by Brody Smith, Beth Tikvah-B’nai Jeshurun

This is the second year I have volunteered to help with students in religious school. I have helped teachers by supporting them when they need classroom material or if they need assistance helping kids understand the lesson better. The kids, however, are the ones who need their Madrichim the most. Helping can be a friendly conversation or making sure they are calm and respectful during the teacher’s instructions. If they need any type of support, they can be sure that they always have me to turn to.

One helpful strategy that I learned in the TAP program and have used is calming down highly energetic students. I allowed one disruptive student, who seemed to need a break, to take a walk with me. I told him how this was not fair to the teacher and the other students trying to learn. I asked him to say why he was acting this way and what he could do to end it. He said he felt the lesson was boring, so I asked what I could do to help him concentrate more. He said he could use something to play around with, so I offered him a fidget.

One last strategy I have learned from TAP and have used is to be empathetic and understand a student’s point of view. I have found out that having a nice tone in your voice and understanding their problems goes a long way with a student with a challenge. Showing the children true compassion and letting them know I care establishes relationships with them.

TAP has taught me strategies that I will continue to use moving forward as I work in the religious school. I had a great time learning at every meeting how I could help my students.