The Shidduch Threat (2 of 2)

Part 1 was yesterday

With one particular senior teacher, nothing I did made her happy–or content, or even resigned.

She could discern note-taking from novel-writing from across the classroom, and she had a zero-tolerance policy for such creative development. She would even stop at my desk to glare if I so much as doodled in the margins of my notes. Her lack of tolerance extended, insufferably, to my chin-on-hands pose. She demanded nothing less than a bolt-upright position, an alert expression, and eyes wide with inspiration.

Because she did try to inspire. It offended her that I wasn’t blown away by her teachings. Her subject was a fluffy one to begin with, and she frothed it up like full-fat whip cream. It was about as far from my style as goth is from business casual. I didn’t hold it against her–she couldn’t help that her subject didn’t suit me. What I loathed was that she didn’t return my understanding and tolerance. And she, like many teachers, did  not appreciate how painful it is to sit attentively in a wooden desk when you are dying of boredom.

I must not have been the only vacant expression in the classroom. I can’t flatter myself with the notion that she’d stop class on a weekly basis just to lecture to me. Because that’s exactly what she’d do. Quite regularly, she would take a break to remind us of the importance of her subject. She would insist (like every other teacher) that hers was the most important class we were taking.

And then, with barely a pause for breath, she would tell us about a shidduch call she received yesterday—just one of the many she got every week. They wanted to know about a former student of hers—and the girl had been such a great student that she was able to be quite enthusiastic.

But that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes the girl wasn’t such a great student. And then she didn’t know what to say. And she hated to give a bad impression, but what could she do? When she had no positive memories of the girl from class, she couldn’t make stuff up, could she?

While going on in this vein, she would march up and down the aisles where my posse sat, making eye contact with everyone. Depending on my mood, I would return her gaze with either my best Chrestomanci-vague expression (“Is this relevant to me?”) or a Charles-Morgan, Double-Barreled blank (“Words cannot convey my resentment and disdain”).

Somehow, she hoped to inspire us via threat. Like some modern version of slapping wrists with a ruler, or a grown-up version of the OD threatening to call the head counselor on you.

So: Students afraid to ask their teachers questions because of shidduchim? Really, I wonder how that could happen. Is it general community hysteria? Or might it be something else… something more insidious, perhaps?

13 thoughts on “The Shidduch Threat (2 of 2)

  1. What’s the secular equivalent? Maybe a mean, vindictive professor threatening to withhold a reference for grad school? Could happen. Maybe the problem is specific to a few problem educators and not systemic…

  2. I love Chrestomanci too- Id like to see your version of his expression. Or that I could make it myself- gotta be useful.

    Actually, though, isn’t his vague look a sign that he is paying particularly close attention?

    It’s really sad, though, that bais yaakov girls don’t feel able to ask questions. I mean, that’s kind of the whole point of Jewish education, imo. Rabbi Orlofsky talks about this also, he’s very funny about it. “I go to speak in schools in the wilds of deepest, darkest, Brooklyn.” and the types of questions he is asked. really, really, sad situation.

    But there’s gotta be some positives about Bais Yaakov education too! it can’t be all bad. I feel like all I hear lately is the downsides.

  3. Poor Charles Morgan. Sometimes that glare simply meant he was paying close attention.

    I am still sad there will be no more DWJ books. RIP DWJ! 😦

  4. Why not just keep in mind that anyone who is looking for her opinion, isn’t looking for you? I mean, really, who cares if you paid attention in a particular high school class? And if someone is appalled by the fact that you wanted answers to hashkafic questions, do you really want to date them?

  5. What happened to that blogger named corti? In her last post, she ripped her BY school. Immediately thereafter, her blog disappeared.

  6. Nope, I did not mean to suggest that. 😳 I’m pretty sure she gave away too much identifying information which necessitated a shut down. I was just wondering if anyone knows if she started a new blog.

  7. The “reference threat” actually starts in grade 8! My daughter was literally exploited into bulletin board design slavery by a teacher who would mention with each request how “BYHS” calls her to inquire about each girls middos….I told my girl to not put up with it ,she was getting zero breaks! oops! when she was called she gave a cryptic “I don’t know her well…but she is quiet” response . UCH!!! B’H we had already decided on a different school LOL

  8. Pingback: Thursday Link | Bad for Shidduchim

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