ABOUT SHIRAS SARAH TEACHERS TRAINING COURSE
Live or Online
"I created Bais Yaakov to make frum girls from frum homes excited about their Yiddishkite."
(Frau Sarah Schenirer)
“We are raising a generation of young people who are very observant but not very religious.”
(HaRav A. Feldman shlit”a)
The “Why” of this course:
The issues educators (and parents!) face today:
Vision: From the above quote it is clear that we are struggling to live up to the original goal of a Bais Yaakov chinuch, and that is certainly true in Chinuch HaBanim as well.
Academics: Yediya chitzoniyus does not automatically become yediyah pnimis (Admor of Piaseczna) - students know more information than ever before, but it is not penetrating their neshamos.
Personal Growth: We all struggle with The School Conundrum: What is needed for a school to excel in highly controlled “observance” and elite academic “yediyah chitzonis” inhibits slow personalized “religious” growth and individualized sincere “yediyah pnimis”, and vice versa. This, in turn, creates a challenging home dynamic – which in turn affects school challenges!
Discipline and Structure: “The Yeshiva exists for the hatzlacha of the talmidim, the talmidim are not there for the hatzlacha of the Yeshiva.” (Rav Chaim Epstein zt”l) What is good for the school and its “name” is not always good for the student, and vice versa. And at home, what is best for a particular child may not be the best for the “family reputation” and vice versa. Even more difficult - what is best for one child or student, may not be the best for another!
Why davka today more than in previous generations:
The outside world is much scarier than ever before, and in the process of creating controls - the content, beauty, and hashkafa of Yiddishkeit is being taken for granted.
Today there is huge emphasis on externals and the bottom line.
It is hard to be a “hero” today. Everyone is a “good Ben Torah” and a “good frum BY girl” - young people do not feel a sense of accomplishment or that they are needed.
“Religious” internal growth (as contrasted to external “observance”) is hard to measure and thus is not immediately recognized in the students’ world of school and family.
Shidduch “Crisis” - We will put form over content and do what is good for the resume or “name” rather than what is good for their neshama.
The “Success Criteria” and Goals of this course:
Teachers will have the midos, tools and confidence to deal with students as individuals.
Teachers will be able to help each student personalize his/her growth without compromising the integrity of the classroom.
Teachers will have a variety of sources and tools to confidently answer all basic questions.
Schools will be a rich, complex and all-encompassing educational experience.
Students will be inspired and have vision and clarity of purpose.
Each student will feel validated as a unique contributing member of Klal Yisroel.
Students will have the tools and self confidence to carry Yiddishkeit throughout their adult lives, wherever they end up.
The “What” of this course – Live:
This Zoom live interactive course (25 classes, 90 minutes each followed by Q&A and discussion) is open to all staff of middle schools and high schools and will be limited to 25 participants per group. Each participant will receive all source materials - which can be used to create a “yahadus” course in school, or workshops, or be used by teachers in informal discussions, or as “add-ons” to their present course. These can all be adapted to work within any and all school styles and cultures. (The first two cohorts had participants from Yerushalyim, Gateshead, Manchester, Vancouver, Lakewood, Brooklyn, Queens, Baltimore, Cleveland, Atlanta, South Bend, Houston, Dallas, Miami, San Diego, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles!) The material presented can work in conjunction with the many wonderful curriculums that are already available for schools.
The “What” of this course – Online:
The material and sources offered in the online course are the same as the live course – and all the materials can be downloaded for future use. But, the online course is 25 classes that are only 60 minutes long, and does not provide for interaction, questions, feedback and discussion with peers (pilpul chaverim) – which past participants have found very helpful in putting the concepts into practice in today’s complex classrooms.
The “Uniqueness” of this course:
This course was created from the ground up specifically for teaching (and parenting) frum teens. The tools, insights and explanations of Ikarei Emunah are based on my over 30 years of real classroom experience with frum teens, 18 of which I was also the HS Principal. It is not simply another “da mah l’hashiv” curriculum – though that is a part of it. And it is not simply a “classroom methodology” course. Rather, the purpose is to give Mechanchim and Mechanchos an insight into the “thinking, struggles, and mindset” of today’s frum teenagers. It stresses the importance of building trust and growing through mistakes (our own, and our students), and gives teachers the vision and hashkafa to create a positive and honest atmosphere within the classroom and within the school. It will ensure that the next generation will not simply have Torah in their life but will have life in their Torah!