For almost thirty years, I spent my days in a classroom with adolescents. That time was full of magic and mystery. I planned and planned for each day of teaching but I actually never knew quite what to expect. Some of the surprises yielded incredible teaching moments and some surprises I’d like to forget. What I will never forget, however, is the incredible opportunity I had to learn Torah with young people every day and to be enriched and invigorated by their precious young voices.
Teaching is considered by most to be an isolating field. There were days during those thirty years in the classroom, when I barely exchanged a word with someone over fourteen for the entire day. I may have been isolated from other adults in my corner classroom but I was by no means lonely. Today, educators have many opportunities (like this blog) to talk to and hear from virtual contacts when time and schedules do not allow them to interact with their colleagues during the school day. We look forward to welcoming the voices of more Jewish educators to this conversation.
In my current work, I spend much of my time talking to teachers. I am always struck by their devotion and dedication, their energy and enthusiasm, and their desire to perfect their craft. Yesterday’s cover story in the New York Times Magazine talks about the complexity of the craft of teaching and two interesting approaches to defining and refining that craft. I applaud the educators who developed these approaches and hope we can learn from them in Jewish education. Our hopes and dreams for the Jewish people and our future rests with our magnificent teachers and the Jewish journeys which begin for many young people in their classrooms. .