A Reader Writes: Teachers’ Room Lashon Hara

writeDear Editor@Matzav.com,
From various sources, I have heard personal and private stories of students being repeated in teachers’ rooms during breaks with the “intention” of helping the students. Being involved with some students who have issues in school, it appears that teachers are bored during recess and damagingly chat about their students. Teachers then form a new impression of students that they originally did not have. The teachers will then “out of the blue” all treat those discussed students negatively.
I am familiar with one student who mentioned to me that most of her teachers approached her asking her the same question in front of the class. It was obvious that she was topic of conversation during the teachers’ coffee/lunch break! This student asked me how she can possibly learn from any teacher when these teachers do not practice what they religiously preach. Their behavior is very anti what Yiddishkeit preaches. Gossip among teachers has no heter without very serious consultation with a rov.
I am bringing this up here with the hope that maybe someone can enlighten me with a way that teachers can see the severe destruction they cause to students by discussing the students’ private concerns, family problems, etc.



  1. To Bruchie,

    In support of your comment, you’re actually describing the beginning stages for “some” children who have veered from yiddishkeit. As a professional who has been working with the parent population of at-risk children, two issues that come up often as major factors associated with some children who have gone off the derech are “hypocrisy” and “losing trust in adult ‘religious’figures” (teachers are only one such group). And so I commend you for being so aware and for your desire to seek a solution to the grave problem you described.

    As to a solution, your concluding paragraph carries a very powerful thought. I think it’s safe to say that those teachers who are speaking about their students are not doing so with any evil intention, cholilah. However, I also believe they probably lack a very vital piece of knowledge: that their behaviors can negatively affect their students both in the short and long term, and that includes possible severe destruction, as you so wisely stated. And of course, the opposite is also true: that a small, seemingly minute gesture from a teacher to a student, can impact the child in a positive, powerful way, both in the short as well as long term.

    My suggestion is for you to bring this matter to the attention of your administration and for the school to have an educational workshop with the goal for teachers to learn how they can positively affect their students. This venue can be a perfect opportunity for each teacher to gain insight into how his/her language and actions affect each student. If you wish to contact me personally for further discussion on this idea, I assume you can get my email address thru matzav.

    Hatzlacha and yasher koach.