By Laura Seymour
The end of school is fast approaching. Kids are excited and so are the teachers. However, before school ends we must take the time to thank our teachers, who give so much to our children. Here are a few texts to think about as you thank your teachers:
• Atah chonen l’adam da’at, um’lamed le’enosh binah. Chaneinu me’itkha de’ah binah v’haskel. Barukh atah Adonai chonen hada’at. You graciously endow us with intelligence, teaching wisdom and understanding. Grant us knowledge, discernment and wisdom. Praised are You, G-d, who graciously grants intelligence.
• Blessing for your teacher: May you be blessed and strengthened as you have blessed and strengthened your students. My you have peace, grace, kindness, mercy, long life and everything you need. (from Kaddish D’Rabbanan)
• A new word of Torah which comes from the mouth of a teacher ascends to the heavens and adds glory to G-d’s crown. — Zohar
• One who is concerned about the coming year, plants wheat;
one who is concerned about the coming years, plants trees;
one who is concerned about the coming generations, teaches young people.
For those teachers out there, here is a prayer for you. I teach many classes as well as run around doing a million other things. Before I enter a class, I must clear my mind of all the other things and focus on my students. I use this blessing to help me:
May my love for teaching continually inspire me to enrich and develop my skills. May I have the strength of heart, the purpose of mind and the gentleness of soul to educate, nurture and guide those in my care. May the daily challenges I face become opportunities for personal growth. As I share knowledge and experience, may I remain open to continually learn from my students.
Remember, school may be over for the year, but learning never stops. Make summer a time to learn something new and different.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.