What makes Jewish education different then "secular education"? We both have classes, right? We both have subjects we teach, right? So what makes it different?
There are many valuable lessons we can learn from secular education that can help our efforts in Jewish education. At the same time, by equating them, we are lowering the value of Judaism, both in our minds, as educator, and in the minds of our students. Is Jewish education all about simply teaching subjects to our students? Is teaching math the same as teaching Halacha? Yes, they both have rules to follow, but do they share the same value? This is not to say math or other secular subjects are not important. They are and have their own inherent value, but as Jewish educators (which we all are, even if you are not a formal Jewish educator), Torah classes should be different, because it is the Torah and its tradition that make us different as a people.
The question is, in what way is your Jewish education environment (home or classroom) different? Whether in your home or your classroom, how do you transmit a love and passion for Judaism so that your children or students will want to continue with the path you so badly want for them?
Stay tuned for the next post, where I will discuss some ways I have changed my classroom to help the Torah subjects in my students' days have a different feel.