Being a Waldorf Teacher at Prerana.
Who the teacher is as a person is of tremendous importance and the depth and quality of the child’s education is bound not only to the teacher’s mastery of the subject but also their attitude, moral uprightness, sensitivity, and objectivity.
To be a Waldorf teacher one must be an artist in the sense that one must have the flexibility of soul to be open and receptive to inspirations when they present themselves, the self motivation to seek creative strategies in meeting the changing needs of the children, and have a deep and genuine interest in the world and it’s limitless possibilities.
Teaching children is a tremendous responsibility and a demanding task for teaching is not simply a job, it is a calling. The teacher does not need to be a seer but must be a seeker, a seeker of the truth who strives to develop ever deeper insights into the individual child and the overarching picture of child development. A true teacher meets the children where they are at their stage of development rather than forcing them to conform and adapt to a predetermined picture of what they should be. Waldorf teachers lovingly guide and shepherd the children along so that they may more fully realize their own potential and embrace their individual destiny.
The flexibility of soul required and the ever changing demands on teachers are rather unique for how we direct and work with the children is always changing for their consciousness is constantly evolving. In a Waldorf school, the teacher follows along with their class from Grade I to Grade VII or VIII and the teacher develops a very deep, intimate understanding of the class and the individuals in it. The teacher has years to strengthen individuals where they are challenged, encourage greater self confidence, and help every child to meet with success.
To fully and properly meet the demands of being a Waldorf teacher, one has to be on a path of self development and actively working to harmonize and bring into balance one’s own temperament. In addition, one must have a commitment to professional development by consistently learning and mastering new material. The teacher must be very serious about their responsibilities and the importance of their task but must also have a light touch and sense of humor when working with tender young souls rather than being an authoritarian who enforces their will through fear and intimidation.
Conventional mainstream educational models were first introduced in India during colonial rule and the trend has been to over burden children with facts and information which are often irrelevant, disconnected, and devoid of meaning. Subjects are taught in very dry, abstracted ways with little relationship to reality and life. By only teaching to the intellect, personal creativity and imagination are suppressed and there is little encouragement or opportunity for free independent thinking and consideration of the many possibilities outside of the text book approved answers. In short, the capacities of children for creative problem solving, nuanced logic, and sequential thinking is diminished by only focussing on brain activity and giving the greatest importance to the retention of factual data.
Waldorf education strives to bring balance back into our lives by awakening the unrealized potential and nurturing the imagination of every child and providing opportunities for them to put their skills and gifts to practical use in the world. The teacher serves as a conductor of a diverse orchestra, working to bring together the performers to create beautiful music and harmonies. There are ample opportunities for soloists to share their gifts and inspire others but together, through our combined and cooperative efforts we can enthusiastically achieve something even greater, reaching new and unimagined heights. Through the wisdom of the curriculum which appropriately meets the child at every stage of their development, with their enthusiasm for the very process of learning rather than just the results, and their genuine love of the children, Waldorf teachers weave academic and social impulses together to strengthen and enliven our humanity and help create a world which is imbued with reverence, joy, and meaning. In short, Waldorf teachers help to sculpt the future through the human virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness.
Training to be a Waldorf Teacher.
Learning is a life long endeavor and this is even more true for Waldorf teachers. In a world of rapid changes and the demands of meeting the changing consciousness of growing children, a Waldorf teacher must be committed and steadfastly engaged in efforts to further their professional development. Our teachers receive extensive training from experienced, trained teachers and mentors as well as regularly attending training workshops and conferences throughout India and the world.
At Prerana, we have an in-house mentoring program where younger and more experienced teachers are partnered together to share and expand their understanding and penetration of the curriculum, its methods, and the grander picture of child development. Our teachers engage in regular pedagogical studies together, review lesson plans, student work, and share ideas and inspirations in an open collaboration to better meet the changing needs of the children. Also, Prerana teachers have been fortunate to receive regular training sessions from mentors such as David Nikias and Katherine Lehman from the United States as well as visiting trainers from Europe, Australia, and Switzerland.
Parents and others who are interested in exploring the possibility of becoming a Waldorf teacher are strongly encouraged to contact the school directly.