“Tell it to them, sing it to them, read it to them, have them hear the words of Torah, and then try to explain it, and talk about it, and see what they understand about it.” - A wise 4th grader. We're studying the Shema this unit. We're working through the V'ahavta paragraph, and zooming into the line, "Teach [Torah] to your children and speak of them [the commandments]," this week. That gave us the opportunity to explore how we teach and learn, and what our responsibilities are there.
What are the qualities of a good teacher?
- They keep everyone safe.
- They are good at rephrasing, and they never give up.
- They help kids get unstuck.
- They turn a boring thing into something fun.
- They make complicated things more simple.
- They make time for everyone, and give everyone a turn.
- They make sure everyone understands a thing before moving on.
- They teach tricks to make things easier.
- They prepare you for your next steps in education.
- They are nice and feed me snack.
- They let me play with all kinds of things.
- They bring me to gym, music, and art.
- They are smart like a lawyer.
- They have to know about things.
How do we know when we’re done teaching a thing?
- When the student can teach it to someone else.
- When you die you stop being a student/teacher, because you’re always a student/teacher!
- You’re never done, there’s no way to know when you’re done.
Shema says, “Teach it to your children”, but what if you don’t have children?
- It is for the future!
- If your sibling had kids, you could teach them, or kids at shul, or other places.
- You can teach yourself.
- You can go back to school and learn it.
- You can teach your siblings.
- You can teach other people’s children.
What if a parent doesn’t know Torah?
- They can go on Youtube and learn it.
- Or they can just not obey the commandment because they’re not Jewish.
- Or they can do what all of our parents did and send them to a place that will teach them Torah, like Makom Community.
How are we supposed to teach it?
- Tell it to them, sing it to them, read it to them, have them hear the words of Torah, and then try to explain it, and talk about it, and see what they understand about it.
- Read it to them.
- Speak it to them.
Why do we teach it?
- Because you want us to have a better life.
- So we don’t get killed by God, because even though one of the commandments is don’t kill people, God kills people.
- So we can learn Torah.
- If you teach Torah you’re learning about your history so you can connect to yourself and your ancestry and you’re also learning about God so you can connect better with God.
- It is something you have to do, because you were commanded to.
- You can connect with younger Jews, and they connect to older Jews.
- Because we are a place with a doorway that has the Shema in it.
Who gets to be a teacher?
- All of us....if we want to.
- We all have the opportunity.
- We are teachers now because we teach all the time, even when we are just teaching each other our names.
- Sometimes we (the older kiddos) teach the younger kids.
- People who know things, I know lots of things.
Your kiddos do know lots of things, and we love learning from them every single week. We love how we all get to learn from each other at Makom Community. Stay tuned next week, as we continue to unpack Shema.