Comments from Teacher Candidates on their experience with their Field Mentors
The essential response to my meeting with Cristina includes a loving and kind approach, honest feedback, clear metaphors, and then providing solutions rather than just leaving feeling like I have so much growth, but no idea how to bring that to pass.
I felt supported in my quest to grow, learn and become a true Waldorf teacher by Cristina’s encouragement, kind words, suggestions and acute observations.
I did feel recognized as a teacher. Donna’s observations were both insightful and helpful. I really appreciated her noting the good relationship that I had developed with my class over these past four years with them. She asked a lot of questions. The questions were indeed helpful for my self-reflection and I have instituted some change she suggested, such as giving time and space for reverence at certain points throughout the day. I was supported by Donna’s acknowledgement of the work I’ve done in the past four years to create a climate of warmth, respect and learning. This was very supportive to me for her to see this and reflect it back to me. I was also supported by Donna’s advice on some challenges that I’m experiencing within the school organizational structure right now.
I was challenged by Donna’s suggestion of some changes to make to bring reverence into the classroom. I appreciated this. The essence of my meeting with Donna was “being seen.” I felt as if Donna really deeply “saw” me and my class and the way we work together. I have not yet had that experience at my school from any other mentors, and I felt it was very validating, uplifting as a teacher, and yet also gave me something to strive for.
Yes, she made me feel validated, and that I had come a long way since the first of the year. She helped me to see that I had let the children go, and relaxed a little too much. She helped me to re-define expectations, and she encouraged me to use my leadership to bind them together.
I felt like she wanted me to succeed. That she was ready and willing to give me tools, tips to get through my day with a flawless sense of success. She helped me to feel confident in my ability to bring the class what they need. She helped me plan out assessments, and gave so much help in hands on leadership of my classroom.
I just wanted to say that my time spent with Cristina has been absolutely invaluable. I have learned more from the few short hours with her undivided attention than I felt I picked up this summer. This has been the most useful, practical and really helpful piece to my Waldorf training. The mentor is key, I only wish she could have been with me a full day (or two) and I would also benefit tremendously from observing her teaching my class a Main lesson, Math lesson, or run a circle.
This is not the first time a mentor has asked me if I am aware of all the (positive) things that I do instinctually and told me to be more conscientious about these things so that I can actually PLAN on adding these with intention. In short, I have added as a goal to pay closer attention to what I bring in a lesson and how I bring content and activities. I would also like to focus on these elements in my daily Rückschau at the end of the day.
Both in my lesson plan as well in our conversations afterwards this conscientious planning and consciousness should be reflected, showing that what I have been doing instinctively or intuitively has been elevated into consciousness.
I felt my mentor was patient and open to my development as a new Waldorf teacher. My mentor kindly reflected my strengths and allowed me to ask questions that will continue to foster my development. Cristina has been incredibly approachable throughout the training and mentoring process.
Absolutely! It was fantastic. My observations with Cristina have been my only feedback this year, I look forward to her feedback each semester. My mentor has been an amazing source of mental food and inspiration! My mentor is the only person who has truly seen my skills in the classroom so my time with her has been incredibly validating.
We had a generous chunk of time after school to review the day. It was the highlight of my teaching career. The greatest news was that my striving to have an economy of teaching is actually working. I have taken Cristina’s original feedback to heart and integrated my own style and it’s working. It feels wonderful.
Karl was kind in his debriefing and gave me a lot of positive feedback about what I was already doing as a teacher. We had a meaningful conversation about I needed as a new Waldorf teacher, and some of the strengths I bring to the classroom already.
Many questions were asked of me during the debriefing conversation. The questions I was asked were related to the areas where I feel like I need the most support as I had indicated in the pre-visit question responses. Some of the questions were asked for me to answer immediately, and other questions were for me to ponder personally in my work.
We were able to meet and discuss the morning lesson that was observed. There was enough time to do so. Karl gave me some practical ideas of ways to hone in on the language I use in class when giving instructions to students in order to keep more ‘control’ of the group’s behavior as a whole. He also was reassuring and listened carefully to my concerns in Waldorf teaching. I was asked to give very detailed descriptions to Karl in order to practice story telling. I was also challenged to take time to meditate on students as a way of improving classroom behavior. It was enlightening to have someone come in and actually help me.
As in the fall, the suggestions and critiques were balanced with encouragement and specific feedback on what is working well in my classroom.
Cristina is so helpful and supportive. I love being with her and learning from her. Cristina takes pages and pages of notes and has wonderful advice and constructive ideas that I greatly appreciate. I was supported by Cristina’s loving support, keen observations and years of teaching experience. Essential response – Enchanting and soul filling.
Written by 2nd Year Gradalis Teacher –Candidate August 2017
As with the summer intensive, this first webinar was packed with images and ideas to fill the whole year. It both reviewed and filled out the information we learned during the summer, giving us both reminders and more specifics. We began with contemplating our motivations for doing this work. “What is your deepest impulse and longing as a Waldorf Educator?” Waldorf education has something genuine and sincere that I connect to, and believe children have the right to experience. I also believe that Waldorf education gives children the chance to develop fully into a humane human; developing empathy, emotional and social skills, and passion for learning by using their creativity to understand and connect to the curriculum. “What is my picture of the human being?” I keep returning to the picture of the human being as developing from seed, to shoot, to bud, to flower, and again to seed. This picture is also often related to the human developing through the mineral, plant, animal, then human and spiritual dimension. Such an unfolding of a human gives us both a feeling of a connection with the elements of nature and the evolving complexity of the human being as they grow into the stages of their lives.
To read more about our programs at Gradalis, click HERE.