By Douglas Gerwin
Of the Class of 2023, all were working in Waldorf schools even before they completed their three-summers training in CfA’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). As the 25th graduating group, they come from a wide range of North American locations, stretching from British Columbia and California across the Mid-West to the Mid-Atlantic East Coast. One member of this class is herself a Waldorf school alumna.
— Rachel Colvin: teaching drama and fine arts at the Whistler Waldorf School in Whistler, BC
— Hilla Haut: teaching arts at the Kimberton Waldorf School in Kimberton, PA
— Heather Lomason: teaching English at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor in Ann Arbor, MI
— Melissa McDonagh: high school co-chair and teacher of English and drama at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, NY
— Sarah Jane Pinkerton: teaching humanities and Spanish at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Mountain View, CA
— Christina Roberts: teaching math and sciences at Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, NY
— Effie Scott: teaching humanities at the Kimberton Waldorf School (her alma mater) in Kimberton, PA
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Two instructors teaching in WHiSTEP this past summer offered their personal observations on the impact of this program:
From David Sloan (teacher of English and drama, founder of two Waldorf high schools):
As a member of the WHiSTEP faculty for the past 25 years, I can say with some longer-range perspective that the program has helped to cultivate an entire generation of teachers, many of whom now anchor Waldorf high schools across North America. Although these trainees have come to Wilton with varying degrees of teaching experience, they nearly always leave with the tools to strengthen their grasp of the philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings of Waldorf education. This past summer I was most impressed by the nearly seamless transition crafted by Douglas Gerwin, the founder and long-time “Captain” of the program, and David Barham, the current director. Both remain committed to building upon the foundational principles of Waldorf education while adapting the program to meet today’s urgent challenges.
From Marisha Plotnik (teacher of math and the physical sciences at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City):
What makes WHiSTEP valuable for Waldorf educators?
1) An immersive experience in the arts/movement to help students sense/understand in non-verbal (and verbal) ways: space, form, relationships
2) A profound encounter with Steiner’s thoughts. To learn to read a Steiner text. Note: would like to explore this further and see if we can distill a method or methods for instructors to share in various courses.
3) Deep immersion in one’s subject and transforming one’s relationship to one’s subject
4) Coming out of one’s own school/location and being together with other human beings who are not from one’s own place. This allows for a social fructification, conversations with a diverse group of people, and for the possibility of karmic meetings that can take place.
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Looking ahead to the summer of 2024, a new group of high school trainees is already forming, with specializations in
- Arts and art history
- English language and literature
- History and social sciences
- Life sciences and earth science
- Mathematics and computer studies
- Physics and chemistry
For details, contact David Barham, Director of WHiSTEP at the Center for Anthroposophy: email@example.com