard. However, for this year’s award, we are looking to learn from a few exceptional teachers how to show students that we care, and that they matter. We are looking for the connection – based on chassidishe Ahavas Yisroel, and the realization of the responsibility that a teacher has to his or her students – that a student holds onto for years to come.

Criteria

A nominee must be a current teacher in a Chabad school with a substantial teaching load (10-15 hours per week), with a minimum of three years of teaching experience (meaning that they are currently in their fourth year or beyond).

Anyone can nominate a teacher, and should provide two references including

  1. A parent of a current or former student, or former students themselves and
  2. A member of the school’s staff, such as a principal or co-teacher.

There are four questions that should be answered to the best of the nominator’s ability.

  1. What are some examples of how the teacher creates and strengthens a personal connection with the students, within the framework of his or her teaching responsibilities?
  2. How does the teacher reach out beyond his or her teaching responsibilities to show students that he or she cares? (This answer will be judged not according to time or resource expenditure, but on the quality of the interactions.)
  3. What is an example of the lasting impact that the teacher has had on one or more students?
  4. In which other ways is this teacher exemplary?

Nomination Process

The nominations process will happen in 3 stages.

Round One: The nominations themselves will be judged by MEF staff. Each of the 4 answers will be given a score from 1-5, with the highest total scored being 20. Anyone who gets at least 3 points per question is eligible to be a semi-finalist. From this group, semi-finalists with the highest scores will move on to the next stage.

Round Two: Committee chairs will call references to substantiate the nominations, and to ensure that the teacher is a dugma chaya of a Lubavitcher mechanech(es) and exemplary in all areas of teaching (see MEF’s Vision for Chabad Schools as a guideline for excellence in teaching). Of the teachers who continue to stand out vis a vis the specific theme of this year’s award, as well as general criteria, 5 men and 5 women will be chosen as finalists.

Round Three: Detailed profiles of the finalists with names removed will be presented to panels of impartial judges. They will then vote on the two teachers – one man and one woman – who can best serve as an example of caring and connection to other teachers. These two educators will receive this year’s Chinuch Awards.

Chinuch Awards Nomination Committee

Men’s Committee:

Rabbi Faitel Levin, Chair
Rabbi Mannis Frankel, Teacher, Cheder Chabad Morristown
Rabbi Zalman Schapiro, Teacher, Oholei Torah- Former Winner
Rabbi Shlomo Teichtel, Teacher, Yeshiva Unversity High School
Rabbi Mendy Vail, Assistant Principal, Darchai Menachem

Women’s Committee:

Mrs. Chana Rose, Chair

Mrs. Chava Altein, Principal, Bais Rivkah Elementary School
Mrs. Yehudis Farkash, Principal, Ohel Chana Los Angeles
Mrs. Miriam Gerber, Teacher, Cheder Chabad Philadelphia- Former Winner
Mrs. Chaya Sara Dalfin, Principal, Lubavitch Educational Center