Ideas For A Good Rebbi

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school-desksBy Rabbi Mordechai Binik, Yeshiva Siach Yitzchok

Rebbeim are given the greatest job, which is: to educate and be מחנך the future generation. It is the mostrewarding job and gives you the most fulfilling sensation when you are able to give over the curriculum of the year- and reach to a boy’sנשמה  and elevate him during the year that you spend with him.

Yet, this comes along with another element. Being a Rebbe is also the most challenging job, working with 1. A classroom full with a variety of different boys, each with their own natures. 2. The students come from different backgrounds. 3. Teaching the לימודים, in a classroom environment.

To say the least, it’s easier said than done!

Every Rebbe wants to do his best, and I came to the conclusion that if a Rebbe really wants to do better – with Hashem’s help, you can do a fantastic job.

The first thing is to daven on a daily basis for הצלחה and סייעתא דשמיא, because any veteran Rebbe can attest that this job needs a lot of סייעתא דשמיא.

The only way you can really connect to a child is by KNOWING him fully.

Let’s begin by stating this, when one looks at his class, he can easily pick out the “great boys” and the “not so great boys”, but then we are left with a big number of בינונים (as they are labeled). It might be easy to label a child, but you may be very incorrect.

Here are some basic ideas I got from a fantastic colleague of mine, which has been teaching for many years, and is well known to be an expert in the field of KNOWING the students he teaches. These are some great points he shared with me- and therefore, it is advisable to use the following ideas to REALLY get to know your students well, so we can do our part of חנוך לנער על פי דרכו.

  • Put aside 15 minutes a day for 3 boys (5 minutes for each), to connect with him in a friendly manner while testing him very briefly on his לימודים (הבנה קריאה-חומש-דקדוק)
  • In a classroom setting, pick a topic that brings out the הבנה of a child and ask questions while silently focusing on the boys you want to test. (By not asking him directly, you will give him a chance to come out of hiding, and answer naturally with no pressure.)
  • Write a question on the board that can be answered on a few levels, and let the students write their answers. (You may also ask a question that you never spoke about– or a question that is emotional (for example: how do you think he felt while he did this?).

Gain: it’s amazing to see from their replies how they think, how they understand the question, and how deep they can go. You may be shocked at the variety of answers and with who wrote what…

  • Have a class list by age. This will allow you to easily identify who is the oldest and the youngest.

Gain: it might help you figure out certain behaviors of some boys (mature, or immature …)

  • Have jobs that carry obligations (אחריות), like cleaning in between the rows…holding the timers..and monitor. You will be able to see if: 1) he likes doing such jobs, 2) if he does it well, 3) gets it done in a normal timeframe ( not slow.. or wrong)
  • Observe while they are at recess, 1) who are the ones always complaining, 2) or the ones that are aggressive, 3) what type of game they play 4) and who they play with
  • Get to know the students outside your classroom. While you might know your boys, you are really only seeing one side of them. There is a whole different part that you may never find out. In a private talk, you may want to shmooze and try to figure out:

1.      What number is he in the family

2.      What his parents do for a living

3.      What he likes to play on Shabbos afternoon

4.      Which שול they daven in

5.      His bed time

6.      Vacation places they go

7.      Where his family goes in the summer

8.      How long is his ride to school

9.      What he normally eats for breakfast (if he does altogether)

While some of the above points may look unimportant, it may clarify the bigger picture, and help you understand some behaviors or/and problems.

Finally: it’s great to know, BUT the information must be marked down in a notebook designated for this purpose. As you are marking general points,- try to use numbers from 1-5, (1 being the least/worse and 5 being the most/best)

I found this very helpful and like the פסוק says תן לחכם ויחכם עוד.

Thanks for reading. I hope it is helpful.

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  1. The above is only a small beginning. What would really work wonders in the creation of a good Rebbe is taking education courses given by an accredited institution. Being able to learn does not mean you are able to teach. Having been a good camp counselor does not necessarily make for a good Rebbe.

  2. And who is it who accredited these institutions you speak about in their knowledge and understanding of education? Face the reality, Chadorim and Beis Yaakovs are far more successful than public schools. That does not mean that Rabbeim shouldn’t receive training. They should. But it should be from experienced and successful Rabbeim and Talmidei Chachomim

  3. Another peice of good advice: If 10% of your class needs Ritalin, tell the parents even if they scream at you. My child’s Rebbe was scared to tell me and I didn’t realize until 9th grade….He is now doing EXCELLENT and I lament over the years of wasted time, tears, and frustration. Speak to you pediatracian. It is realitively safe and the biggest side effect is not taking it and having your child be a failure in school. Think about it.

  4. ?? ???? ????? ???

    You are VERY wrong.

    ?? ???? ????? ???

    Because every Rebbi is different:

    ???? ???? ?? ?? ????

    Let each Rebbi get to know his Talmidim his own way.

    A Rebbi is unique. He is not a proffesional. He is a Rebbi. Not a friend.

    A Rebbi teaches Torah and Talmidim must ammend themselves and adopt a standard of a Rebbi.

    Even the youngest must be nurtured like this. However, this takes great skill on the part of the Rebbi, and tha is why the greatest Talant is often found in the youngest grades.

    Whoever you are- you should not be offering advise to the Rabayim of our future Doros.

  5. I’m so happy to see that there are Rabeeim who are really working on getting to know their talmidim and trying to bring out the best of them.

    Many Rabeeim, including my own children’s Rabeeim, are so confident in themselves. They feel they know every child, without really knowing them at all.

    They only know their talmidim in a classroom setting. They spend very little or no time at all getting to know their talmidim.

    The above suggestions are good ones. Having the talmidim over Friday night for an oneg every other week or so, would help tremendously. The Rebbi would see the talmidim in a more relaxed atmosphere. Eventually the talmidim will warm up to their Rebbi and the Rebbi will really get to know their talmid.

    I cannot speak for everyone else, but I feel that some Rabeim do not even care to get to know their talmidim. They do the bear minimum of what is required from them. And that is it!

    After years of teaching, some Rabeim seem to have little ????? from the teaching. They start giving shiurim in the community, they get busy with daf yomi etc.. They take their salries from the school, even though they do not think about school from the time they leave the building until the next morning, when they go back to school.

    When a Rebbi can say “If I would win the lotto, I would stop teaching”, then he does not belong in the classroom anymore. Someone who teaches “for the money”, is not a mechanech.

    This Rebbi, Rabbi Binik, should be recognized for working on ways to get to know his talmidim. A good Rebbi is always open to listen to and adapt new techniques. Like this Rebbi who took the time to talk to a colleague and accepted his suggestions!

    I envy the parents who’s children are taught by such Rabeim!!

  6. It is forbidden to go to an accredited institutions as the Gedolei hAdOR ZT”L have held that college is assur. To hold otherwise is Kefira

  7. Kudos to Rabbi Binik for these thoughtful ideas.

    It is especially refreshing to see a generation of Rebbe’s who see it as their business to get to know their students. I feel it is very wrong for anybody to criticize a rebbe who does the ultimate avoidas Hashem, taking a limited income and putting his heart and soul into his job.

    Although this article is not all one needs to know in order to be an effective rebbe, as the writer points out, it does raise awareness of a very important issue. A rebbe can always gain by reading articles, speaking to fellow melamdim, and asking for advice. For he who seeks to teach must never cease to learn.

    Thank you again, and hatzlacha to all rebbe’s in their avodas hakodesh.

  8. ????? ??? ????? ????”?
    ??? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ?? ????? ??????.
    ????? ???????? ?????? ???, ?? ??? ?????? ??? ????
    ?????? ??? ?? ????? [????? ???] ??????.
    ?????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?”???? ???? ?”? ????” ??? ????? ????? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ????? ?? ???”? ?????????.

    ?? ???? ?? ?? ????”?, ????? ???? ??”? ???????? ?????? ???? ??????? ????? ?”???????” ???? ?? ???????.

  9. B”H my boys have had many rabbeim and menahalim who, despite different styles, always projected how much they cared for the boys.
    To all those who are oskim btzarchei tzibur be’emuna, especially in chinuch, may Hashem be memale kol mishalos libchem for the obvious good.

  10. To our #5 who for obvious reasons chose to stay anonymous.
    If you choose to look at the words that you misquoted ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? you will notice we are not speaking at all about the ???? of the Rebbe we are speaking about the ???? Of the child how will i be able to be mechanech him how can I reach him the best way.
    Rabbi Binik took this beautiful concept that ??”? tough us and gave us such beautiful practical advice. Thank you!

  11. Wow! Rabbi Binik does it again!!!
    Im not sure if you ever heard of the evening program in Boro Park called Chayenu. Headed for many years by Rabbi Binik he is truly a amazing person who has the unbelievable koach to understand children and inspire them. Yes it is very befitting for him to write such a article. A living example of “?? ?? ????”.
    Hatzlocho Rabbi Binik in all your avodas hakodesh!

  12. #14,

    you forgot the second half of the Pasuk. “Gam ki yazkin,…” The same applies to ourselves as well. We each have to use an approach that truly reaches the students, but it should be based upon our individual personalities and character strengths.

    Rav Pam was not the Satmer Rebbe, and the Satmer Rebbe was not Rav Aaron Kotler etc etc. Each did deal with their talmidim based upon the derech of the talmid as well as the derech of the rebbe. Both must be synchronized.


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