Sunday, June 28, 2009

shining star

"Anthroposophy is not a philosophy, it is a way of life."
Astrid Schmitt-Stegmann, full time faculty at Rudolf Steiner College

A warm evening in Fair Oaks, but Stegmann Hall at the College was filled with upbeat, joyful souls ready to start the Summer Teacher Education program. Noteworthy speaker was Astrid Schmitt-Stegmann (yes, the building we were in was named after her family). She was a bright-eyed woman with silvery gold hair, dressed this evening in a white linen suit, looking like an angel, with a hint of a German or Austrian accent in her melodic voice. Despite her gentle demeanor, she spoke with authority, charisma, and an authentic love of her calling. It inspired us in the room with her to be excited about our pursuit as Waldorf educators.

She spoke briefly about the five components that a Waldorf teacher must possess. She drew it as a five-pointed star. At the legs of the star are curriculum and child development, at the two arms are method and relationships, and at the top is spirituality.

All components are essential to the success of the Waldorf educator. She expanded on relationships, teacher-student dynamic, and posed the question, "How do we prepare our soul to connect with the children?" She believes we must see each child as coming to us from the realm of truth and morality, a spiritual being that transcends space and time, and when that child first meets the teacher, it s a "destiny meeting." This is more than just a child's first day of school, this is the fist day of a life journey. The teacher is the gate (I would also add the bridge) that connects the child to the world.

Astrid described the importance of the impact of the teacher. The mood, the atmosphere you create, the confidence and security you project will all be seen and felt by the students in your classroom, they will experience the "totality of your soul."

The teacher must be a courageous being, actively engaged in the work of the world. It is not enough to love the children, the teacher must also love what he or she is doing. A shining star to light the way.


Lovey said...

What a great image this is to work with! Thank you for drawing it out. I'm such a visual learning and will surely remember this concept now.

Looking forward to your posts as you go through training.


Rick Tan III said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Tan III said...

Lovey, thanks for the nice encouraging words. I will also try to place more images/diagrams in the blog posts when possible - I too am a visual learner!

dharmadreams said...

Thank you for your blog, such a good resource for a Waldorf newbie like me :) We are going to start some initiatives here in Palawan, Philippines so I hope that my dream school for my son will materialize real soon!

Andrew said...

Astrid is an amazing person. I'm so glad she's teaching us new teachers and is such a dedicated educator. I'm a new Waldorf teacher, and I started teaching around the same time you began this blog. She taught my Nature of the Human Being I course last year, and I'm getting ready for year 2 of my teacher training coming up in June (Foundations and High School). I'm so excited to work with Astrid!