Homework assignment for novice teachers: Find a good mentor

Sandy Lamchick:
A quick look

Sandy Lamchick /ANDY LAMCHICKSandy Lamchick:A quick look

Resides in West Warwick. 

Teaches Shemot Hebrew (second year of Hebrew school, typically for fourth-grade students) and second grade in the religious school at Temple Beth-El, the Reform synagogue in Providence.

Years teaching: 17 

Holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Rhode Island, A.S. as an occupational therapy assistant from CCRI.


Works with pre-K through high school students as a certified occupational therapy assistant in the Cumberland school system. 


Q: What motivated you to teach Hebrew and religious school?

A: I decided to teach religious school and Hebrew school because I was bringing my own children to temple and figured I would use my time constructively.  I really enjoyed working with the students and kept teaching long after my own children graduated.

Q: Did you have a mentor or someone who inspired you?

A: My mentor when I began teaching was Sharyn Wilk, she had so much energy and was always available to share her creative ideas with me.

Q: After so many years teaching, what do you to prepare and get refreshed for another year?

A: Taking the summer off usually re-energizes me.  I then look back at what the previous classes seemed to like best and what they didn’t like and try to change those things. Anita Steiman, Beth-El’s religious school administrator, and Rabbi Sarah Mack also have a teachers’ meeting before school begins. That meeting helps me refocus and reenergize before I get back in the classroom.

Q: What brings you the most joy in teaching?

A: I really enjoy it when the students get engaged in group discussions. That’s when I know they are beginning to understand what we’ve been studying.

Q: Can you recall any teachable moments or highlights?

A: One teaching highlight occurred with a student who had demonstrated many problems with behavior. After meeting with the parent and student, we all began working together. The student began participating more in class and became one of the top students in the class.

For me, the most fulfilling aspect of teaching is when the parents and the teacher are all on the same page.

Q: What advice might you offer a novice teacher?

A: Find yourself a good mentor and make sure you really like working with children. If you enjoy what you’re doing, the rest is pretty easy.