The Matzav Rant: 7 Parents at English PTA


ptaBy Shmuel Miskin

I recently attended PTA for English studies at a local yeshiva and was astounded that only seven parents out of the 24 boys in the class came to find out how their sons are doing.

Teaching English in yeshivos has always been an uphill battle. The hierarchy in the schools, other than the principals, usually do not provide the moral support and direction needed. In general, based on my experience, half of the parents show some interest in their child’s achievements in English, another quarter show minimal interest, and another quarter shows no concern at all.

But for only seven out of 25 parents to show up at a PTA meeting, in my mind, is a shame. A child easily senses his parents’ regard for things. If he observes that his parents don’t bother to meet with their teacher at PTA, they get a good idea of where their English studies rank on the totem pole in their parents’ eyes. Is it a wonder, then, that so many boys display no seriousness whatsoever during English, and aren’t the least bit fazed by their failing marks?

To the parents who did attend the PTA meeting to discuss their children’s progress, I say kol hakavod. You give teachers the encouragement to continue preparing interesting lessons. You make them feel that their efforts are worth it. And you make someone like me believe that there are still some people who actually give a hoot.

 {Shmuel Newscenter}


  1. I’m not married so I can’t really give an opinion but I agree. It sounds like a valid point. I know that as a kid if my parents didn’t want to go to PTA it bothered me. It made me feel like they don’t care.

  2. Does this school have parents call in advance to schedule appointments or do people show up and wait? The former system is not only more efficient but will give the school an idea of who’s planning to come, and maybe they can make some calls to shake things up.

    And was this the same night as the kodesh meetings?

  3. I am not surprised. IN many Yeshivos they are eliminating English all together. In certain areas, English studies are a complete joke.

    People wake up! We are near the edge of the cliff and not paying attention. Speak with your tzedakah dollar! That will get the attention of the yeshivos.

  4. You are talking like a fool! Parents can’t always make it because of scheduling. It is the same with Hebrew & English. Don’t try to differentiate between the two. I don’t go to every Simcha either. The PTA’s are always at the most inconvenient time possible. In middle of supper, homework, baths, etc…(Keninena hora). When you get there, you have to wait & wait & wait & wait untill you actually see the teachers. A total waste of time! Any parent with minimum seichal knows how his child is doing. There are no shocking chidushim you are going to learn at the PTA. If there was a problem, the teacher would of already called to let you know. I have every teachers cell phone handy just in case. They should realy ban all PTA’s from now on!

  5. Were there 25 boys in the class or 24?

    It is not a good idea to exaggerate in such an obvious manner. People will never know when to trust you!!

    Anyways, how are you so fortunate to get paid to just complain all the time about everything on tour mind?!?

    Most of us cannot even get people to listen to our gripes!! You get paid to publicize your gripes, and so many people read them!!


  6. why is english PTA at a different time than Hebrew PTA? If it would be together, you are not making the parents come out twice and parents would most likely see the English teacher as well.

  7. It is indeed a shame that parents
    show such apathy.

    In my opinion, this negative attitude is
    promoted by those who erroneously disparages English studies.

  8. It is truly a shame that more students do not take advantage of their English studies. They would find, when older, that they have very valuable skills.

    A strong command of one’s native language is also of great importance. If we are going to convey Torah properly, respectfully — forcefully — then the speaker needs to articulate his thoughts in a clear, direct manner; no ambiguities. Of course, the menahal and principal must provide an environment that is appropriate for serious study, and the teachers should be relevant. To have a General Studies program that promotes poor middos is, of course, a disaster. There must be discipline. Middos tovos are not just turned on and off at will. If the hours intended for General Studies are spent acting out, it corrupts one’s middos and character.

  9. Frankly it’s none of your business. Maybe they just called the teacher. Or maybe they really don’t care. Frankly it is their g-d given right not to care no matter what you personally think. BTW i go to english PTA.

  10. maybe the school should have the teachers call the parents that didn’t come to show the parents that the school considers english as an important part of the day.

  11. Is there a reason why the REbbe and English teachers can’t have PTA the same evening? How many times is a parent supposed to have to get out of the house, stand on line, etc? I can do both inone night in my daughter’s school!

  12. How many parents in that class showed up for Limudai Kodesh PTA??

    Without that info, this “rant” is meaningless.


  14. its a pity the girls take English seriously and make something of themselves while the boys like to take the easy way out.
    I wish our system follows the system in England that makes it mandatory to learn the language. Alot of our kids read and write like they are from a third world country.

  15. is this the second pta, because it is now march and pta’s happened a long time ago in most schools. if this is the second pta then most of the parents probably are aware how their children are doing and have no need to talk to the teachers.

  16. I live in England and I am a teacher and head of a department. We give appointment times for the parents to come for the open evenings (as we call it in England. It is MANDATORY to come both for the Kodesh and English studies, which are both on the same nights.
    Each parent gets 10 minutes of the teacher’s time at the meeting, for each subject. If there is a problem of any sort, then the teacher sets up another meeting at a mutually convenient time, i.e. before class starts or after school. Every parent that comes has to sign in and this information is documented on the school record, with a copy of what the teacher had written about the child. A much better system and very well organized. We also have coffee/tea served by volunteer parents who have a rota of times to do this.
    If you don’t show concern for your child’s education, whom should????!!!!