Teachers often write things in end-of-term reports like “progress has been made” or “there has been much growth.” Isn’t that what we want from our students when they leave our rooms? For them to grow as students and as people? 

As I reflect on my 13 years at SINAI Schools, I marvel at how much I have grown.

Being a teacher at SINAI has taught me what it means to grow as a professional and as a person. The same thing we expect and hope for our students.

SINAI was not my first rodeo; I was no rookie. I had over a dozen years of teaching experience, from full mainstream classes to self-contained classes to lead teacher and paraprofessional teams. I had seen it all and enjoyed every minute of my teaching experience. 

When day one at SINAI arrived, I walked into class with confidence and years of experience under my belt. I felt like I had this in the bag. By the end of day one, I felt like a fish out of water, certainly in over my head and out of my league. While I understood the demands of differentiated education, I had not fully grasped the scope of what is involved when every aspect - daily schedules, lessons, social activities, goals, and more - of each child’s school experience is uniquely tailored to meet their individual needs.

The expectations were overwhelming. But not for long…

I quickly discovered it is not just the demands that are different here, but the climate as well. The unique challenges many of our students contend with necessitate significantly more collaboration between teachers, therapists, and administrators than I had ever experienced. None of us alone has the expertise to meet the complex needs of our students. My colleagues give generously of their expertise to guide and mentor me so I can better myself as a teacher, and I get to do the same for them.     

My SINAI experience has broadened my understanding of what true partnership looks like, reminding me of one of my favorite life lessons from a book I treasure, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum, when you go out in the world hold hands and stick together. Here at SINAI, this is how we grow.

Come grow at SINAI.

By Nechama Wieder,
Teacher at Cross River SINAI School at Rosenbaum Yeshiva
of North Jersey