One of my friends is currently a senior in a kiruv HS. One of the recent assignments was to write an essay, and the subject was to write about what angers you. Being a senior, she decided she's going to be brutally honest, so she wrote about how her school angered her. Here goes:
We all enjoy a good laugh, but should others pay the price? Should people who many admire or look up to act friendly in front of the “little ones”, but ruthless when the young ones leave? Is it right for the person who preaches “awareness of language and words” to discuss other peoples’ issues or the preachers negative opinions on those who wish to gain her strengths? I find it very often in religious circles that women can act exceedingly welcoming, but the second their acquaintances turn their backs, the women always find something degrading to say. These are some things that make me extremely angry.
In school, I know a few teachers who seem to be very nice people, but looks can be deceiving. These teachers are always polite, they try to make the day fun and exciting and they try to gain the students’ trust in order to help the students grow spiritually. Unfortunately, I have witnessed these same teachers stroll into the teachers’ office and discuss their students’ actions and struggles outside of school. They would snarl at their struggles, as though they were pathetic, and share their opinions on the students’ parents, relatives (of whom they had never met) and of course the students themselves. These teachers discuss the students’ actions, reactions and what they think the students can possibly accomplish. Many don’t get much praise, unless they are willing to surrender to the teachers’ methods or preachings.
These teachers discuss girls’ friendship troubles and pass judgment on several other aspects of the students’ lives. For example, I clearly remember a few weeks ago a classmate of mine, strolled into an empty room where only a few girls were sitting and having a discussion with a teacher. As the girl walked in the teacher immediately asked the girl if there was something wrong. The teacher had clearly mistaken the girl’s exhaustion with unhappiness, as it was before the first period of the day. The teacher continued to question the girl about her upsetting facial expression despite the girl’s lengthy explanation that she was very tired from the lack of sleep she had received the night before. Suddenly the teacher asked “Did your parents yell at you yesterday? Did you do something that angered them, is that why you are upset?” The girl quickly responded “No.” “Did your brother come home drunk again? Is that why you are upset?” asked the teacher. The girls sitting in the room were so shocked by the rudeness and conclusions this teacher had reached that they began to yell at her. The teacher had embarrassed the girl tremendously by insisting that her brother was a drunk and that he continuously came home drunk. This student, who clearly admired the teacher, was so appalled by the Educator’s conclusions that she just walked out. The teacher had openly insisted that the student’s brother was a drunk in front of a few girls who had not known the student well enough to know that her brother was a very different kind of man.
Nothing could stop the teacher as she was determined to find a distortion in the girl’s family life. Her questions were absolutely invasive and offensive. Witnessing this, I could not help but think that the teacher was not at all interested in the girl’s mood, rather she wanted to find proof in this girl’s family to confirm her assumptions that the student’s in my school came from distorted and extremely dysfunctional families. My classmate was so embarrassed by the teacher’s opinions of the girl’s family, as they were clear in the questions she asked the student, that she felt obligated to explain to the other girls who were in the room at the time of the incident how kind and very normal her family was. I have never heard anyone ask another human being such outrageous things in my life. This event was only one example of that teacher’s backstabbing behavior. I can honestly say I have seen this teacher throw many students under the bus for very little reason and as shocking as this incident was, I should have not expected more from such an incredibly cold hearted human being. All this got me thinking even more about the teachers hired by the school’s administration.
I have come to realize that our school, of what should be Jewish studies and strengthening of moralities, is somewhat of a hypocritical organization. Although I do give the administration the benefit of the doubt (maybe they are blind to the stupidity that spews before them), many paid teachers in our school enter with an agenda and a mindset that the attending students come from “poor”, religion deprived and distorted homes. Unfortunately, these agendas reach and significantly supersede the importance of the studies these students are promised, such as History and Psychology, in the teachers’ eyes and class time discussions.
Despite my difficulty to understand how many of the teachers in my school get hired with the mindsets and opinions that they hold, I cannot tolerate it when they try to impose their beliefs and lifestyles onto other people. I completely understand the significance of teaching religion, culture and history of the Jewish people to the students; nevertheless, I do not agree with the method in which the teachers choose to teach the Jewish “Religion.” If anyone is to raise their voice in opposition to their preaching, that voice is immediately an offset personality, someone who is sadly trapped in the “secular world” under the influence of modern culture, television and or boy/drugs. Of course, such “obscene” aspects of the world we live in are immediately publicized as Idol worship and servitude to society and thus a sin before G-d.
A girl cannot like fashion that is not in accordance to a teacher’s modesty code (mind I do not mean wear, but admire) because that would define the student as conflicted, a potential “Apikorais.” A student also may not skip one of her weekly “Night Out” class gatherings to care for her sick brother because “this program would help your spiritual growth and for that, according to the Torah, you are allowed to defy your parents’ wishes and requests.” (Might I add that these gatherings many times result in a large waste of time as the group constantly melts in size and significance in speech agendas?) Personally, I am left to ponder what the agenda of (Insert SCHOOL NAME HERE) truly is. The administration seem to want to teach immigrant children of their cultural and religious backgrounds, as teachers try to impose their mindsets onto the students, of what the world should look like and how to categorize people who act in certain ways.
As a graduating student I am proud to say that I will be parting with a clear understanding of the cesspool, that many call (INSERT SCHOOL NAME HERE). From the two-faced creatures many look up to and call teachers, to the goal of many educators in encouraging students to defy their parents for petty thrills, this school remains a hypocrite to the public message they choose to impress; which is that it is a school that preaches Judaism to immigrant Jews or first generation American Jews. The current students may not recognize the influence they are under, but I hope they soon will see things as clearly as I do now. Although, this school has done some very beneficially influential deeds in the past, today I stand before the school confused of what message, memory or impression I should take with me as I move on from my education of ten years.