By David Barham
Training to be a Waldorf high school teacher is a powerful and transformative undertaking. The teacher becomes a student and probes the depths of the anthroposophical approach to human development as well as the extraordinary picture of the human being and the cosmos given by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). In addition, the teacher-student explores deeply the Waldorf approach to a given subject, be that math, physics, life sciences, history, English, drama, or the arts. It is immeasurably helpful and practical to deepen one’s approach to teaching by studying with long-time practitioners in one’s discipline.
And lastly, a rich encounter with the arts creates the possibility for personal metamorphosis needed to think, feel, and teach in an entirely new way. Courses in painting, sculpture, the movement arts of eurythmy and spacial dynamics, speech work, and singing all help one to change and grow in the ways we will ask our students to change and grow.
All of this is fundamental to becoming a Waldorf teacher in both independent and public charter settings. However, there is more.
Waldorf schools are part of the beautiful and fragile modern world. The world’s beauty and gifts, as well as the world’s very real challenges and obstacles, are also part of Waldorf communities. That is why we have crafted these seminars for contemporary Waldorf high school teachers. We will be addressing and undertaking deep dives into topics of utmost importance to modern educators. These will include:
- Helping teenagers with anxiety, depression, and addictions
- Meeting the needs of neuro-diverse learners
- Discerning the rightful place of technology in our classrooms
- Addressing equity and inclusion in the Waldorf school
Additional seminars will focus on a thoughtful approach to curriculum changes needed to reflect the modern world and the modern adolescent. We will be speaking to the revitalizing of the teaching of civics, history, and climate change in a world on fire. The importance of music, working with parents, and a new approach to outings and festival life for the teenager will also be explored. Presentations from long-time teachers working with today’s students will be enhanced by break-out sessions with ample time also for questions and discussion in a plenum setting.
We do not have all the answers to what ails the world. But we are active explorers and part of a larger, ongoing conversation amongst those who care deeply about the modern teenager and the world. Over the months as these seminars unfold, we are hopeful that presenters and participants will be inspired by new ways of thinking about teaching and forming high school communities in this modern moment.
We warmly welcome all who are passionate about meeting the true needs of the modern adolescent and high school community to join us on this adventure. We began on Saturday, September 10, 2022, and the seminars continue every other Saturday through February 25, 2023, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm Eastern Time. These seminars are not a teacher training, but a deepening. They can be seen as professional development, part of foundation studies, or simply as a chance to come together and wrestle with issues of the world.