Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I don’t think this is mesirah. However, after going through what I must in order to put food on the table and help pay some of the bills, I have to go through unbearable cruelty each day.

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My husband lost his job during Covid, and had to settle for another one, far below his skill level, so I decided to help out. Now that all my children are in school I accepted a substitute position in four schools so that I am working every day. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed teaching years ago. The kids were great, the parent body was great and the hanhala was devoted to producing caring, respectful and intelligent girls. What was is no more!

To my horror, the level of azus I encounter on a daily basis is beyond words. If you think it’s because I am the sub and not the regular teacher, you are wrong. I have raised this issue with a number of the regular teachers and they say it is a sign of the times. Parents are no longer bolstering the middos they try to give over in class but cater to the kids and their wants just to have peace.

Each day kids, no matter the school or the class, make a balagan, eating snacks and drinking whenever they desire, calling across the room to each other and completely tuning me out. No matter how I threaten them they continue this circus, at my expense and their own, because nothing is being taught and nothing is being learned. I have complained to the principals and the higher-ups about this travesty and was told that there is nothing to be done. The parents are happy the way things are and the kids have to bring home good reports from the teachers. I am thoroughly disgusted and defeated and see no good coming from this.

A Sad and Dejected Sub

 

Dear Friend,

So, the inmates are running the insane asylums? Thank you so much for writing in about something that is swept under the rug as much as the agunah issue was years back.

I totally agree with you as this was my experience recently, substituting in girls schools in my area. I was so excited to try my hand again at teaching young, thirsty minds that I accepted jobs in two schools thinking the extra income would come in handy now that I joined the “Senior Brigade.” I based my excitement on my own recall of class decorum that I taught right after graduation. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.

Without exception, each class in every school had the same characters, the free-for-all attitude from the moment class began that carried through the entire day. Chutzpah was rampant and the sub was lost before she even had a chance to say a word. Food wrappers flew across the room, screaming and laughing drowned out any chance of my being heard and rudeness beyond description was what I put up with, until I didn’t! I couldn’t take any more of this abuse from both student and hanhala. I refused to be a glorified babysitter and collect money for a job I couldn’t do. To me that was gnaivas Da’as. When I, one day, put my food down and threatened the ‘young ladies’ of the seventh grade with calling each of their parents and giving them a full two hour writing assignment that would be handed over to their regular teacher and count on their records (I hope Hashem forgave me that little white lie), I encountered complete and deafening silence in the room, cowering looks from the brashest girls who were the class ringleaders and I had two hours of absolute attention. I was also asked to not come back to sub.

You are right good friend, we are in deep trouble. The days of students standing up when an older person enters the room is gone. So are ‘please and thank you’ as well as respectful silence when the teacher or sub imparts the lesson. There is little hope of that ever happening as the kids run the home and the schools. Unless parents and hanhala work in tandem to eradicate the unacceptable behavior and climate they allowed to grow in their Bais Yaakovs and yeshivos, then their is little hope it will ever change. May Hashem allow Moshiach to come and rectify all the ills that we have wrought.

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