Struggling Kids and Insensitive Mechanchim

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    I never understood why are Jewish people who are in chinuch mean to struggling kids?! I’m struggling through life if they know that why are they meaner then before they knew?! Now it’s almost the new year I can’t forgive them they ruined me and continue to ruin me! Anyone have anytHing to comment?

    live right

    there are a lot of people who shouldn’t be in chinuch and are. if one is in chinuch for their own gratification they will not be giving every student what is best for them. that is unfair. Anyone who needs a role model of how to do chinuch properly should read the biography of R’ Shlomo Friefeld. His way of dealing with struggling students amazes me and warms my heart every time I read about it.

    Superme, I hope there is someone out there who you will find that will see you for the amazing person you are, support and encourage you and will make you feel understood.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    superme – nobody can ruin you without your help. I work with a lot of struggling kids and have some of my own. The mechanchim usually mean well, they think they are helping you take life more seriously etc. They may be mistaken but then it’s your turn to decide what to do with it.

    You can have a teacher who is very hard on you or puts you down and you can tell yourself that you know this isn’t true, this teacher is wrong about me and I will just let it roll off my back. Or you can decide to speak to the menaheles in a serious personal way explaining why you feel very hurt and hopeless (whining and saying, “she’s picking on me” usually doesn’t work). You can also decide that if that’s how the teacher is going to treat you than you are going to treat her like that too and teach her a lesson by being even worse than she expects etc etc. It is YOUR choice and if you need someone else to tell you that you really AREN’T a bad kid, then it is in YOUR hands to find that someone. You can use us, or some ‘real life’ person.

    The bottom line is, (I got this from Dr. Twerski) if someone told you you have an ugly scar on your face it won’t bother you because you KNOW it isn’t true. If you believe the mean/stupid/hurtful things your teacher is saying, maybe it is because you need help believing that those things aren’t true. You just need to find someone who can give you twice as much positive for all the negative. Actually it’s supposed to be 4x as much but that’s for a different discussion.

    So if you understood any of this, just show up each night and let us know how many compliments you need before you can go to bed.


    “continue to ruin me”? Please explain why you are “stuck” in a seemingly negative situation. Has nothing improved? Have you nowhere to turn for support?


    I hope you have a school guidance counselor that you can turn to for help.


    I tried turning to many adults but nothing everything just gets worse! So yes I’m stuck and they will continue to ruin me!!!!! It’s been a while like this already why can’t I just accept this already that my life is awful?! Maybe once I accept it I’ll be happier..!

    Burnt Steak

    You had a bad experience. Even when I was failing gemara my rebbies encouraged me. Why don’t you get involved in an organization that pairs you off with other girls (I’m assuming you are a girl from the way you type) and teach them or learn with someone at the same level.

    Halfway through typing this answer, I realized that this is similar to what happened to me this past year and that I need to forgive that educator. Who am I to give you advice if I only preach and not practice? <—- Thank you for being The Almighty’s messenger to tell me to work on myself and forgive people.

    All that is left to say is to try to judge them favorably, who knows, the teacher could of had a lot of things going on in his/her life.

    I feel bad I can’t offer you more but try my suggestions even if I may not do them myself.

    You should be blessed that this is you pass this hard trial in life and that this experience will strengthen you.


    I would agree that there are plenty of mechanchim who should not be in “the business”. There needs to be more oversight whether it is through a mashgiach or other member of the hanhala (or guidance counselor in a girls school). I have seen a couple of really bad apples in my day.


    there is no reason why you should be forced to accept a substandard quality of life. Finding a mentor is a must and it does not have to be someone in the school it can be an older person you can vent to and can identify with you and give you advice. Take it from someone who has a been in a similar situation many times before.


    As R’ Aron Leib Shteinman told me about two months ago, “Nit yeder einer vus mein az ehr iz ah mechanech iz takeh ah mechanech” – Not everyone who thinks they’re a mechanech is actually a mechanech.


    i am so sorry this is happening to you. just remember that life has its ups and downs, and since it seems you just went through( or are going through)a big downturn, your life is going to be really great when it goes up again. i got this concept from rabbi wallerstein and its helped me get through some really challenging things over the years.i hope this helps you!


    even though people say not to run away from problems, I have, after weighing factors, switched 2 of my kids to different schools (even with other pple’s warnings) and B”H it was truly for the better – maybe you and/or your parents can look into that option and research what the mechanchim there are like and make a switch where you can start fresh?


    Having been there, I can say that it make take time to forgive. It certainly took me many years before I could start that process. You don’t have to forgive them now. Focus on your own struggles, and finding ways to deal with them. Personally I think you shouldn’t waste energy on people who do things wrong. Way too many everywhere.

    If you truly do want to understand, try to consider the job of the Mechanech. They are responsible for so many, and there isn’t a single right way. Every child is different, every situation is different. Children don’t come with instructions. Many will simply apply general rules to everything. While this works for many, it also destroys the ones who are left. One important thing I have learned through life, is very rarely are people evil on purpose. Most probably they assume that somehow this will help you. Sounds crazy, but that’s what happened to me. From my point of view, I tried extremely hard to do everything right, yet every teacher would comment at the least, or bordered on abuse for what they perceived to be my lack of effort. Now I am in a different place in life, I can understand what happened. I saw my struggles. I didn’t see what my teachers all saw. A bright student who constantly slept in class, looked bored, and rarely did homework, or studied for tests. I really did seem disinterested. Today, I can see there was a 3rd factor that was at work. A home factor that wasn’t visible to anyone, even me at the time. So what my teachers thought would encourage me, tore an already battered child. I’m not sure if I have fully forgiven everyone, but I’m on the road. What has helped me heal, is knowing that I can do something about it. I can’t change my past, but I can talk about it, bring awareness to these issues, and maybe things will change soon.


    Superme: keep trying to find the right person who can help you. Yes it’s true that not everyone who is teaching is meant to be. That’s the fact of life. It’s a reality and you’re not going to change that. But try to find one of the few individuals who are teaching for the sake of teaching and not for the money or job title. You will feel better and understood and it won’t matter to you what anyone else will say anymore


    @superme first off I am very sorry that you or anyone else has to be in such a dreadful situation. We send our children to school hoping that they will be in an environment where they can grow, trust and become the people they are meant to be. Sadly not all teachers, morahs, rebbes are meant to be in this field and can do an incredible amount of damage to the students, and I am sorry you had to be one of them.

    That being said, there are also wonderful wonderful mechanchim out there who would not only love to help you through this difficult time, but who are also proffesionals at dealing with this kind of situation. I am sure if you ask around to the RIGHT people, they will point you in the right direction.

    I wish you the best of luck and much hatzlacha and hope that all the wounds and scars heal quickly and painlessly.


    Not ready to start another school year with such teachers!! I constanly hear negative stuff about myself from the people in chinuch who are supposed to be there for you not make you feel awful!


    You’re lucky in a way. You have the self-esteem to at least know that it’s wrong, and not helpful. Maybe you’ll get a good teacher. Have you ever had at least just one school faculty member that made you feel good? It just takes one, to be able to find out why this happens. (In my experience even in the bad schools, there are good teachers. In the good schools, there are also bad teachers.) There are good positive people in the world. Don’t give up hope!


    Another skwl yr and it starts again!!! I am shocked how can a teacher me cynical to a student?!


    Are you sure they meant it so hurtfully? Sometimes people say things cynically in order to make light of something. Being cynical myself, I know people have been hurt by words I’ve said, but this never was my intention! More like my sense of humor gone awry.



    You know there are some people who havesuper sensitive. I know such people who almost any comment said jokingly is taken as a personal insult. You may bbe one of these people. In that case you can either go see if you can find a teacher who is like the chofetz Chaim other Rabbi Moshe Feinstein who would never say anything even remotely insulting to anyone, or work on yourself to not be so sensitive. Lets look at it like this, if a person has a problem with one teacher it’s possible that the problem is the teacher. But if there’s someone who year after year is having a problem and finds issues with every teacher or most of his or her teachers then the problem is the student.


    I’m calling troll….


    @superme – I have had similar experiences throughout my schooling years. I remember confiding with a different teacher who just shrugged it off by saying “That can’t be, our staff is hand-picked…blah blah blah” I’m sure you know the drill. One thing to tell you, just hang in there. You can’t change people, but you can change yourself. And remember, you’ll be out of there soon enough!


    Sanityisoverratwd- yes this teacher is cynical meaning yes she means it that way! Not normally do I get such a teacher!! I get mean teachers who say nasty stuff etc!

    WIY- thanks but i wasn’t looking fir someone to tell me that I’m the problem those teachers say it enough!

    Streekgeek- any advice how to make it a little easier?


    as a teacher, i tell you that its impossible that your teacher means it in the bad way, but as a still hurting student, i can fully empathize with you…. i went through a lot of hard times in the school system, so now on the other side of the desk, i try my utmost to truly care for each and every student to my maximum ability.

    but, i would also tell you that there are many great teachers that really do care about their students… find one of those and explain to them how you feel. and if its not a teacher, it can be any role model that you trust.

    and, perhaps, maybe there is something that you can change that will make it easier for you to feel differently about your teachers…


    How can you be so sure ikno? My class has had teachers who made our lives hell. I can tell you crazy stories from that year.


    The yeshivas do not hire rebbes based on merit, they hired based on Nepotism. Just because someone is the R’Y’s brother in law and maybe is even a gadol in his own right, does not make him an appropriate teacher for 12 year old boys.


    It may be a hard time in your life, but it won’t last forever. And remember all the people that do love you for who you are.

    One more thing – as I said before, can’t change people, but you can change yourself. You can’t chose how other people act, but you can chose how you react. People can be insensitive and mean it too, but it’s your choice how you take it.


    I taught social studies to 7th and 8th grade boys in a black hat yeshiva last year.

    Worst experience of my life.

    These boys had no respect, some of them knew plenty about pop culture, one had cigarettes (in the black hat world, I suppose smoking isn’t seen as a sign of deviance, since plenty of “frum” men smoke), and plenty were violent and abusive towards the teacher and themselves. I also found that they couldn’t write an essay if their lives depended on it.

    In many cases, the problem is the student, not the teacher.


    rebdoniel- Being a teacher you seem rather biased. Considering your own attitude just in that post, I would assume you were part of the problem as well in that classroom. “(in the black hat world, I suppose smoking isn’t seen as a sign of deviance, since plenty of “frum” men smoke”

    With such a negative attitude towards the black hat community, what were you doing teaching there? Your attitude cannot be so easily hidden in a classroom, and students pick up on these things. You’re completely judgmental of their lifestyle, and yet surprised that they didn’t like you/ didn’t bother trying for you.

    superme- How can you know she means it to be nasty? Can you mind read? Many times, teachers say things for tough love reasons, and it backfires. If you can’t know her intentions, try giving her the benefit of the doubt. It’s more for your benefit, as it can help ease the stings.

    The little I know

    Teaching is a tough job. Managing a classroom with the types of behavioral and attitudinal patterns that are common these days is no easy feat. And doing all that while actually teaching something is even harder. Now, who should be teaching such classes. The relative of the Menahel/Rosh Yeshiva, or someone that has been trained in the field of teaching? Now you know……the rest of the story.

    A good teacher can manage the difficult and challenging student. More often than not, this doesn’t happen, since most teachers lack training. Additionally, the teacher who needs to reach the tough student may need to expend a little energy and time to make the connection outside of the classroom. Who wants to do that? The teacher who just needs a job because they exhausted their time in kollel, or someone who is dedicated to the mission of educating young people regardless of their degree of challenge?

    The answers to the questions posed here are also solid replies to the OP.


    I once had a discussion with R’ Bender about mechanchim. He said the following (probably not word-for-word, but the ideas are right):

    “When you were young, most Rabbeim didn’t really know how to be a good mechanech. Why would they? There was no such thing as training to become a Rebbe. Because of the Holocaust, we lost a tremendous amount of our Rabbeim. In the US, most people from that generation were working to support their families. How many people were there who could actually teach children in learning? Most people couldn’t learn by themselves, never mind teach others! Yeshivas had to search for someone when they had an open position, and very often, the people they’d find, while they were talmidei chachomim, didn’t know much about chinuch.

    Baruch Hashem, that has changed! There are many more people who know how to learn! We also have classes now to teach people about chinuch, to properly prepare them to become a Rebbe. When a yeshiva has an opening, there are often dozens of applicants, and the yeshiva can choose the best mechanchim to fill its positions!

    So the question is, what about the Rabbeim who have been doing it for years? Some of them never had the training, and may not be as “good” as some of the younger, newer, Rabbeim. Yet we must have derech eretz for them, and hakaras hatov for their years of service. They can’t be pushed out!”

    Just from my own experiences, I can tell you that many of the Rabbeim I had as a kid were not very good mechanchim. I’ve been through tough times myself, and others have had worse – Feif Un has told me things he went through (and he’s posted some of them here) which are terrible!

    But I can tell you that when I went to a yeshiva like Darchei Torah, where R’ Bender carefully chooses every Rebbe, the difference was like night and day. The warmth I felt from every Rebbe there was amazing! I formed relationships I still cherish to today. I am in constant contact with many of my Rabbeim from there. This is the value of a good mechanech.

    The little I know

    Rabbi Bender is truly a pioneer in the field, and he is unfortunately an exception to the rule. There are several programs to train mechanchim. However, there is nary a yeshiva or girls school that requires such training as a qualification for the job. The nearly universal feature of today’s chinuch is that it is geared to the slightly better than average student, and those students who struggle are left to their own to somehow manage. Most schools put the responsibility on the parents to provide additional tutoring or services.

    One of the telling signs that a mechanech is good is whether former talmidim maintain connection years later. I have noticed an increase in responsible chinuch, with training and expenditure of effort to build skills, plus the individual connection between rebbe and talmid. But this still remains the minority, and that is shameful and dangerous.


    People in chinuch don’t care.

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