I have more than my share of educational degrees and consider myself a lifelong learner.
I have not the slightest idea what I learned in Third Grade.
That is not a slight at my Third Grade Teacher, whoever she may have been. I am quite confident I had an excellent Third Grade Teacher and learned all that I should have in Third Grade. But I have no recollections of the experience.
In Jewish Education, we speak often of the necessity for “creating Jewish memories” – that layering memorable Jewish experiences one on top of the other leads to deeper identification, higher affiliation, and greater participation in ritual and practice. The science of how that happens, of course, is somewhat inexact. No one knows the exact combination of experiences required for the desired outcome – probably because it is entirely idiosyncratic. For me, it was some combination of summer camp, strong peer identification, supportive parents, Israel experiences, positive supplemental school experience, etc. that has guided me down my Jewish journey. [I strongly (hopefully not preachily!) suggested in my last blogpost that the holiday of Sukkot represented one such powerful opportunity for creating lasting Jewish memories and have been pleased to see many students and their families enjoying the holiday.]
But the roller coaster of Jewish holidays reaches climax this weekend as we move from Sukkot to Simchat Torah, after which we’ll come back down to earth and the reality of full weeks of teaching and learning. And with that will come the weighty expectations of moving each child along his or her own unique path of potential – there is serious work ahead…
This school does not belong to me. It belongs to us all and requires a shared vision to successfully accomplish all its hopes and dreams. Putting some of these themes together along with my ongoing desire to juice the level of interactivity, leads me to ask a series of semi-connected questions to which I encourage you to respond in whatever manner suits you best. If you are ready to dip your toe into the blogosphere and respond right here, please do. If that seems too public for you, please feel free and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if even that seems intimidating and you are part of our local community, feel free and actually talk to me! (I still do believe in face-to-face interaction!) I will report back on your collective wisdom and how it can and should shape the direction our school takes moving forward.
What are the educational memories (good, bad or otherwise) that contributed to make you the kind of learner you turned out to be?
What are the Jewish memories (good, bad or otherwise) that have shaped your Jewish journey thus far?
What memories do you wish for your children?
How can (our) school help contribute to making the memories you wish for your children?
I look forward to hearing your voice…