A moment before we go back to school, here are ten tips that would be useful to remember, but don’t forget the most important one: “Don’t be bound by principles – educate a lad according to his way.”
By way of introduction:
Rabbi Alexander Bin-Nun, a master educator and superintendent of the Chabad educational network in Israel, once presented to the Lubavitcher Rebbe a compilation of the “10 most important principles of education.” The Rebbe reviewed the paper and then responded: “The most important principle is missing! The one that ‘In education one mustn’t be bound by principles'”.
The Ten Commandments (that would work with most students…)
I. I am your student who will take you out of your previous boundaries. Educating me will be your greatest learning experience.
II. Do not favor other students over me. Even if I am a challenging child or teen, give me exclusive attention in your heart as if I am your only student.
III. Do not say my name in vain. I know also teachers need to vent, but please, when relating though moments to fellow colleagues, leave my name out; it won’t help you and it may harm me.
IV. I am not lazy, I don’t mind doing school work and even homework. But I need to rest and spend time with my family and friends. Please respect my breaks and recess time.
V. Respect me. I am not your father or mother, but I deserve to be respected for what I am, a human being who looks up to you and wishes to learn from you. Allow me to respect you as a teacher by respecting me as a student.
VI. While I trust you to never hurt my body, I beg of you: please don’t kill my soul. even if I act up or am slow to understand, never shame me in public; don’t kill my youth and my creativity.
VII. I am in a unique relationship with you, please be faithful to me and let me trust you with my secrets and thoughts.
VIII. Do not “kidnap” me; make an effort to make school a place I want to be at, not a place in which I feel I want to run from.
IX. Be honest; I am new to the world and unfairness and deception make me boil. Stick to your class rules, treat me fairly and remember: I will perhaps learn more from that which you admit you don’t know than from what you do.
X. Don’t be jealous of me. we’re both not perfect, and I may even have strengths you don’t, let them flourish and even if I exceed you, be proud – your care and devotion helped me realize my unique potential.