CfA's Online Newsletter

Center & Periphery

Autumn 2023

In This Edition...

To Be a Successful High School Teacher

Douglas Gerwin

Apart from demonstrating a firm footing in one or more subjects, a high school teacher needs to be versed in the ways of three “PC’s” in order to succeed with teenagers. The teacher must know how to be

  • a pedagogical coach
  • a pedagogical counselor
  • a pedagogical compass

As a pedagogical coach, a high school teacher helps teenagers with how to develop practical skills, so that they find purpose in work and confidence in conducting themselves in the world. This is why in high school the most trusted teachers may be drivers ed. instructors, gym and athletic coaches, practical arts instructors, computer techies, and nurses, for these are often the staff members who can show adolescents how to do something for themselves.

As a pedagogical counselor (not to be confused with a psychological therapist), a high school teacher helps teenagers with how to handle feelings, or more precisely sort out the confused skein of human sentiments that so easily tie teenagers up in paralyzing emotional knots. Good counselors know to use feelings as opportunities for learning; to pose questions rather than supply answers; to jointly come up with strategies rather than provide ready-made solutions.

As a pedagogical compass, a teacher helps teenagers with how to think, but again not by providing answers but rather by helping students develop leading questions that will help them discover uncharted terrain for themselves.

The cultivation of these three pedagogical capacities lies at the heart of CfA’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP), a certified low-residency program of three summers plus two years of independent studies, including an independent research project and internship or practicum in a Waldorf high school. Summer courses are held on the campus of High Mowing School, a K-12 Waldorf school in Southeastern New Hampshire.

As of this year, students or graduates of this program are active in some 33 of the 40 Waldorf high schools extant in North America, from the Pacific Northwest to the Atlantic Southeast, including the two most recent high schools to open in North America––one in

Cincinnati, OH, the other in Halton, ON. Overall, WHiSTEP’s current and graduated students––including half of the original Class of 1998, which completed this program a quarter-century ago––are working full or part-time at some 60 Waldorf schools spread across five continents.

Each summer, the CfA’s high school program admits a new class of 10-15 students ranging across six subject specializations. This year, we are offering specialized “subject seminars,” as they are called, in:

  • Arts & Art History
  • English & Literature
  • History & Social Science
  • Life Science & Earth Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics & Chemistry

The first of the newest cohort have already been accepted into the forthcoming cycle of this summer program, which in addition to the subject seminars includes artistic ateliers and subject-specific workshops.

This new intake––many of them already teaching in the classroom––will be studying alongside close to a hundred trainees and their faculty in the Waldorf elementary teacher education program of Antioch University New England. High school teachers with the requisite background may be eligible to earn a fully accredited Master’s degree in Waldorf high school teaching from Antioch as part of a joint venture introduced several years ago. In addition, a separate group has formed for those seeking a doctorate in Waldorf high school education under the aegis of Antioch’s Education Department, based in Keene, NH.

This summer’s cycle of the high school program will start and end with a week of online classes, with just three weeks in between of face-to-face classes on our summer campus in Wilton, NH. For details about application, contact Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D., CfA’s Executive Director and Chair of its Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP).

In This Edition...

Spring/Summer 2022

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