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Running on Jewish Time

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Miss Shtein and Neon Green Sheitels

[Note: a bit of nostalgia incurred by my little sister's high school production]

How many of our high school selves have eyed some poor seminary girl of a teacher with the intention of creating another recess in our 10 hour school day? The kind of teacher that gets parsha or biur tefilla or perkei avot, one of those fake short Friday classes. They are so idealistic, enthusiastic and blithely throwing themselves straight into the maw of jaded teenage indifference

Let's call her Miss Shtein.

It wasn't that we didn't like Miss Shtein, on the contrary, we always felt sort of sorry for her, like a cute chipmunk in the path of an 18 wheeler. Just not sorry enough to actually do any work or let Miss Shtein get through an entire lesson.
"Oh, Oh Miss Shtein, what if I want to write my own shmonei esrei?"
"Miss Shtein, ummm...... so like, G-d..... doesn't He already know what I mean, so, like, why say it?"
"What if Mashiach doesn't come, Miss Shtein, we will all....like, die?"
The reactions varied, some tried to brazen it through, kept teaching through all the interruptions, which only meant that we eventually wandered out of class. Some gave us mussar shuzzen about kavod hatorah and ahavat hashem and all that sort of thing, which were okay too, because they never showed up on any tests.

Some actually tried to answer the questions. That was cute.

Because, well, we never took Miss Shtein seriously. Wearing her cute little suits and perfect blow-dried hair, the perfect image of a bas melech, she had to say the things she did. We could see her face contort as she tried to dreg up the appropriate answer. The number of 'mamish's and 'emes's in direct proportion to the tightness of her hands as she almost winced at our questions. Because well, that's what the Torah says, right? We shouldn't have to ask that, right?...... Right?

So much for Miss Shtein. Then there was Mrs. Shtein

Mrs. Shtein was older and married and had no issues with irrelevant questions. She seemed almost revel in them. Her face glowed as suddenly a question designed to provoke a rant on bitachon and hashgacha became a discussion of the nature of miracles as exhibited by..... exactly what we happened to be learning.

Mrs. Shtein wore a neon green sheitel all of Adar. Mrs. Shtein got us interested enough to research and write an essay the midah of the Plishtim. Mrs. Shtein brought in a physics teacher to teach about light in order to understand what it meant that David Ha'Melech had multi-colored eyes.

Mrs. Shtein would smile at our canned responses and say 'That's so frum. Think girls! Someone give me a real answer.'

What did Mrs. Shtein had that Miss Shtein didn't?

Not the sort of stale emunah that hear and parrots. Real, Homemade, Fresh from the Oven of Intelligent Argument, Emunah.

The kind that is willing to question because they actually believe there is be an answer. So let's go find it.


  • my best friend's bais rivka class ate several of the miss shtein teachers alive, along with several softie mrs. shtein types, (you know the kind who know their stuff and know how to teach and have the emuna, but simply dont have enough backbone) when they got mean teachers instead of the nice ones, i can remember hearing about how evil they where.

    By Blogger Halfnutcase, at 7:18 AM, March 02, 2006  

  • To make sure I'm not a Miss Shtein, whenever girls ask random, heavy questions, I smile broadly and say "That is a great question" And then depending on time, I answer what I can, but tell them there is so muvh more to say. Cause there is!

    In the teacher's room one day, I mentioned how questions don't scare me, because even if I don't know the answers, I could probably find them out.(plus, questions are a sign of a thinking mind!) Another, older, teacher shuddered and said-"questions scare me!" Hmmmm...I guess everyone reacts differently.

    By Blogger Okee, at 4:46 PM, March 02, 2006  

  • Auuughhh! Why do you keep going back there I am graduated for over 10 years and those days still haunt me, they used to ask me what I was going to do after highschool and I answered A LOT OF THERAPY!!!

    By Blogger Littleredridinghoodie, at 7:17 PM, March 02, 2006  

  • LOL, I totally relate to these stories :-)

    When we had a 'real' teacher we respected her. Otherwise my class was notorious for making the right-out-of-sem teachers and even grown but too soft teachers cry.

    By Blogger FrumGirl, at 2:20 PM, March 03, 2006  

  • [smile]
    Mrs. Stein was not soft. She scared us day one. First choursed groan we were treated to a lecture on ingratitude that stunned us because, well, we hadn't ever comtemplated the idea that teachers put effort in.

    By Blogger Masmida, at 11:40 PM, March 04, 2006  

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