Regarding my article posted on TLS, I would like to add, that if you see the rebbe is incapable of adequately teaching these three steps, which are the foundation of all Torah learning – kriah, translation, and comprehension – you are obligated to get him professionally training to help him improve his skills.
If the rebbe is still not producing successful students capable of reading and translating the texts on their own and instead, depend on their parents supplementing their studies by hiring tutors, then the rebbe must be replaced. The come-back that the classes are too large and that not every child can be adequately reached rings hallow. As does the excuse that the rebbe must be kept on because he must not be deprived of his parnassa. As to the latter, the yeshiva might consider re-assigning him to another position – perhaps teaching one-on-one. If that’s not possible, perhaps the school can work with the community to provide him with other employment to compensate.
This phenomenon, wherein rebbeim are being kept on for years while students’ lack of success is being blamed on the students or their parents, has got to stop. Over the years, many parents have shared with me their frustration at not being able to criticize the rebbe’s teaching skills; they are afraid that the menahel will tell them to place their child elsewhere. In smaller communities, where there is only one community yeshiva, parents have a harder time with this. For them, there is no other alternative yeshiva to consider. I’ve seen many children go off the derech because the yeshiva they are attending does not meet their academic needs.
As a society, we have become too politically correct: Especially when it comes to our educational system, parents are being effectively silenced. As one veteran mechanech told me, parents learn quickly to “be smart, not right.” How unfortunate for us all; these parents’ observations, in fact, might benefit all our students, even the successful ones.
Just because a rebbe has been teaching for 30 years doesn’t mean he knows how to teach. I see this all the time. Whereas, my courses on upgrading skills generally take from between four to twelve hours, I’ve found that when working with maggidei shiur the amount of time I need increases considerably, since there is so much deprogramming to do.
If the foundation is weak, the student will not only suffer throughout his school years, he might never be able to learn gemara on his own. Unfortunately, this issue has evolved into a global crisis in the Torah world today. I know this from personal experience; I’ve worked with many such cases from all over the world.
The rebbe assumes tremendous responsibility for the well-being of his students: he can either make or break them. As his menahel, you are entrusted to make sure that the students are assigned teachers capable of helping them succeed The culture within the school must change: rebbeim must be held accountable for their students’ lack of success. This can include quick, on-pressured testing every time a new skill is introduced, as well as acknowledgment that rebbeim’s teaching skills should be upgraded on a regular basis .Even the most successful rebbeim can benefit from this.
Fixing this problem will result, with Hashem’s help, in many more satisfied students pursuing Limud Torah with joy and happiness, which is certainly mechanchims’ ultimate goal.
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Endorsed by HaRav HaGaon Rabbi Mattisyahu Salomon shlita mashgiach of Lakewood.