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Dec 26, 2019

striving for educational success

Rebbetzin Koledetsky, the daughter of Rav Chaim Kanievsky and seen as the successor of Rabbanit Batsheva Kanievsky a"h, has written a letter to school principals urging them to lighten the load of their students and go easier on the testing. She says that lessening the pressure from school and the intense testing would have a positive effect on the increasing number of suicides in the Haredi community.

The Rebbetzin explains that many parents come to her crying about their children who are trembling from stress and have suffered psychological trauma. She says recently this has become a plague, meaning it is increasing greatly. She says it is both boys and girls suffering, below the age of 18, yougn men from wonderful families learning in the best yeshivas, and young women who are talented, pretty, righteous and modest all suffering. They are not sleeping at night, have no appetite to eat, dealing with tremendous fears, not able to daven, not able to focus, and they end up sleeping all day long.

Rebbetzin Koledetsky suggests:
1. giving less homework
2. lower the stress around tests and give test prep questions form which the test will be given
3. easier tests so everyone can do better
4. give good grades, be more encouraging and positive and supportive
5. not to punish girls whoc oem to class a few minutes late
6. not to punish girls who don't come to class on rainy days
7. increase praise for girls who behave well
8. increase praise for the parents as much as possible
9. be considerate of girls whose families are going through tragedies or situations of distress or simchas.

 She says the goal is that the boys and girls should not go crazy from distress and parents should not have to take pills to calm down - the entire house should not be suffering in pain from school.

(the letter can be seen below)
source: Actualic

I am no educator and have no strong opinion on what is the right or wrong way to go about this issue. Some of the schools (many perhaps?), especially among the girls which have more rigorous testing and educational goals but also among the boys yeshiva ketanas there can be a lot of pressure to learn more and not waste even a moment even without the testing systems that the girls have, really do put a lot of pressure on the students. Sometimes, and some levels of, pressure can be a good thing. We want our kids to succeed and do well, but we should not want them to break under the pressure. Schools need to create an environment of striving for success and the pressure can help in that regard, but they should not overdo it. And parents should look for schools that are appropriate for the child and not just send the kid to a school because it is known as "the best" - the parents should know if the child can handle and thrive under a school with an intense program or if the child needs something a little, or a lot, more toned down.

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