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Supporting Teachers to Become Soulful Educators

Published in Jim Joseph Foundation Guest Blog by Jeff Amshalem
Posted on August 22, 2018

What will you be trying to do teshuvah for this year? Raise your hand if it is the same as last year. Raise the other hand if it was the same as the year before that. Raise the other hand if…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got all my hands up. But was there anything you have succeeded in changing? Based on my own experience and my time as a teacher, I would guess that when real change happened, some combination of the following things was present for you: an emotional investment in changing, a deep and sustained process of reflection, and/or a personal model of the way you wanted to be.

Ayeka Soulful Education tries to provide these things for educators and the students they serve, so that education becomes not only about information but transformation. Most educators already share this goal; sometimes, however, our educational environments can do more to support this work as well. “Covering material,” for example, can take precedent over transformation. Reminiscent of Ramban’s famous claim that one can be “a scoundrel within the limits of the law,” a student can be a star without ever actually becoming one bit more of a mensch. Worse, they may not even realize that Jewish learning was supposed to be so much more. Is such a student really a success? Were his or her teachers?

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