During the past two years at Ida Crown Jewish Academy, I had many excellent teachers. However, one teacher in particular has left a deep impression on me. This teacher is Mrs. Jaffe. She has taught me Navi and Chumash for my freshman and sophomore years respectively. Mrs. Jaffe has inspired me to be a better person through her Torah, and acts of kindness and appreciation. I had a rough time acclimating in the beginning of high school, and Mrs. Jaffe’s was there, unknowingly offering me a fresh perspective.
I believe it was the rigorous demands of a dual curriculum in conjunction with a longer day and many new classmates that created a challenging transition into high school for me. At times during my freshman year, I felt depressed. I had a hard time adapting to the long days and getting dismissed after daylight hours. I stopped feeling like my happy-self and stopped trying so hard.
During the spring, Mrs. Jaffe set up a project for both freshman girls’ Navi classes. This project had different components, all of which required being creative to complete the assignment. Some of my classmates complained about the project and many of them asked for extensions on the due date. However, I did not mind the project – I was able to take the information that I was taught and add elements of creativity to it. After we completed the project, Mrs. Jaffe took note of my enthusiasm for completing the project, thanking me for my active cooperation. The fact that she noticed my work ethic and thanked me for my effort made me realize it was important that I try to change my disheartened attitude.
When I was a young child, I struggled more than my peers learning to read and write. My struggle was caused by a learning disability known as visual spatial. Over the years, I have worked on different reading and writing techniques to enable me to read and write normally. However, I do still have trouble in my Hebrew studies classes where I have a tendency to mirror write. To mirror write is to write words, sentences and even paragraphs backward. If you were to hold it up to a mirror, the words would reflect accurately. Multiple times during Mrs. Jaffe’s class I have written my notes or an assignment completely backward. Instead of asking what is wrong with me, she instead acknowledges that my brain is “very cool” to be able to write this way. She made me feel less insecure about my writing, and what I considered a disability, she considered a talent.
Some teachers simply teach the curriculum, nothing more, nothing less. Mrs. Jaffe is truly special: she is an excellent teacher, but she brings so much more to the table beyond her knowledge and teaching abilities. The way she thinks and acts is truly good. She sees the best in her students and all people. She is someone I try to emulate, just by simply being herself, she has taught me how to infuse spirituality and enthusiasm into Jewish living. I believe she really helps shape her students into who they become after high school. For that, she is truly the best teacher.
By Zoey Shulman, sophomore