The Right Rebel

31 Dec

I was discussing the concept of the past with my students.


I opened the floor for comments on how my students think they should perceive and respond to the past. I called on one student and she said.


“Umm…is this my perspective or the Jewish perspective?”


She said this lightly, with a wry smile, but she was serious.


I asked her where she thought her perspective diverged from Jewish thought. She responded robotically,


“I’m supposed to learn from my past, to enable myself to do mitzvos and maasim tovim to serve Hashem better than before.”


I laughed and told her they taught her well.


“And what do you think?” I prompted…and she responded with an answer that actually matched up with the “Jewish” perspective without the “do mitzvos and serve Hashem” part.


The learning, and having your past motivate and form a person made sense to her. She just rejected the religion because she had an automated response. She knew what she was supposed to say and think, but then she thought on her own, and she was so adverse to the indoctrination, she didn’t even see that her own independent thought was aligned with the rote response.


What are we going to do with education system?


She’s a good kid. She’s smart enough to realize she’s being indoctrinated, but not wise enough to realize that while indoctrination isn’t a good thing, the ideas it promotes may be.


So now she thinks she’s a secret rebel, when all she really is, is right.




Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Jewish, Teaching


Tags: , , , , , , ,

8 responses to “The Right Rebel

  1. The Jewish Side

    December 31, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Interesting, but she might not think she’s a rebel just because she thinks there’s two perspectives.

    But it’s true a lot of times we separate the two thinking their different, when they are all the same concepts. And so often the stuff we are taught come out by rote that we don’t even process what we are taught and realize what it’s saying.

  2. The Jewish Side

    December 31, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Did you see this post? Religon Aside?

  3. amayala

    January 1, 2009 at 2:55 am

    You know what? I kind of have the same issues when dealing with my students in the English classroom of a Christian school. I have an incredibly bright student who also prides herself on being a nonconformist and a “rebel,” but again she fails to see how some of her views are very much in line with what some of our “religious instruction” would promote. Interesting that you are experiencing the same thing that I am.

  4. EndOfWorld

    January 1, 2009 at 4:02 am

    btw, if you’re interested, I did a guest post on TRS. It’s here

  5. Mikeinmidwood

    January 1, 2009 at 5:31 am

    There is an origination for that jewish perspective. It came from a person who also thought along those lines and put it in with mitzvos and maasim tovim. Really its a logicall thought. so much for being a rebel.

  6. Rafi

    January 5, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    “What are we going to do with education system?”. Isn’t that what your job is as her teacher to help her to grow? To try to understand her perspective on the Jewish perspective. To realize that this is what her parents and her teachers are doing as well.

  7. tooyoungtoteach

    January 5, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Rafi: I do do that, and I did show her how her thoughts weren’t so off base.

    For some reason students aren’t adverse and actually like hearing hashkafa from their English teachers, and shut down when their Hebrew teachers start talking.
    I definitley put it to my advantage, but what are we going to do about the educational system that the students react that way to their Hebrew teachers in the first place

  8. harry-er than them all

    January 23, 2009 at 6:19 am

    how about explaining to her that she’s not a rebel, she’s just thinking independently. if she thinks she’s a rebel, she might do just that


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