web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



My Girls


Lessons-logo

Share Button

My children were growing up and leaving the nest. Wanting to fill up my days with a challenging project, I heard through a friend that a local high school needed an English teacher.

I love kids and am a freelance writer, so I interviewed for the position. The principal, however, was doubtful that I could make headway with a pretty apathetic group of students.

No one expected anything productive to sprout forth from this group of 13-year-olds. I had a teenaged daughter the same age, and I assured the principal that if he just handed the girls over to me, he would see results.

I never took a methodology class in college; in fact, I was not very enthused about being an education major, and thus changed my field of study.

What I did have was a love of the written word, and being a “people person” I felt that I could find common ground with my charges.

My students and I were in for a mutually rude awakening. Accustomed to merely getting by, they were not prepared for someone who meant business.

I wrote my own curriculum and expected my students to do the work that was assigned to them in a timely fashion.

In addition to their tests, every homework assignment was graded. The girls were required to rewrite each piece of work so that they would learn from their mistakes. Remembering how I would cringe as a kid when having a paper returned to me festooned with numerous red-inked corrections, I used a green pen in order to grade the work assigned to them.

My students were in shock. Their teacher was running a tough-love boot camp. They didn’t know what hit them!

There were tears and tantrums, but I would not budge.

I told them that I cared too much about them than to not insist that they work up to their potential. This was certainly a foreign concept to them. Here was a teacher who actually believed that they could do good work. Hmm.

It took weeks for me to see results. The battle was hard fought, but we – teacher and students – all prevailed beyond our expectations.

Although I was a middle-aged grandmother at the time, inside me still lived a 13- year-old that had suffered the slings of the sort of teachers who today would have been chucked out before they started.

Words hurt. Their sting can last forever unless and until someone comes along and cares enough to believe in a child’s ability to succeed.

When required to re-write her assignment, the student who threw the tantrum at the beginning of the year had only one mistake this time. She cheerfully redid the entire paper – without hesitation.

My students became known as “My Girls.” At the end of the school year, a fellow teacher told me that the faculty now viewed “My Girls” with respect. They were no longer an apathetic group of young ladies. They now walked with heads held high, believing in their abilities – all because I loved them too much to not believe in them.

Four years later I received an invitation to their high school graduation. The return address noted that the invitation had been sent to me from “Your Girls.” I don’t know who was prouder of the graduating class that night, their parents or their former teacher!

It has been 10 years since that wondrous year. Yes, 10 years. That was the year that 9/11 occurred.

In an e-mail sent to me recently by one of my students, she recalled how I came to class not knowing the fate of my husband, who works near Battery Park. During class word came that, thank G-d, he was safe!

I taught my girls the word “ambivalent” on that day, and they still remember how their teacher could encapsulate with one word the emotions of that day – feelings seared into the collective memory of our country.

Graduations, weddings, and the births of a new generation of precious children have come to “My Girls,” and I am there front and center sharing these wonderful occasions with them.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “My Girls”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.
Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba
Latest Judaism Stories

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

Haggadah used at the Passover Seder

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

Rabbi Sacks

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Marror is the reliving of the bitter enslavement and matzah is the under-eighteen-minutes redemption.

Rabbi David Bar-Hayim argues it is time for Ashkenazim to abandon the prohibition against Kitnyot. What do you think?

More Articles from Penina Metal
Lessons-in-Emunah-new

He exhorted all of us to continue to reach out to one another each and every day because that is what our tafkid (life’s goal) should be. And because that is what Hashem requires of us.

Lessons-logo

Parents possess divine inspiration (ruach haKodesh) when naming their children. In instances wherein a child is named after a departed loved one, we take great care in our choice – in the belief that the best character traits of the person we are honoring will be reflected in our precious progeny’s actions.

My home is furnished simply. One notes the customary family photos and bric-a-brac that makes a house a home, but certain items are my priceless treasures.

The zaidie sat at the head of the dining room table. I was a small child and unaware that my friend Esther’s grandfather was the revered rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, Rav Moshe Aaron Poleyeff, zt”l.

It took a few months, but I finally summoned up what little koach I had to go to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, for “Sunday Dollars.” I wanted to take my new baby to the Rebbe. Although he was about three months old at the time, I had not been strong enough until now to attempt a trip to 770 Eastern Parkway.

With so much to do before our recent trip, I was walking on a cloud.

It must have been evident to one and all, since my feet barely touched the ground.

Who would have believed that I would arrive at this special time – so grateful am I to HaKadosh Baruch Hu?

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have come and gone. It is time to return my beloved Machzor to the bookshelf. Gifted to me by my beloved parents, of blessed memory, for my bat mitzvah, it is one of my most precious possessions.

My children were growing up and leaving the nest. Wanting to fill up my days with a challenging project, I heard through a friend that a local high school needed an English teacher.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/my-girls/2012/02/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: