|My first grade classroom.|
When I interviewed for my Waldorf teaching position, I desperately wanted to stay in Oregon. And I really, really had my sights on Portland. So, I interviewed with a big strike against me. I knew what I wanted and I was blind to the warnings.
About a month ago, I was contacted by a lovely young woman (who I’ll call Nancy) about how to interview for Waldorf. Her inquiry made me wonder if there was much help out there as it appeared the school she was interviewing for didn’t give her much to go on. Her email also gave me this idea to write about it.
Specifically, Nancy wanted to know what the warning signs were. I think this can be difficult if you are anything like the younger/former me, full of enthusiasm, hope and naiveté. So, the best advice I can give is to ask questions.
The funny thing about interviews is we are usually so anxious to be appealing that we forget that the school (or employer) is also on interview. And while I was proud of my questions like, “What’s this school’s biggest challenge?” I should have slowed down and wrote out a list of what I liked and didn’t like and shopped around much longer.
But let’s get back to those questions because I think it’s worth reading what the critics say. After all, if you are truly going to enter the World of Waldorf, I say take those blinders off and visit argumentative territory. In training, we were not encouraged to do this. In fact, when I brought a list of challenging questions from one of my practicum teachers, most of the answers given were shaky and unsatisfactory.
Questions like: Is Waldorf a cult? One of the parents thinks lighting the candle is cultish and is concerned. How do you deal with faculty parents? How do you deal with bullies? and so on. He gave me quite a long list. Please don’t think that there aren’t Waldorf teachers who are aware of the problems and shortcomings of the educational philosophy.
In the end, since teacher training brushed off the questions, so did I.
Another interesting aspect of individual schools is: how much are they into Anthroposophy? When Nancy was sharing her experiences with a couple of schools, we both got the feeling that one school seemed very Anthroposphic and the other not so much. Now, I can’t tell you which is better or worst. Trembling Trees (where I worked) was confused by Steiner’s visions and beliefs - and it showed.
At the end of the day though, I think it comes down to taking a risk. As with any job, you just won’t know until you try. Of course, Waldorf is unlike any job out there…but that’s another story.
Interviewing for a teaching position help: http://waldorfinspirations.com/index.php/grades/6th-grade/16-how-tos
Job board: http://www.waldorftoday.com/
Critics' concerns: http://www.waldorfcritics.org/concerns.html
Have you ever interviewed for a Waldorf teaching position? What was your experience like?