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6 Shevat 5783 – Hashem our Teacher

Januari 28, 2023

Testing the Children

It’s time again to “tease” the children in my class with the necessary tests. Who has progressed in reading, who in math, who can handle heavier learning and who needs repetition?

It is always an exciting time for the children, but also for the teachers. For was the subject matter offered in such a way that the children understood it, what could the teacher have done differently or better. Testing is an exciting time for everyone.

Type of Children

With us, the practice is to test the children individually, so each pupil comes to me for the necessary assignments and questions.

There are students who come to me but can barely keep their attention on the test. They see and hear everything around them. Their test I often don’t even have to score…the result is self-explanatory.

There are students who find it exciting and try their hardest. They look at me all the time with questioning eyes: “am I doing it right”? They are pupils who want to score well “because that makes teacher happy”. Their results are average.

Then there are pupils who cannot wait and will show what they can do. With full concentration, they focus on the task. These are the pupils who also pay attention during the lessons and work mainly because they want to improve themselves in reading, arithmetic and so on.

And there was that one remarkable child….he got mad at me. Seeing that all the children had already taken a test and he hadn’t. Why did he want the test? Because he knew it would give him my unconditional attention.

Hashem our Teacher

Hashem also tests us in life. Can we deal with disappointments, can we deal with poverty, with wealth, with the challenges of life.

There are those who are completely absorbed in the material world, enjoying everything around them, but without seeing and taking advantage of the challenges, the exercises and the opportunities to develop themselves and to improve the world. When they are tested, they often don’t even notice.

Then there are religious people who when given a test, they know reasonably well how to deal with a test. Do they find it exciting because are they doing well, are they doing it in a way HaShem likes? Is it good…I receive….

And there are those who face a test confidently, come what may. These are the people who practise in everyday life. Looking for opportunities to practise chesed, to pay attention to their speech, to show gratitude. They are training their spiritual muscles. As soon as a test comes, they are confident and rise to the challenge.

What to Do With the Results?

Children who continue to hear and see everything, and become absorbed in their material world I can best help by limiting this world for them. They need less stimuli, a quiet place to practice. For instance, HaShem a rich person who is completely absorbed in his material world and has no regard for the test of giving to others may have his wealth reduced.

Children who want to score well for the sake of the teacher, I want to motivate them to learn for themselves. I will give them challenges in which they discover that they need those “difficult sums” and not me. Thus, there may be those who pray to HaShem out of habit because He finds it “pleasant”. HaShem can then put people in a situation where they experience that they are praying because they need it, because it gives them support.

Children who come full of self-confidence and put up a good performance can get harder assignments because they grow from that. Will HaShem can also give a person more difficult challenges in life, not to tease them – as can sometimes be experienced – but because you grow spiritually from it.

Children who come full of self-confidence and don’t have good results are given easier assignments, apparently as a teacher I didn’t assess their ability properly. The latter fortunately does not occur at HaShem. He knows exactly what we can handle.

Recalling the child who got angry because he had not yet had a turn for the test. If we receive no tests in life…then it is time to get “angry” (on ourselves), and seek His attention.

יְהֹוָה֮ צַדִּ֢יק יִ֫בְחָ֥ן וְ֭רָשָׁע וְאֹהֵ֣ב חָמָ֑ס שָֽׂנְאָ֥ה נַפְשֽׁוֹ׃

The L-RD seeks out/test the righteous man,

but loathes the wicked one who loves injustice. Tehillim 11:5

The Teacher

As written above. For me as a teacher, the children’s testing period is also always exciting. Did I do well, should I have offered different material, asked different questions, tried a different approach? How could I have helped them further.

Hashem is Omniscient…and yet would there be some form of tension with Him too? Would man be able to administer the test. Could Chava leave the fruit hanging, could Noah’s generation or Sodom and Gomorrah change their ways could you “readers” properly perform the tests He gives you? I know, the above is looking at HaShem in a human way. But somewhere, I hope that like me, looking at a child passing his test, He thinks “top he just did a great job”. * The above, of course, is not the whole story of education. The end result is not the most important, but also whether the child is doing his best with the possibilities and abilities and possible limitations he has. I wanted to make the link here between tests given in education and those we also experience in our lives.

By Angelique Sijbolts

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