Monday, September 28, 2009

Dayenu-A Yom Kippur Thought

Today is Yom Kippur, so I went to temple for services. The rabbi's sermon focused on the hebrew word, דַּיֵּנוּ or roughly transliterated, dayenu (pronounced die-ay-new). Roughly translated dayenu means "it would have been enough for us". We sing this song during Passover, when we celebrate the exodus from Egypt. In the song, we basically say that if God hadn't have performed all of the 15 miracles of the exodus, but only one or two of them, it would have been enough. The rabbi spoke about saying dayenu to wanting more things. Ok, fair enough.
Obviously this has to relate to the classroom in some way. (You can learn more about the song here.) I think it relates to some blogs I've been reading lately about children not being challenged enough in self contained classrooms. And although the rabbi told us to say dayenu for accepting more responsibility at work, I had to think, oy gevalt, I hope there aren't many other teachers around to hear this. I think that sometimes, we think, oh a student with autism can look me in the eye and answer questions the first time I ask them. Dayenu. But is it really good enough? Could we not teach the child to initiate conversation? Or we have the student working on listening quietly and sitting still in a large group setting. Dayenu. Or can we teach them how to interact with their peers appropriately? (I understand the aforementioned goal is at times a precursor to teaching interaction but just don't stop there.)
So the point to all this is push past dayenu with your students. Don't settle for good enough because you'll be surprised with what your students will give you.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Couldn't agree with you more. Our students are capable of so much and I don't think we can ever settle. Thanks for your post.