May 2012

Waldorf Teacher Education - Graduation Speech

Graduation time is upon us. Two thirds of this year's Waldorf Teacher Education Class have already accepted teaching positions in Waldorf schools. We take off our hats to all of you and trust that your earnest striving will make all the difference to the children who are fortunate to be in your care. - Editor

Graduation Speech given by Julie Folino
RSCT Class of 2011

The first week of our Waldorf Teacher Education Warren introduced us to the ideals of Truth, Beauty and Goodness and we were inspired. For the following 3 weeks Jan bathed us in the wonder and rhythm of early childhood and we were moved. We learned of the very first Waldorf School that opened in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. We learnt that Rudolf Steiner met with the very first group of Waldorf teachers to give them an understanding of the growing human being in body, soul and spirit. We learnt that he did this in only 2 short weeks and we were amazed.

If Steiner could lay the foundation for the first group of Waldorf teachers in just 2 weeks – We thought that certainly one full year of teacher education would duly prepare us but we were humbled. We ‘take our hats off’ to those very first, very brave Waldorf Teachers.

As the year progressed and we immersed ourselves in music, painting, handwork, woodwork, drama, science, math, language and literature, form drawing and the like we came to the realization that a Waldorf Teacher must ‘wear many hats’. When we entered the classroom for the first time we quickly learned that things can sometimes get crazy but you must always ‘keep your hat on’.

We learned that when your lesson plan is not being received as you might have hoped you could try to ‘pull a rabbit out of your hat’. Or, you could save that trick for the human and animal block in 4th grade. We learned of the sanctity of childhood – and to this – we ‘held our hats to our hearts’. We learned that if we could nourish just one child’s soul that our ‘hats would be full’ to carry us further on our journey. We learned that the fiscal reality of many Waldorf schools requires that you ‘hold out your hat’ to gather support.

As our practice teaching progressed and more demands were made of us as practicing teachers we learnt to prepare things at the ‘drop of a hat’. We learned of how Waldorf teachers ideally stay with their classes from grades 1 through 8. It seemed to us a daunting task. And then we met Ms. Humphreys who is taking her 3rd class through to grade 8. Ladies and Gentlemen I believe that is called a Waldorf ‘hat-trick’.

As a Waldorf Teacher with a reverence for the natural world we must be prepared with a ‘hat for every season’. Throughout this year our many different teachers have shared their wisdom, experience and talent with us. Once again, we were humbled. With ‘hat in hand’ we thank you for your guidance, your generosity of spirit and your gifts.

Warren and Jan, thank you for taking us under your wings and leading us forth in order that we might in turn lead forth those children who call us into their service. We ‘tip our hats’ to you.

My fellow classmates – it has been my pleasure to share this experience with you all. As the students call you forth may you imbue yourselves with the power of imagination, may you have courage for the truth and may you sharpen your feeling for responsibility of soul. And, may wherever you lay your hat hold for you all the promise that you deserve.