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December 13, 1985 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-12-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, December 13, 1985

SHABOT
SHALOM
FROM YOUR FRIENDLY

off' if they came with some fer-
vor when they first enrolled.
The problem is not an easy
one to resolve. It is not a prob-
lem localized in any one city or
any one section of the country.
It is universal, with a slight
variation from community to
community depending on local
conditions and what the com-
munity can offer Jewish
teachers.
Serious study should take
place among the leadership of
the Jewish Community. The
problem will not fade away and
can only be resolved by a con-

Most people who are
teaching (in Jewish
schools) are doing
so as a source of
supplementary
income .. .

certed national effort. My intent
is to submit ideas that can be
explored.
The most obvious suggestion
is to raise salaries. By increas-
ing salaries, we could retain
those few professional educators
who are still left in the field and
hopefully stem the tide from
Jewish teaching. Not only must
we pay a living wage, but we
must be prepared to pay an even
better than living wage.
But money alone is not the
answer. Educators must earn a
meaningful livelihood like any
one else, but it is not the salary
alone that attracts them. It is
the opportunity to teach and to
help someone that makes all the
trouble worthwhile. In the
words of our Talmudic Sages:
"Good teachers want to teach
even more than their charges
want to learn.".
Because of the great responsi-
bility they bear, their position
in the community should be rec-
ognized and appreciated.
Teachers today are regarded
with little respect. Perhaps this
is directly related to the salary
they earn. In our society, we
measure success by how much a
person earns. Since teachers
don't earn very much, they are
considered as not having suc-
ceeded.
This must be rectified by
enhancing the prestige of the
teacher and the profession. The
social status of the teacher must
be elevated to a respectable
level in the community.
For example, a special effort
could be made to offer educa-
tional personnel special
privileges in Jewish religious
and educational institutions,
such as a reduction in fees or
complimentary memberships.
Jewish business establishments
can be encouraged to offer edu-
cational personnel discounts.
The community-at-large should
be inspired to befriend the

teachers and invite them into
their social circles.
Housing is usually a major
problem for people who are re-
locating. A special fund should
be established to lend new per-
sonnel money for a down pay-
ment to buy a place of residence.
Perhaps the community could go
one step further and even pur-
chase a building, in order to
rent apartments to educators at
reasonable rentals.
Besides the salary scale of
teachers, the fringe' benefit pro-
gram should be upgraded to
make it competitive with other
fields. More hours could be of-
fered so as to warrant a full sal-
ary. This can be accomplished
by rescheduling the school hours
so that teachers can handle
more than one class. Also,
schools can cooperate with each
other to combine positions and
share a teachenor a principal.

.

Many former teachers now
live in school areas. This is a

great source of teachers that
should be vigorously tapped.
They should be sought out and
helped to update their profes-
sional status.
Schools might look into the
possibility of larger classes staf-
fed by a professional teacher
and an aide rather than divid-
ing the class in two and ending
up with a higher cost and less
competent teachers. A well qual-
ified teacher could handle more
students if given assistance; at
the same time, the aide could be
getting invaluable training and
could eventually evolve into a
good teacher capable of handling
the class.
Perhaps the most far reaching
plan is to encourage more stu-
dents to enter the Jewish
teacher training schools. And
the teacher training schools
should make provisions to at-
tract the better candidates.
Communities could be
encouraged to offer scholarships
to potential students, with the
expectation that they return to
the community as teachers for a
certain number of years.

Every Jewish community
should establish a commission of
professional and laypeople to
look into the most feasible way
the community should proceed
to resolve this lack of qualified
Jewish teachers.

Rabbi Menachem Raab lives in
North Miami Beach, Fla.

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