בעזרת ה' יתברך-יום ד' פ' בשלח, י' שבט, שנת תשע"ט
Dear Mrs.…., Teacher in Bais Faiga Breslev
I received your letter, and read it with great caution.
I’m sending you an excerpt from the קונטרס "א גוטע לערערין"; a beautiful publication Maharosh wrote, with guidance, and practical ideas how to succeed with students. Read it carefully and absorb the message it conveys.
It is crucial for a girl’s school to have a competent principal who should stand at the helm, and make sure every aspect is taken care of. If a principal is absent, then the entire school will fall into disarray, and will not succeed.
We are all aware that the mother is the "עקרת הבית" – the foundation of the home; her natural instincts are to upkeep her home and create a pleasant atmosphere therein. When her home is disorderly, she will clean and organize it; if laundry accumulates, she will wash it and put it away; when the sink is piled high with dishes, she will rinse them; and so on with every other household chore; she knows the responsibility falls upon her shoulders.
When one enters a home, and the place is a mess; a jumble of clothing, toys, and dirt are strewn across the floor; stacks of dishes are teetering in the sink; the surfaces are buried with clutter; then it is obvious that something is amiss. Usually such a scenario points to one thing: the "עקרת הבית"- the mother is absent. And when the mother isn’t home, and there is no one to take charge or take an interest in the success of the home, then such a structure can not be called a ‘home’.
Similarly, in a girl’s school, there must be a principal who takes charge. She must take the responsibility for every detail, and ensure the school is running smoothly. As soon as she is missing, and neglects her duties; the entire school will feel the effects; the respect for her will diminish, and everything is downhill from there.
On the other hand a principal is only human, and can also make mistakes; one can have valid complaints, and if one feels the principal’s actions are not right, then they should clarify to her, how she can fix her error.
Before one contacts a principal about any aspect, whether it is about a mistake she made; or about a problem in the school; they must be aware of the acceptable way to do it. The first thing to keep in mind is, it must be done in a private setting. No one except the principal and teacher should be privy to the exchange. One should not discuss it with others outside the school, for ex. family, friends, or different teachers; this could Chas Vesholom destroy the school. If there are differences in opinion between the teacher and the principal; over different subjects, or different methods, on any which issue; it must stay confidential between teacher and principal only.
Therefore, when discussing an issue, it would be the smartest approach to discuss it once school has ended; either once everyone has left the school; or on the phone in the evening; in a respectful manner they will certainly find a way to even out their differences.
The second thing to keep in mind is: the conversation must be with love and understanding from both sides. The teacher should calmly explain her concern, her handle on the issue, and what she thinks the right solution is. The principal should listen and acknowledge the teacher’s frustration; explain her side of things and work together for a resolution which will benefit them both, and benefit the students.
However, if a hatred develops between the teacher and principal; it will affect every other aspect of their relationship. As soon as there is a ‘rebellion’ of the teachers against the principal, a teacher has criticism against the principal, and she incites the other teachers against her, this can destroy the entire school.
Children can sense very well if trouble is brewing; they can automatically feel if the relationship between the teacher and principal changes, and they can discern if there is hostility between the two. When children see a principal and teacher lack respect for each other; or a teacher has criticism or complaints against the principal; they will follow suit, and also stop respecting their teachers. If a teacher can be disrespectful to the principal, then they certainly can too.
Therefore, this is a critical foundation in Chinuch, and must be the first priority in any school. There must be a capable principal who fulfills her duties, and takes the full weight of responsibility for the school. If there are grievances, they must be discussed in a respectful and private fashion. Both the children and the teachers must respect the principal, and only in this manner will the school be successful. The children who graduate will be Ehrlich, well behaved, and healthy individuals.
I hope you accept this letter with positivity; show it to all the teachers.
May Hashem help you succeed in all your endeavors.