Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Four Students

היום ארבעה עשר יום שהם שני שבועות בעמר
Today is the fourteenth day, making two weeks of the omer
מלחות שבגבורה

A day of majesty in a week of strength

As I prepare to go teach Torah to the 6th and 7th graders at Peninsula Temple Beth El, I want to share a new insight I had this year during the seders concerning the story of the Four Sons -- traditionally known as the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son, and the one who cannot ask. (For those of you who are not familiar with this story told on Passover, click here.)

There are so many ways you can look at this story--different kinds of people in the world, different aspects on one's personality, what are the positive and negative connotations in how each relates to this story of their heritage. People have favorite sons--also written, of course, as children to update to an egalitarian environment. Those of you who have been to seders all your lives have heard it all, I'm sure, and more.

That's why it's nice to get a new hit, as I did this year. The main point of the story is to tell each child the story of Passover, however they ask, or don't ask, the question. The change for me is this year I saw each child as a student who learns things in their own way.

There's the know-it-all, arm always raised kid. I need to teach that child with patience, and steer her/him to helping others learn.

There's the kid who is always going to act up. I need to be strong but straightforward with that child, and engage him/her in the goings on in class.

There's the kid who needs to get the information in different ways. I adjust my lesson plans so I include options for each kid to have a learning opportunity.

There's the kid who will just sit quietly and check out. I need to reach out to that kid gently, but always include her/him, not letting him/her disappear.

That's the new perspective---now to put the newly-found teaching into action.

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