web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



My Girls


Lessons-logo

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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “My Girls”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The face of terror is the same in Ottawa as it is in Jerusalem,says Lieberman.
Lieberman: Terror in Jerusalem and Ottawa Part of ‘Global Epidemic’
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

Rabbi Sacks

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Bible1

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

More Articles from Penina Metal
Lessons-Emunah-logo

“Daddy,” I exclaimed, “Is this how you daven?” Daddy’s response was a hearty laugh. I felt so proud of myself.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

I vowed that when I would grow up, I would speak Yiddish to my kinderlach and I would move to “a place called Crown Heights.”

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.

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?

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: