Jan 19, 2013
Grow Up and Face the Facts

A long-time teacher in Crown Heights responds to the teenage girl who complained about micro-managing in schools.

Dear Chasha C.,

Permit me to respond from your teachers' point of view to your well-written op-ed "Why Micro-Manage Our Lives."

Being a Machaneches isn't all it's cracked up to be. Believe me when I say it's a thankless job. Generally speaking, we don't take on the responsibility because we want to micro-manage (your description) your lives. We have more than enough on our hands dealing with our own families and not to mention health issues and everything else life has to throw at us.

But we do our "job" (as you say, we are Mechanchos – that's our job) because we care. We actually care far too much. Many of us go home thinking: Did I inadvertently hurt a student? Is this girl unhappy or just overwhelmed? How can I help her? How can I make her parents accept their daughter for who she is?

You have no idea what "micro-managing" involves. How about the soul-searching and overwhelming responsibility for the welfare of our students.

Do you really think we spend all day, every day, thinking up impossibly ridiculous rules to try to stop you from having "fun"? Do you honestly believe we have the time to find ways to make your lives miserable, to suck out all the spunk and joy from your very being?

It's time to grow up and face facts. You are often treated like children because that's the way you behave. Why else would you be constantly thwarting us and trying, as you say, to come up with evermore creative ways to break rules?

This isn't a game or a challenge. It's not some comedy show or color war. It's your life and we are here to help you make wise decisions. The path you take in high school will probably determine your future, whether you are aware of it or not.

Tell me the truth: When we explain why our decisions and rules are the way they are, do you accept them? Or will you argue to the point of rudeness? In your heart of hearts, answer honestly.

I am in the midst of such a situation where one of my students refuses to accept an answer and threw down the gauntlet, challenging me until I will give in. I asked her, do you want to be right at all costs and get your own way, or can you keep an open mind and really hear what I'm saying? She made her views quite plain. She insists on getting her way, regardless of my point of view. We are at an impasse and I don't know how it will end. But this I know for sure – there won't be any "winner."

I have been teaching for many years. I may have taught your mother. I love teaching, I can't imagine a better profession. Just today I approached my school, looked up at the sign & said to myself, "I really LOVE my job!" I look forward every day to interacting with my students and to giving them instruction and all the tools they'll need to succeed. But I'm really tired of fighting to make you understand my colleagues and I care deeply about you.

It's not about micro-managing (by the way, don't add insult to injury by patronizing your teachers…yes, we have heard of the word, and many more besides.) It's about making decisions that at this point in your lives need to be made by a "responsible adult." Because that's what we are: we are "responsible" for your welfare as well as for imparting knowledge. Don't think our decisions are easy to make. Don't think we don't care. We care far more than we should.

Life isn't run by committee. It's a hierarchy where there is always someone in charge, whether that's your parents or principal. In the future, there'll be your employer – a boss, a Board of Directors, or a business partner. You will always be responsible to someone and one day, G-d willing, you'll also be responsible for "someones" in your own home and professional life.

We, the teachers, are needed to make decisions and policies in school because, as you so rightly say, many of you are ignored at home and obviously are allowed a free reign to do what you want. We provide that much-needed balance which hopefully will help you make well-thought-out decisions in the future.

If you want to be treated like an adult, you need to act like one.

With love,
Your Teacher/Machaneches

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Opinions and Comments
I asked her, do you want to be right at all costs and get your own way, or can you keep an open mind and really hear what I'm saying?

I would like to have both sides point of view to answer that.
(1/18/2013 9:46:47 PM)
A quote from #99 from the previous article
"As a teacher I point to this article as the reason why we need more rules. There should be a rule that a student cannot write articles complaining about teachers. There should be another rule that students should not access the internet. And there should be one more rule that students are not allowed to have opinions. Just follow the rules and you won't complain, ever."

That right there is a problem.
(1/18/2013 9:51:25 PM)
Mother of teens
As I always tell my kids, teachers are humans too. Even the best of them WILL make mistakes. Cut them some slack!
Although I must say that the last few paragraphs of that girl's article did make sense when she was talking about positive reinforcement and helping them to understand what the rules were about.
(1/19/2013 6:05:14 AM)
You enforce your rules - but she'll pay your salary
If I were a girl in your class, I would probably plan to go off the derech as soon as I graduated.

Your world ended years ago, Morah whoever-you-are. Today, it is the people who bend the rules creatively who are the bosses, and those who fear the unknown who are those who depend on social programs and watch the world go by rather than making it move faster and in the right direction.

The greatest entrepreneurs broke the rules. The best of our shluchim break the rules. The Rebbe broke the rules. The Frierdiker Rebbe broke the rules of Judaism in America when he said "America iz nit anderish."

Chabad was never about generating automatons. Sure, there are rules - but within those rules there is a lot of room for creativity. There is the right way to impart those rules, and the Rebbe gave us plenty of guidance for that. There is the old-fashioned

It is because our schools stifle creativity that we are losing our best and brightest.. Girls of the character of the one who wrote the last piece will be YOUR bosses and sitting on the parent associations that demand YOU make changes in due time. Of course by then, you'll be able to retire early and live on government program.
(1/19/2013 7:47:06 AM)
What old school nonsense
While i respect u for teaching and working in an arena that will almost never satisfy everyone- a more inspirational, engaging, colabritive response would have been better.
If the student is old enough to write on col she is old enough to have a one on one suggesting an apointment to 'hear' the student and learn where the misunderstandings are, with a divide and concour atitude might be better.u sound very loving but old school. Kids today are not what u were as a kid- different world.
(1/19/2013 8:44:33 AM)
a parent and teacher on the other side of the world
Brilliantly put. In fact your last sentence says it all
(1/19/2013 11:57:32 AM)
Ex rebellious student.
I thank teachers, (the good ones, and they are out there), for their time and patience and in resoponse to the above, well said.Guiding and encouraging is NOT micro managing
I wish I had known that much earler.
(1/19/2013 3:45:15 PM)
i think you are wrong
teenagers ARE irrational...i know cos i was once one and you need that little tiny weenie bit of extra sensitivity and broadminded thinking and consideration to care for them, teach them and show them your point AS IF they are little children
remember YOU were a teenager once!
and never say 'JUST GROW UP' cos it hurts....
(1/19/2013 4:28:16 PM)
to 2
Ever heard of sarcasm?
Hmmm I think that's where the problem lies...
(1/19/2013 6:13:43 PM)
Mother of Many
Bravo! I am so glad someone put a proper response to this article. There are ways of dealing with issues that teens have, but to be able to step on a soap box and give their immature opinions worldwide and for a LUBAVITCH WEBSITE to publish this, is WRONG!
(1/19/2013 6:39:18 PM)
Finally an article presenting the teachers and mechanchos points of view. Though in fact some of the points made in the previous article were true, this finally puts things in a different view, If only all students could feel this message we teachers are trying and working so hard to impart.
Thank You
(1/19/2013 6:53:16 PM)
Author writes
Unfortunately, some information here & there, as well as almost an entire paragraph, were omitted from my response and as result, the published article is a lot harsher than I intended it to be. Basically, I ended by explaining that the fact that students spend so much time & energy on "trying to win" & buck the system shows the root of the problem. As I originally wrote, if you were more willing to accept authority we may very well surprise you...by acknowledging a maturity that really is there even if it's well-hidden right now, thereby changing our perspective and decisions.

You see, authority is sometimes difficult to swallow. Do you think I always agree with the principal? Unfortunately, I don't and when that happens, I speak up, very often on your behalf. We all do. But in the end,we're all bound by rules, it's just some of us learn to work within the system.

Chasha'a point seemed to be that she thinks we make rules more & more restrictive just to show who's boss and that we don't care about the person whose life is impacted by these decisions. It's just not true. As I said in my article, we care very much. Maybe you can try seeing things from our perspective....surprisingly, we were young once. We do get it. We get you, too. Think back...haven't any of you ever been on the receiving end of some accommodation, whether it's in a grade or relaxing of some policy because of a particular circumstance?

Our rules aren't carved in stone. We can & do break them to help our students, often reminding you to not say anything to anyone else because it's a special courtesy. We understand every girl is different and as I like to say, fair doesn't mean equal. You all need something else and we try to do that for you. Perhaps it's time for you to consider how (and WHY) we navigate a system that doesn't always meet our needs either.

We can't always explain certain decisions. I know that's also difficult to accept, and "because I said so" isn't a satisfactory answer. Sadly, sometimes we can't give you a better reason because ...well, for reasons that just aren't your business. Please try to accept that if we could explain, we would.

I hope I've explained things a little more clearly.

A gut voch!
(1/19/2013 7:00:05 PM)
Why wouldn't this teacher put her name to this article?
(1/19/2013 7:03:06 PM)
I usually defend teachers, but....
no/ 4 has made very salient points. All so very true.

The brightest and best of chabad, or the world for that matter, "break rules". There has to be room for creativity within the permissible boundaries....
(1/19/2013 7:08:53 PM)
Comparing both articles
I reviewed both articles. "Chasha" sounds like a very real, intelligent, sincere and mature young lady who is open to dialogue. This "long time teacher" sounds like she imposes her views - my way or the highway. Reminds me of an immature dictator who resorts to brawn rather than brain. I have no doubt that if the two met for a debate, within five minutes "long time teacher" would lose. I think "long time teacher" should apply to herself her own advice in her last line: "If you want to be treated like an adult, you need to act like one." Adult discuss, children demand. Imposing rules is making demands!
(1/19/2013 7:44:29 PM)
To 9
Read #10 Mother of Many who fully supports "There should be a rule that a student cannot write articles complaining about teachers." I too wish #99 in other article was sarcasm but sadly it is the reality.
(1/19/2013 7:51:35 PM)
Well said!
So true! As we get older and move to the other side of the desk, we begin to realize how many of the rules we once hated and tried to break at every opportunity were really for our good! Thank you teachers for sticking to your guns even in the face of hundreds of teenagers who express their often rude and immature opinions. It's not easy! Keep it up! We may not say it but we really do appreciate it!
(1/19/2013 8:02:54 PM)
Here is the WHOLE problem
Author wrote in #12: "We can't always explain certain decisions. I know that's also difficult to accept, and "because I said so" isn't a satisfactory answer. Sadly, sometimes we can't give you a better reason because ...well, for reasons that just aren't your business." THAT IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM!! If a "teacher" cannot explain or communicate, that teacher is not "teaching" the student. The student feels she is being bullied by the teacher. If the rule cannot be logically explained and justified - maybe that rule should just not be.
(1/19/2013 8:10:21 PM)
you are the only one to blame for going off
My teachers are not to thank that I'm still wearing a kippa they gave me a very hard and bitter taste to Judaism, its the fact that I realize the truth and realized that I want to what's right.....u ccan't blame anyone else for what you choose in life the fact of the matter is u have a brain of our own and can make it own decisions in life, and encouragement from parents is I think the best...... (sorry if not everything I said makes sense I'm still drunk from shabos... as long as my point is made clear)
(1/19/2013 8:11:44 PM)
Average girl
I am now 37 yrs old and a mother of many children, ka"h. Sadly, when I read about the mechaneches that cares, I wonder who exactly is being cared for. Not once, in my 4 years of high school in our very own local Mossad, did any teacher look my way or give me any attention. After all, I was 85-90 well behaved student, so i got neither praise for being a "top student", nor criticism for misbehaving. Simply put, no teacher ever looked my way. Which was okay, because I came from a stable home and had no major issues. Reading this article actually caused me to flinch- you really do care? Why did I never once in all my years get a word of encouragement or a pat on the back? Why was I never chosen for anything special because I didn't stick out as a top student? Where was the care? As my own daughter is almost entering high school, I will sit her down and explain that she should look the other way when she is overlooked. She is nice, kind, average, and friendly. I will explain to her that every single year, the same 4 girls will receive awards at the end of the year and get recognition. That many old-school teachers don't yet realize that the ones that can use recognition are those with middos tovos that work hard to get decent grades. And I will promise her, that her life will in no way reflect what happens in school. Yes, I will point out by name where every one of the mitzuyonim in my class are now, and she can see that it has no real impact on her future outcome. She can marry a good person with a good heart, and raise good kids, who make their parents and grandparents proud. She can get a well paying job and her family can have a good name- despite being overlooked in school. A little bitterness? Perhaps. But more than that, a call for change. And a special thank you to all those Rebbes and Morahs that do show they care. I have seen it many times over in elementary school by my boys and girls and my hope is that perhaps these days, the care has extended to high school too.
(1/19/2013 8:13:47 PM)
Here is the WHOLE problem
Author wrote in #12: "We can't always explain certain decisions. I know that's also difficult to accept, and "because I said so" isn't a satisfactory answer. Sadly, sometimes we can't give you a better reason because ...well, for reasons that just aren't your business." THAT IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM!! If a "teacher" cannot explain or communicate, that teacher is not "teaching" the student. The student feels she is being bullied by the teacher. If the rule cannot be logically explained and justified - maybe that rule should just not be.
(1/19/2013 8:17:56 PM)
to 4
I applaud u
(1/19/2013 8:42:04 PM)
Author again
I appreciate all the comments. However, I feel many are there because of the omissions in the original article. I hope you have bothered to read my post (#12) where I tried my best to clarify. If after looking at that you still feel I'm inflexible & living in the past... I'm sorry, you'll probably never bend enough to consider our point of view and nothing I or any teacher can say will convince you we're not out get you or your children.

Now I think I've said as much as I can so I'll leave you all to slug it out!

(1/19/2013 8:47:24 PM)
I suggest
to the teacher in this article and all others as well to read the book: "Positive Discipline in the Classroom"
(1/19/2013 8:47:36 PM)
...and yet, I have to agree with a lot of what this teacher writes. I'm not a "goodie-goodie", a "teacher's pet"; I'm not even much of a stickler for the rules. But, I also have the ability to (try to) look at things objectively. Just because rules are not ideal or even correct does not mean that the educators are wrong for instituting them.
Rules are a vital element of growing up - learning to accept with kabalas ol is a very valuable trait. Even if you KNOW the rule is wrong/unjust/stupid (and believe me, I'm a teenager - a student - frequently breaking rules...), the skill of accepting authority is something that, if the whole world were better at, half of the tzaros of today would vanish.
Yes, a teen in today's world is very different from a teen 40 or 50 years ago (even 20 and 30...even TEN!), but that does not give us license to live a "free" existence. Being exposed to more - being that information is far more accessible than it used to be - does not make us any more rational of teens than our parents were.
Rules define us. They allow us the chance to see what we could, in potential, become, and from there, we can choose exactly how we want to proceed. Think about it - in just a year or two, you'll be done with school, and there won't be ANY rules! (well, so us foolish teens think...) So why insist on being given that freedom prematurely? It's coming, it's coming!! Patience! School children and teens have been living with rules since the time of creation! If we just hang in there long enough, we'll be able to be the ones to MAKE the rules. And if that's too hard, I wish you luck in life - without rules, our society would collapse. Better start accepting that fact.......
I wrote this comment because I care - I think that instead of fighting authority, rules, and "the system", we should try to be on the same page as them - work with them. As the author put it, when we act like adults, that's what we'll be treated like. Acting like NORMAL TEENS (as the author of the original article kept emphasizing) will ensure we get treated like NORMAL TEENS.
Teachers: We (at least I) really appreciate what you do, and just because we may not show it, our gratitude is immense. Thank you.
(1/19/2013 8:49:57 PM)
Teacher Corps
"Long time teacher" says it all. Teachers become entrenched in the system because they themselves fear losing their (pittance of a) parnosoh if they speak out.

I think we need fewer long-time teachers and more young, vibrant ones. Chabad ought to copy the AmeriCorps idea and pay for schar limud for any bochur or girl who commits to five years of teaching in a Chabad moisad chinuch.

At the same time, moisdos should clean their teaching ranks of those who have lost their spark and are just coming to work because they either love the feeling of authority that they don't have in real life, or feel they have no other way of bringing home a paycheck.
(1/19/2013 8:55:38 PM)
If you are so caring, then why aren't you expressing so to your students? Your points are quite valid-you do love your students and care for them- please EXPRESS it! EXPRESS-and then when you are making rules, your students shall beezras HaShem do them out of love and respect. I commend you for taking on the role of a teacher and as you said-you are right. So much of what you do determines the students future. Thank you, and I salute your efforts, especially to the teenager of todays day and age.
(1/19/2013 9:06:44 PM)
if I thought the other article was bad this one is awful. It shows exactly where the problem lies in education today. Teachers cannot see eye to eye with their students in order to properly respond to what the student is REALLY asking
(read between the lines and figure out what the girl is really asking)
#4 has it spot on!
(1/19/2013 9:18:19 PM)
Also a mechaneches
Brilliant and about time....couldn't agree more with EVERY word.
(1/19/2013 9:24:38 PM)
oh my lor-d
ohhhhhhhhh my G-D none of the teachers unterstand us teenagers there so one track minded!!!!! achhhhhhhhhhh i cant stand it the principle always think the teeachers are right and never listens to there student
(1/19/2013 9:25:51 PM)
i agree with u i think the teachers also whant to make a rule that we cant eat sleep text or talk
(1/19/2013 9:28:04 PM)
this is ridiculous.
So whoever this teacher is, who won't even put her name down, is basically saying teenagers should be treated like children and she not be allowed to have opinions. Well guess what? They are real people, soon-to-be adults and actually do have opinions, whether you like it or not. once they get out of your school they can whatever the heck they want. And if this is your attitude, please don't complain when they go off the derech. It was your choice and this is the way your responding.
(1/19/2013 9:33:32 PM)
Very well written. Stop bashing this teacher for caring!!
(1/19/2013 9:48:14 PM)
Past her expiration date
Milk has an expiration date. When the date is long past, the milk is off. Sometimes it is very sour. This teacher, who "may have taught [Chasha's] mother" is waaaay past her expiration date. That explains why she is sour.
(1/19/2013 9:56:16 PM)
It would help if the teachers would smile once in a while
(1/19/2013 9:57:33 PM)
Reading this article makes me lose respect of teachers
I lose respect for teachers when I read this teacher's comment #23: "If after looking at that you still feel I'm inflexible & living in the past... I'm sorry, you'll probably never bend enough to consider our point of view and nothing I or any teacher can say will convince you we're not out get you or your children."

Can you hear yourself??? You are saying that if after reading this you still don't agree... then you are never going to get it. Huh??!! That is your best argument?! Is that your strongest point?!

Let me use your "logic" in your own words: Teacher, if after reading that 1+1 = 3 you still feel I'm wrong and can't add... I'm sorry, you'll probably never bend enough to consider my point of view and nothing I can say will convince you that 1 plus 1 actually is 3."
(1/19/2013 10:16:22 PM)
who said her opinions are immature. And, what is wrong with writing or voicing their opinion.
(1/19/2013 10:17:16 PM)
who said what #99 wrote was sarcasm, sounded like that person was serious and #10 agrees
(1/19/2013 10:19:15 PM)
Virtual independent's
Nobody likes being told what and how to run their life. This applies especially to teenagers who are striving for independent's. Tell a teenager that she/he is stupid, that they don't have a choice in their decision's and you are guaranteed to find resistance!

There is only one way... to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.- Dale Carnegie

Instead of telling a teen what to do, it may be more effective to, guide them to the right decision. Show them why a certain decision would be in their self-intrest and why they would want to do it. If your point is valid, they will be glad to listen!
(1/19/2013 10:29:03 PM)
39 comments in less then an hour! I read this article before there were any comments and I wrote one, but decide not to post it in fear of hurting the authors feelings. As a student of a large Lubavitch girls high school, I agreed totally with the girl that wrote the first article. Although I wouldn't say that this article is totally wrong, I do beleive that adults think that they understand everything when really they don't. All I ask from teachers is please understand that you don't understand! I get sick and tired of coming to my teacher with a problem and them saying " I understand, I understand " and then not doing anything about it!
(1/19/2013 11:14:03 PM)
To 34 you are chutzpah
I never saw so much chutzpah as 34 telling a respected long time teacher that she is past her expiration date and is sour. How dare you? You don't even know me. Pure chutzpah!
(1/19/2013 11:18:26 PM)
Thank you teacher
I agree with you. I too teach, although in an out of town school, and I do care enough about my students to guide them with some respect and authority, which is appropriate, and understand the girls may not be ready to reciprocate. I am always impressed and surprised when the girls return from sem so mature and inspired, as well as grateful for what they gained in high school. The leaving and returning gives the girls the space and perspective to look back at what the teachers and administrators try to accomplish. This very rarely happens during the high school years itself.
As for the trait of "getting her way" it does not bode well for marriage.
(1/19/2013 11:20:39 PM)
I'm assuming that half the people commenting on this brilliant response aren't teachers. To go into a class of students that don't want to be there, they don't appreciate you, and even more so, they get mad at you for "micromanaging" them. Every once in a while a student will do something that will make everything worth it, but it's not as easy as "teachers need to smile", this isn't a job where you can just smile through your problems. This, in my opinion, is one of the most important jobs, for without it, none of our children would know ANYTHING (in regards to yiddishkeit and most other basic things we take for granted).
The original article by Chasha was based on the premise that she was getting fed up with the fact that teachers were annoying her for breaking rules. The simple fact is, if you don't break the rules (i know its hard to put your phone away in class, i do) then the teacher won't annoy you. seriously. try it, and see how much you gain from it, not just in knowledge but you'll get their trust and respect, which will earn you more than you can imagine.
As for the commentors that say "breaking the rules is what makes amazing people", your absolutley right. If i break shabbos to do business, i WILL make more money. is that what we want to teach our kids? Yiddishkeit is based around rules (or commandments, which is even more intense than rules) and if our kids can't follow rules, then how do expect them to follow Torah? The rebbe didn't break rules, he broke boundaries and broke mindsets. Chas v'shalom that he broke any rules!
To sum all of this up, rules are meant to help. Even if the rules don't make sense to a teenagers mind, that's fine. Since when do the students need to understand rules? Kabolas Ol is one of the most important statues and i'm sure everyone knows the reason. why should it be different in the classroom? (no i'm not comparing myself to G-d.)
RESPECT your teachers and elders. If you wanna break the rules, feel free to do so after you graduate. I'm sure your future employers would love to see you break all the rules!
(1/19/2013 11:27:27 PM)
A third approach
Don't blame the teachers,it is not their fault.The system forces them to do and say things they do not necessarily agree with.If we want to fix education ,we must revert back to the old days when teachers had autonomy to teach as they felt right.I am not saying we should remove all oversight(because that can lead to all sorts of problems),rather remove the overbearing bureaucracy that controls are teachers like employees at a local firm.
A teacher needs to be comfortable in what he or she is teaching and not have someone over their head telling them what to do.
Of course in this manner a teacher will have to have much more responsibility on the outcome of their student,but if they cant handle it maybe they shouldn't be teaching in the first place.
Just an idea.Food for the thought.
(1/20/2013 12:47:36 AM)
to 18
Really? U want answers for everything you do?
Maybe next time ask the doctor to explain exactly how the medicine is going to affect your organs so that the illness goes away. Or maybe check the airplane yourself if it's safe enough to fly, if you are not satisfied with their answers... A mother can't fully explain to her 1 year old why he can't play with a knife... "Because I said so... " Sometimes is the only way when the person won't fully understand.
(1/20/2013 12:49:47 AM)
to #36
I lose respect to readers comments when I see comments such as yours. Author wrote "If
after looking at that you still feel I'm inflexible &
living in the past ((my own added 3 words: -) two insulting sentiments)... I'm sorry, you'll probably never
bend enough to consider our point of view and
nothing... will convince you
we're not out get you or your children."

She clearly stated CONSIDER her point of view. She did not write "share" her point of view. You are projecting a sentiment upon her that she never expressed, and actually conveyed quite the opposite to your mischarachterization. The only demand she seems to make is to consider the flip side and not demean her with insults of "she's sooooo old school and unqualified to... Shame on your immaturity, shame on your dishonesty.

I'm not female and I'm not a teenager so I can't take sides in actual argument, due to my shallow chinuch knowledge. Yet to paint picture the way you have, demonstrates your immaturity.
(1/20/2013 12:56:51 AM)
Number 20 is 100% right
I went through a similar experience as well. But I wasn't even an average student. I was that dreaming girl at the back of the classroom near the window who never got report cards(or extremely negative ones) I just wasn't all "there" and no one cared.If I was to be absent for the year no one would notice or care. I was a good hearted girl who did no harm. I understood why I never got awards with one exeption: There was a major project that the school wanted to implement which needed my skills. I worked very hard on this project on my own hours. I put all my energy and soul into this project. In the end someone else was given public recognition for it and I felt shattered. This is what upset me more that the fact that I was totally ignored and neglected by the system throughout most of elementary and and high school. I'm sure that there are teachers who really care, I just hardly bumped into any throughout my education.
_________a student who never broke the rules, and was treated like she was a brick in the wall behind her.(no idea why my parents paid so much tuition!)

P.S. I'm not talking about the teacher who wrote this article.
How could I judge her if I don't even know her. Teacher, If you are as caring as you claim to be, I wish you much success!
(1/20/2013 1:24:47 AM)
as a teacher
I still cant help but notice gaping holes in this article skirts around the main issue. I dont think this mechaneches sounds caring at all, even with her additions.
(1/20/2013 1:35:54 AM)
Not in CH
OK, I didn't read all the comments and won't, 'cause after all who has time, and the grammar and spelling drive me BATS!

I have raised, fairly successfully b'ah, 8 of my own teenagers, and been teaching teen-age girls for over 30 years. Having read the two articles (mostly) I know for certain there is a failure of education here. Not because of the student's letter but because of the teacher's. Students rant now and them- it is a symptom of their passion and their beliefs and perhaps also of their immaturity. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don't.

But the teacher sounds angry, really indignant. Why on earth would a teacher ever get mad at a student for ranting? She's just a kid and sometimes kids rant.

Kabbolos Ol is absolutely crucial to helping a child grow up straight, to become a mentsh. But if it ain't in there by age 12, it ain't gonna be put in there by decree. At this point the child will have to gain kabbolos ol, like everything else spiritual in her life, through chabad- by which I mean chochmah, binah and da'as. We are going to have to explain it. Well. Over and over and over again. Without getting angry. Without considering her the enemy. If she's not listening, if she's asking and doesn't care about the answers, we smile and we wait. And daven. There will come a time.

Our young people, our teenagers, are our priceless treasure. Their ardor (sometimes for the stupidest things) and their belief is like oil under the ground for us. It is an asset and we are going to have profit from it.
Teenagers are indeed believers, almost every single one of them. It is the job of the adults around them to give them something great to believe in, to use their energy, to show them how important their contribution is. The Rebbe took the innate belief and passion of our young people and put them to work for the Jewish people, regularly giving them something to do that was new, real and truly vital. You are needed to put tefillin on men, you are needed to talk women and girls into lighting Shabbos candles. The successful shluchim of the 80's were the Rebbe's teenagers of the 70's and I'm willing to bet that some of them were difficult in school.
The chinuch of these young people does not lie in the rules we impose on them, it lies in the messages and missions with which we entrust them. Why on earth would we want to get ourselves into a discussion about whether or not we should have rules.

We have rules.

Now can we talk about how you can help with...
(1/20/2013 3:18:07 AM)
i am SO ready for my mid winter vacation!
(1/20/2013 3:34:47 AM)
from #4 again
RESPECT your teachers and elders. If you wanna break the rules, feel free to do so after you graduate. I'm sure your future employers would love to see you break all the rules!

Sorry, but nowadays teachers have to earn respect. If they are not teaching kids how to live as Chassidim in TODAY's world, then they need to refresh themselves and their methods and attitudes. While kids should not be rude except when the situation is so bad that a class must rid itself of the very worst of teachers, they should most certainly tell their parents when teachers are not doing their jobs.

Those who break the "rules" that don't count to find better ways to follow the rules that do count will be your bosses' boss. Those who follow them mindlessly, like robots, are destined to get nowhere in today's ever-changing world. Even in Yiddishkeit, they will fail, because boredom will set in - or they will question after it is too late and they are already married. That will lead to a messy divorce and/or children who grow up confused.

Those who followed the rules in pre-WW2 America have no frum grandchildren. That is because the rules were forced down the next generation's throat with the message "s'iz shver tzi zayn a yid!" And that is what a mechaneKes (as in someone who chokes off creativity) like the author of this article wants to do. We do not need to perpetrate the worst ignorance of Eastern Europe here in America. We were isolated in those days, whereas now we can truly be a light onto others and ourselves by embracing the best of the modern world, and that includes modern educational techniques.

Yes, there are rules, and many of them....lachen HIRBAH lahem Torah uMitzvos! But Chassidus wants us to understand the reasons for these rules,. and it is the job of teachers to teach those reasons. If anyone had told me to keep Shabbos because the alternative is Gehennom, I would not be frum today. I would instead have told that person that Gehennom sounds like more fun than Shabbos.

I do want to know how every medication I take works. I do have the right to question any doctor who hands me a prescription without giving me proper information. If the doctor doesn't give me the right info, I check the Net before I get my RX filled. And if I find out via the Internet that the doctor made a mistake, I will notify him and CC: the appropriate licensing board.

When your son or daughter doesn't get the answer he wants and needs from his rebbe or morah, he or she will go to the Internet one way or another. Those who offer answers rebellious teens will find satisfaction with when their teachers do not give answers are not the same as reliable medical sites that have FDA-approved info on medications.
(1/20/2013 7:44:05 AM)
O common seriously
u know u need rules. any normal civilization needs rules. Any normal business place has rules. Even any normal amusement park has rules.
You could have all the fun in the world breaking them and wish they weren't there but you can't honestly say that there's no reason for them.
(1/20/2013 9:58:18 AM)
To# 49
Well said. Your'e not (originally) from Stamford 'ill by any chance?
(1/20/2013 10:16:25 AM)
to #49
I love your clear thinking and recognize your communication skills. Lucky are the students who have you as their role model. I would love to know which lucky community is benefiting from having you educate their children!
(1/20/2013 10:21:35 AM)
You are the problem
Whoever wrote this article shows why our system is so bad. Once kids are in high school you can't force them to do things. They need to daven or learn or become stronger in their judaism because they love it. And the job of a teacher is to show and teach that love. Most people in the lubavitch chinuch system today are unqualified and think that there are 2 teams; the teachers and the students. Respect the kids and they will go to the end of the world for you. The Yeshivahs that I excelled in were places that the hanholoh knew every bochur and respected us.

My son is currently in Yeshivah and they have allot of rules. One of the rules is not to come late, and if he is a minute late there are Kinusim handed out, yet on a day to day basis the Principal shows up late for maariv which eats in to the kids break time and it shows them that the hanholoh has this arrogant feeling towards the kids.

I also think parents have to wake up and not accept mediocre education anymore. If we had a proper schedule with good subjects and accountability for each teacher and principal that would be a great start for a good school. Instead we have teachers teaching whatever they want, The Menahel doing whatever he wants without having to answer to anyone.

(1/20/2013 10:49:16 AM)
this is pathetic
girls are not going off the derech because there is rules. every society has rules. any normal running society has rules. life needs rules. without rules we would do whatever we wanted; and THEN girls would go off the derech. the fact that girls are going off the derech is beacuse of other things, not school rules. lets focus on the family, the friends, the negative influences, before blaming everything on the rules that needs to be there.
(1/20/2013 11:33:49 AM)
there are a lot of reasons why people go off the derech, all I am saying is that if we had normal schools, most of the kids would stay in the system. The problem is that our system is geared to only make shluchim, and even at that, they do a horrible job.
(1/20/2013 12:11:54 PM)
To 45
45 wrote: "A mother can't fully explain to her 1 year old why he can't play with a knife... "Because I said so... " Sometimes is the only way when the person won't fully understand."

That approach works for a 1 year old, as your example. It fails with a 17 year old mature and intelligent teenager! When schools treat young adults as toddlers - it is a recipe for disaster. That is when so-called "chinuch" fails.
(1/20/2013 1:39:10 PM)
My Thoughts
Principals and teachers must understand that each student is unique. Each child has different learning capabilities and home environments. Schools must learn to adapt. In any service profession if you can't perform, you will not survive. Children have maturing minds and emotions that must be nurtured and respected. A misspoken or complimentary word by a teacher can impact a child for life. Teachers must realize that their ”job” is not just a 9 to 3, but one that is 24/7. If they are unwilling to take on the tremendous responsibility, they should rethink their profession. Students are not always mature enough to understand the teachers, but it is the teachers responsibility to understand the students.
(1/20/2013 2:48:07 PM)
Totally agree!
(1/20/2013 2:59:33 PM)
attn. #4 #14 #22 #51
"The greatest entrepreneurs broke the rules. The best of our shluchim break the rules. The Rebbe broke the rules. The Frierdiker Rebbe broke the rules of Judaism in America when he said "America iz nit anderish."

I hope you can realize from your own words what type of rules were and are broken... Not the teachers rules and not the parents rules but the rules of a meaningless and selfish culture.

Yes there are plenty of very smart people that dropped out of school and are very successful in what they do, but I doubt you will hear from even one of them, that if not for their teacher standing in their way they would be so much more successful, if anything the first people that they thank are those that curbed them into being a responsible human being from the irresponsible kid that they were.
(1/20/2013 4:40:58 PM)
Chasha would be a better mechaneches
I am impressed with Chasha C. I am unimpressed with this mechaneches. Her addendum comments confirm this conclusion. If she is not prepared to seek a solution as she indicated, then she is completely part of the problem. Maybe Chasha C should consider a career in chinuch since she knows the score!
(1/20/2013 4:51:34 PM)
To #58
"Intelligent teenager"?!?! Now there's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one.
(1/20/2013 5:39:59 PM)
not enough to care
Yes, teacher, you may care and love the student. But if the student does not feel it, it is not enough. Make sure the student feels it. Once the student feels you truly care about her and you love her, she will try to please you. First and foremost put your efforts in building a relationship of trust and respect.
(1/20/2013 6:00:29 PM)
For #52 and #56
We're talking about the problem of school's micromanaging their student's

Their is nothing wrong with making a few rules here and there, but to control every aspect of someone's life is insane and counterproductive.

Remember: There is only one way... to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.- Dale Carnegie
(1/20/2013 6:01:21 PM)
Is this a RESPONSE???
This RESPONSE validates the original Op-Ed article. If ever I had doubt when I read the first Op-Ed, the Response confirmed the original's legitimacy.
(1/20/2013 8:35:04 PM)
Kudos to #20!
I too grew up in Crown Heights and went to an 'Eigine Moisid'. I agree with you 100%! I am over 40 and a grandmother already, but still cringe at the thought of how the hanhala treated me and many others. In my 4 years of High school I was placed in a box as the talented girl who all she knew was how to sing and act. Out of a class of over 40 girls 5 were the top girls for being 100% students and from top families. Those were the girls that everyone paid attention to. Those were the girls that got chosen to go to the Bais Yaakov convention every year (does this even still exist?) Those were the girls who were considered the creme de la creme. The rest of us were a big blob of nothing! I had NO michaneches that sounded or acted as you seem to, maybe you came around after my time. I didn't feel like anyone cared if I passed or failed. I felt no motivation whatsoever. Now, I know today that I am a bright intelligent human being, but I was not made to feel this way in high school or seminary, that's for sure!! I felt like I was good for one thing only, and that was to perform. Other then that, did anyone give a hoot that I loved composition? That history and science fascinated me? That megillah was mega interesting to me? Nah, I wasn't the best student and maybe not from the most important or wealthy family in Crown heights so I considered myself well, just nothing special. It still pains me to say this. I wish I could say, how lucky I was to have gone to B_____ R______ they made me what I am today. But unfortunately that's not how I feel. I left on shlichus to a foreign country and learned in time that I am special, and smart and intellectual! After all I learnt a new language, I give lectures I found a new me. And most of all, I feel the luckiest that my daughters have such a wonderful chinch. Hanhala, michanchos, teachers who really and truly care about each and every one of their students! Who are constantly in touch personally with there students and parents even after hours and YES even after graduation! We are not talking about a small cheder here. This is a school with ka'h 450 girls. Perhaps not the size the moisid I learnt at was but large enough to learn that if you REALLY care, every student will know and appreciate that. Even the most difficult one. How many girls slipped through the cracks in all these years? How many will keep slipping? Maybe the rules need to take a back burner for a while, and the caring and respect and the personal interest in each student should be first and foremost! Do you really know what the home situation of each student you have is? Do you really know which subject she loves and excels at? Do you really know why she isn't keeping up with her studies? Do you hear her feelings, her passions her fears? That is what a michaneches is!!!! Once you are there and have gained the confidence of your students you can start with the rules. She will understand you and where you stand because you took the time to understand her!
(1/20/2013 8:59:04 PM)
To # 67. Wow.
I sat here and cried as I read your comment.

Aside from the personal details, such as your age (I am younger than you) and the fact that you are in another country, I could have written the exact same comment.
I too, was known for being "smart" and "talented" - but thats it. I was completely and utterly overlooked and disregarded.
And the Bais Yakov convention? I wanted to go so bad I could taste it. But it was out of the question because I was from a 'nothing special' family.
It took me many, many years and a very supportive husband to realize I have amazing qualities too - and not just the 2% of the class that got the awards and accolades, and literally - everything.
I hope that my daughter will have a different high school experience... actually, I will make sure of it. I do hope that things have changed by now. Not every teen nowadays would turn out as well as you or I did when faced with the same treatment.
(1/20/2013 10:13:30 PM)
Time To Evaluate (long overdue)
I know many, many students,including my own children, who have very negative feelings about the way they were treated in school. They do not feel that they as a person were taken into consideration. If that is the case, don't you think there must be something very wrong with the way the school is run, that there must be something very wrong with the attitude of the staff.? Isn't it time for the hanhaleh to make a cheshbon hanefesh to see what to change in order to have the students look up to you, to have the students respect you, to have the students feel you care. Right now it's a power struggle, the focus is on getting the students to keep the rules. For example, when discussing with one staff member how my daughter was mistreated by the principal I was told how good that principal is because when she walks down the hall, everyone is scared and behaves. Is that your goal? They should behave out of fear?? Time to focus on Y'min m'kareves... If what you were doing till now is not working, then isn't it time to make some changes? How about being more positive? acting more loving? acting more caring? Think how to make your students feel your love and care instead of how to make sure they follow the rules.
(1/20/2013 10:17:05 PM)
To #20 #67 and #68
I went through the same experience except I didn't know I was bright or talented. Not one teacher ever thought to nurture and empower me. My days spent in high school(when I did show up)consisted of me doodling and wondering when a teacher would notice how much pain I was in... Today, BH, I am doing very well in university and my professors have given me the empowerment and encouragement that no teacher in high school ever gave me. I have surpassed many of my peers and even teachers from high school, thank Gd! Yet, I still have scars that were inflicted by the apathy of my teachers and mechanchos.
(1/20/2013 10:32:13 PM)
face it
let us face the facts. Unless one works on themselves and is just thoroughly a really genuine person, you can care, you can know or think you do, etc. Bottom line is to be a combination of Genuine, Mensch, and klug. Not more, not less. Most teachers are at most, one of these. There are a few teachers who are 2 out of 3, and then there are those blessed teachers who the Abishter alone loves who have all 3. Some people are just afflicted with character deficiency, its different from Personality Disorder. They have odd personalities which don't reach the students, and they use their power to make it work.....but it doesnt work.....
(1/20/2013 11:05:29 PM)
bottom line
Bottom line is if the student doesn't feel you care, you are doing something wrong. The student wrote how she feels. And if that is how she feels, then those in authority are doing something wrong. And it's not only this one student's feelings. So, isn't it time to change tactics?
(1/20/2013 11:48:43 PM)
opinion from a 21 year old
As someone that finished his teen years and is entering "life" I would like to say my opinion.
I'm on Shlichus in a small new yeshiva and the way it works is that Shluchim in Yeshivos on one hand are Buchreim and on the other, part of the Hanhalah.
So I get to hear what the Buchreim say and what the teachers and staff are saying.
There was 2 weeks here in Yeshiva that we didn't have a Mashgiach, the Buchreim where thrilled and had a time of their life, no supervision = do whatever u want!
after the 2 week a Mashgiach came and put them back into place, from the first day of the new Masgiach, the Buchreim where so grateful to him, that they shaped up right away!
Let me ask u, why where they grateful?
Let me tell u what they said, we are young, we don't know what ye and what no, we want and need someone to tell us! WE NEED RULES!! We came to Yeshiva for a reason, to grow and learn, we can't do it on our own and if you are not going to direct us every moment we are not going to succeed! We are not going to know how to behave!
The teachers on the other hand during the 2 week, ever day would come into the teachers room saying, "we don’t want to punish we don’t want to scream at them we want to love them but how can we if they are going crazy they need someone to make sure they keep the rule, that’s not our (teachers) job!"
(1/21/2013 6:22:18 AM)
I wonder if hanholo ever reads these comments and starts to feel responsible and in the frame of mind to make changes??
So many adults with children already as teenagers are saying that schools simply did not care for them.
The same can said for Yeshivahs. In Yeshivah I didn't get much attention and because there were no goals or proper exams and therefore amount of skills picked up was a joke.
But I wonder if hanholo even cares about criticism coming from grown up adults talking about their perception of the moisod years later? Not criticism from teenagers but complaints from grown adults who have kids in the system?

Or do the Hanholo know that their position is safe so there is no incentive to improve?
After going through the system and I can’t read a page of gemmoro on my own. ( I don’t believe I am nearly unique. I believe more than 50% of Bochurim can’t prepare a blatt of gemmoro without a Artscroll). However in university in a science subject I achieved the highest grade in over 500 students.
Is it not time for Hanholoto sit up and take notice of legitimate complaints at the failing of the system?
(1/21/2013 7:36:50 AM)
wow that is intense
(1/21/2013 8:26:51 AM)
To #73
No-one is saying there should be no rules. But, there is a way of enforcing them. The student can still feel loved and cared for even if there are rules. And pick those rules wisely. Admonish and punish with love. These days the youth need that so much more than before. All we're saying is that the students need to FEEL that you truly care about them, that you truly do love them.
(1/21/2013 10:25:19 AM)
To #74
in the previous letter she writes against rules...!
(1/21/2013 11:13:08 AM)
TO 67 AND 68
i feel the same way
their are a number of kids in my class who always get it all
they get the good grades
the awards
the attention
i was so annoyed, bcause guess what? i tried hard to.
i worked hard an eventually got up to my place
i now have that
something must be done about all the other students that dont have this
we must take a stand
(1/21/2013 4:43:50 PM)
To #77
The issue is not "rules" - it is the "micro-managing" of students, or simply put - over-ruling rules on top of rules, just too many rules on every detail. No one is against rules or structure - the problem is when you need an encyclopedia of rules to know what the rules are!
(1/21/2013 7:01:46 PM)
(1/21/2013 7:37:56 PM)
To #78
I don't think we are asking for equality, after all--true equality is never possible as we are all blessed with different strengths. What we are asking for are teachers who are compassionate and perceptive enough to notice(especially the quiet ones) and therefore nurture and encourage every student to bring out his/her full potential. Once the love is there, and the student feels it, everything else will fall into place. If there is no soil, nothing can grow.
(1/21/2013 8:40:04 PM)
to 81
i agree with you. i meant in terms of trying hard, all students should get a chance to shine.
i posted a comment recently, and apparently col decided not to post it.
i think that this teacher is wrong.
i will say it in short:
the teacher may be right in terms of herself.
but, even if she trys so hard, in the end it is the students choice weather or not she wants to follow what the teacher said.
a teacher can say do this,
but the student will do something else.
rules are good, they set your role in life.
but if you have rules that make you feel like you are forced to act this way, then students will not go by this rule.
this IS the real life.
and being its real and not fake, maybe by helping your student in the way that the 17 year old girl said, maybe you can improve us.
just because were kids doesnt mean we dont have opinions.
leave the girl alone, that was her opinion.
she was trying to make a stand
give another perspective of life
step in our shoes for a second.
look in someone elses perspective.
thats all i asked.
i ask.
to give us a chance
thank you ladies and gentlemen
(1/21/2013 10:17:24 PM)
From a teacher AND a student.
How many of you, commentors, are teachers or educators? I don't mean that you have subbed a class or two, i mean that you have devoted your life to teaching and educating.
Here's a fitting parallel:
Let's say the original article was about a teenager that needed to take medicine for something very serious and otherwise detrimental. Let's say that teenager was complaining that she didn't want to take her medicine and was mad at the medical staff for micromanaging her for it; she doesn't want to take the medicine, it's her body after all. She can't possibly fully understand the true consequences of not taking this medicine without a medical education, and she keeps finding ways out of taking it. Now she's telling the doctors and nurses to stop because she's just not going to take it.
Now this article would represent a Doctor writing a reply to the teenager saying how you can't understand that, it's not a democracy and it's detrimental to your health otherwise. ITS LIFE. would everyone here tell the doctor to let up? Would all of you say that he's too old for his job and should quit? he's not putting a smile on because it's one of the most serious matters. And this doctor cares about his patient!
In yiddishkeit, we equate chinuch to one of the most important things in the world. In fact, our community is heavily based around it. There are rules in education for certain reasons, and a lot of these reasons cannot be understood until you've stepped into the educators shoes. The same way you can't COMPLETELY understand why a patient needs to be put on a certain medication.
(1/22/2013 12:25:49 AM)
The real moshol
No, #83. You have it wrong.

Let's say a teenage girl gets sick, is hospitalized, and is given a medication that makes her feel worse. She told the doctor she takes a certain vitamin pill every day, but that doctor, a typical overburdened and undertrained hospital house officer, did not listen to her or write it on her chart. He prescribes a certain medication for her, and since the hospital pharmacy doesn't know she uses a vitamin that reacts with it, they send it up and she gets her injection.

She feels something is really not right, so she rings the bell, and demands to see a specialist. She is told, shut up, little girl. Doctor Y is your assigned doctor and he knows what's best, so he won't authorize a specialist.

Five minutes later, she is rushed to the ICU and put on life support after a serious reaction between the vitamin left in her system and this medication.
(1/22/2013 7:58:00 AM)
To #83
It's not only this one student, the author of the article. We see from the comments that many students have these negative feelings. And yes, I was a student and also a teacher for about 15 years.When I once told a parent that I felt I wasn't getting thru to her daughter (later she was evaluated - learning disabilities) she said at least she feels you care about her. She did not feel so with her other teachers. It is the difficult, rebellious students who need more of your love and care. And yes, it IS possible to make them feel you care while enforcing rules.
(1/22/2013 5:39:48 PM)
This is the kind of reponse that made the girl write that in the first place.
(1/22/2013 10:56:04 PM)
to #83
Sometimes what doctors do doesn't work. Often this happens and the doctor doesn't know what else to do so he just keeps on doing it, unwilling or unable to admit that he is failing. It is the patient's right to say "this is not working".
(1/23/2013 8:32:42 AM)
I think this is NOT
comig from a caring place and is just immature....like srsly? GROW UP? yep..deffinitaly ganna make us wanna grow up.......
(1/24/2013 12:53:10 AM)
Teenagers are not children, they are young adults
Teenagers can get married, they can go to the Tzhal and make life or death decisions - you don't give an Uzi to a child. Please remember that teens are NOT children. That is the most fundamental flaw in this "mechanechas" attitude. How would this author feel if she was treated as a child?!
(1/24/2013 11:15:55 AM)
umm, true, but not always
yor articel is true, but you do have to admit that some teachers dont know where to stop, when hey rgoing too far. teachers have know idea the kind of longterm damage they can do by shutting a kid up. of, course, they do allot of good, but theres 2 sides to the coin
(1/24/2013 6:26:07 PM)
To # 73
No. She doesn't right against rules, she wright's against being Micro-managed.
Again no like rules but that's not what were talking about
(1/25/2013 3:31:55 PM)
There are two ways to do things....
There are two get a child to do something. Tell them to or tell them not to.

......out of Love or Fear
(1/29/2013 8:20:59 PM)
Attention teachers
I believe a macheneches shouldnt be feared and someone who screams at you for not doing whats right, but someone that helps you get thru it and you go to her for advice and when your called into her office you feel comfortable venting to her. All those teachers that made comments like students shouldnt be allowed to comment and write articles are the reasons WHY students have to write articles on COL to get their view noticed. I plan on changing the teacher stereotype of being the enemy and i suggest while you teachers are in the position you are, you should do the same. Stop being defensive and make a change... a lot more girls will like you and listen to you...
(2/1/2013 2:16:40 AM)
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