In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 10, 2005 / 1 Adar I, 5765

Assessing a ‘quality teacher’

By Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg

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Research shows that the effect of a poor teacher on a child's progress can lasts up to three years. Many parents judge — and take issue with — the quality of a teacher based on their child's happiness. A seasoned educator considers if this is a true or fair barometer. The answer is important, because parental action can potentially impact the learning process in its fundamental stages.

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Two parents are discussing their sons' schooling. One uses words like "fabulous" and "thrilled" to describe his child's opinion of the teacher. The other father, in total surprise, responds that his boy is miserable. Two children, two responses — but the same teacher. Possible? Certainly.

Research shows that the effect of a poor teacher on a child's progress can lasts up to three years. Many parents judge — and take issue with — the quality of a teacher based on their child's happiness. But is this a true or fair barometer? The answer is important, because parental action can potentially impact the learning process in its fundamental stages.

While qualities determined essential as a result of research will be explored, we shall see in the final analysis being an effective teacher boils down to one important quality.

Numerous studies have investigated the characteristics of the worst and best teachers. I will now share several studies that took a look at the question of quality teachers and will highlight how the most critical factor is missing from all the studies and research.

Before reading on, though, take a moment to reflect on your experiences in your own education. Who were the best teachers you ever had? What were the characteristics that separated the mediocre or bad teachers from those that were outstanding?

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In a recent study of adults, participants were asked to describe the qualities of their favorite teacher. The overwhelming results of this study revealed three common characteristics. These teachers were firm (strict), they were fair (not necessarily equal) and they gave their students self-confidence with the underlying message of "you can succeed".

Writing in "Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching", author Charlotte Danielson outlined measures relating to quality teaching. They were organized into four domains, each with several components. These measures are:

  • Planning and Preparation (Knowledge of content and pedagogy, demonstrating knowledge of students)

  • The Classroom Environment (Creating a classroom environment of respect and rapport in both student-teacher and student-student interactions, setting expectations for learning and achievement, managing classroom procedures, managing student behavior)

  • Instruction (Communicating clearly and accurately in oral and written directions and procedures, encouraging student participation, providing feedback to students in a timely fashion that is accurate, substantive, constructive, and specific)

  • Professional Responsibilities (Communicating with families to provide information and growing and developing professionally in terms of enhanced content knowledge and pedagogical skill and service to the profession)

In 2000, Stanford University professor Linda Darling- Hammond conducted a 50-state survey and determined that the following factors are related to teacher quality: Verbal ability, content knowledge, enthusiasm for learning, flexibility, creativity, and adaptability.

But how can a parent evaluate these attributes and characteristics to determine quality? You will probably not find all of the following characteristics in every quality teacher, but most of them will be evident. Quality teachers are:

  • Caring and empathetic, respected by parents and students alike,

  • Hard workers who gear their teaching to getting their message through to most of their students most of the time,

  • Have a sense of humor and patience,

  • Contact parents and return phone calls promptly,

  • Are willing to try new ideas, no matter who suggests them (including parents and students),

  • Take the time to sit down with a frustrated student and explain a difficult lesson and stay after school to allow students to make up work,

  • Love their subject and want their students to also love it,

  • Are mentors who "stand on their heads" to discover ways to get kids to feel good about themselves and about learning,

  • Try many approaches to help weaker students gain self-esteem and advanced students learn leadership skills and reinforce concepts,

  • Are positive and flexible,

  • Establish classroom rules and see that they are enforced all the time with everyone,

  • Never humiliate a child in front of his peers, but address his problems privately with respect and dignity for the child,

  • Are fair and objective and don't hold grudges,

  • Never intimidate or control or make meaningless threats, and

  • Have a smile available for every student who really needs nurturing because they value the individual more than they value the subject matter.

These are the teachers that shine. There are many of them and as a society we are so much better because of them.

However, the above list is only a list of building blocks of a good teacher. No matter how they're stacked, they need strongly cured mortar to create a solid structure that will endure all the storms that blow during the average teacher's career. Of all the criteria listed above, there is one critical aspect that is missing. A teacher can have all the above and yet be a poor teacher if they are missing this one quality. What is the mortar that holds it all together?

The Talmudic sages provide some clear direction of what behaviors a teacher should not demonstrate. Whether it comes to student supervision or being attentive to the class, we have clear instructions of what to do and what to avoid.

In helping us define the "quality teacher" we may want to review a Talmud passage in tractate Baba Basra (8:). The Talmud relates a discussion between Rav and Rav Shmuel bar Shilas. When Rav met Rav Shmuel in a garden, he asked him if he left his profession (as a teacher). Rav Shmuel responded and said, "I left the students thirteen years ago, but I still am always thinking about them" — one quality but one very crucial one: Keeping the child at the forefront of our thoughts.

When you hear, for example, of a teacher that has a list of names of his students pasted on a page in his siddur (prayerbook) so that he can include them in his prayers, you know that he is a quality teacher. When you care for the student you will do whatever is necessary to create success. Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe observes that the prime ingredient for a successful teacher is for the him to love his students.

Love or "care" — call it what you want — but you will know and sense when it is present.

The deciding factor for knowing if your child's teacher is of quality is not dependent on whether or not the child likes the the teacher. On the contrary, the student may like a teacher for the wrong reasons and it may have nothing to do with his quality. The question is: Does the teacher like the child?

A teacher who loves his students will surely be of quality and there is a chance that the students may like him, even before they reach adulthood.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg is dean of Torah Academy in Minneapolis, MN. and a columnist for Yated Ne'eman. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

When 'gifted' children have problems

© 2005, Yated Ne'eman