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Dishonest/evasive waldorf teacher... - Page 3

post #41 of 186
WOW!! I am glad we have been spared the Waldorf mentality!!

It sounds a bit cultish to me.
post #42 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
An example of this issue would be in my previous post where I described the behaviors of the sixth-grade Waldorf students (that I know personally) in response to the hypocrisy surrounding them at the Waldorf school, as well as the scenario you described, Pete, in the high school-aged children you mentioned as smoking marijuana.

The children in these situations, as they grow older and more independent, are placing the compass of their behavior-modification in the hands of their peers, as opposed to the adults in their lives or themselves.
If we look carefully at the dynamic of Waldorf schools, we may see that not only do children (in theory) keep the same teacher through the grades, they keep the same peers through the grades - and even beyond. My son, a senior in high school this year, has had several kids as peers since kindergarten. He has known some of these kids longer than his own siblings. Every day, every class, together - all the time. Is there any wonder about the peer-bonding that will take place here? Teachers have come and gone but the peers are ALWAYS there.
Quote:
This theory also provides understanding for the choices older children make that lead to the dangers inherent in peer pressure to conform to wrong or risky behavior.
I don't know about the wrong or risky behavior, but it isn't a matter of peer pressure as much as it is peer unity. When my son jumped in a car to hitchhike on a school sponsored camping trip, I asked him why. One reason he gave was that he couldn't let his friend go alone.
Quote:
There is obviously much more to this topic than what I've mentioned. But I wanted to bring it up for a highly relevant reason:

Children who are not attached enough to their parents (as older children) via verbal and physical communication, such as touch, and other bonding activities are more likely to become peer-oriented as they approach adolescence.
And this is something I think can be laid at the feet of the Waldorf philosophy in a way. The idea of the teacher's karmic relationship with the child sometimes puts the teacher between the parent and the child. Some school have what is called "council" in which children get together with the teacher and are encouraged to discuss things they don't like about their family life or their parents. This kind of creepy behavior, I am told by a parent whose child was involved, included demanding that a child bring some information to counsel that they had not shared with the parents. The child, in this case, had no secrets from the parents and so the only "secret" they could produce under this pressure was "Well, I haven't told my parents that I think you are all crazy". (Bravo!)

Pete
post #43 of 186
Quote:
It sounds a bit cultish to me.
yes yes yes! that is exactly how it seemed to me! just couldn't find the right description for it! It's unfortunate isn't it? I had such high ideals and expectations by reading about it before I experienced it.
post #44 of 186
Pete - I hope I didn't strike a nerve. Fwiw, peer-orientation is pretty universal, meaning: This a problem that many families are dealing with and is not at all limited to children in Waldorf schools who've had life-long friendships.

I see nothing wrong with and every advantage to having enduring, stable friendships.

I was just pointing out the subject's relevance to the topic at hand.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Azadeh

My impression exactly! I'd rather either homeschool him in waldorf style like with www.oakmeadow.com or just put him in a public school man!

It's funny you say that because we are heading back to Waldorf-inspired homeschooling/unschooling right now.
post #45 of 186
I've experience 3 waldorf schools. One was fantastic, diverse and great, two were odd and one made me extremely uncomfortable. I have read steiner and on surface and point for educational theory, i like him. but at depth and in terms of his philosophies, i am uncomfortable, so we decided not to enroll out daughter any further. besides, steiner taught me that 0-7 should be with parents (imitive)anyway so enrolling them made no sense...

sorry to hear, but not surpised, about your experiences.

peace.
post #46 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
Pete - I hope I didn't strike a nerve.
Please don't worry about that with me.
Quote:
Fwiw, peer-orientation is pretty universal, meaning: This a problem that many families are dealing with and is not at all limited to children in Waldorf schools who've had life-long friendships.

I was just pointing out the subject's relevance to the topic at hand.
Yes, of course. For me, I see a regular, consistent and intentional undermining of parents in Waldorf (maybe that's the nerve) under certain (not all) circumstances.

Pete
post #47 of 186
hotmamacita, I can totally relate to what you're saying. In fact, I believe that like many great thinkers, Steiner's teachings are often misunderstood, misrepresented, and even abused.

That is why I like to homeschool. Then I can take the golden nuggets of Anthroposophy and weave them into heartfelt education for my children. Truly there is no one who understands their child's essence better than the parent.

As far as kindergarten is concerned - you are right: Anthroposophy does dictate that the child should, ideally, be home with their mother. Hence, the emphasis on home-like activities during kindergarten hours. It was developed institutionally in response to a growing demand for working mothers to have access to Wadorf Education for their little ones.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
For me, I see a regular, consistent and intentional undermining of parents in Waldorf (maybe that's the nerve) under certain (not all) circumstances.
I agree.
post #48 of 186
Thanks for this thread. I was intrigued by Waldorf after reading about it, but there were still some things that didn't sound quite right. I'm just lurkin' and learnin' here. :
post #49 of 186
wow, this is really sad. (nak) i went to a waldorf school for 13 years and loved it! we were all used to people saying it was like a cult etc it definatly wasnt my experience. the very first thing that comes to mind is that cults are based on people who cant think for themsalves...the whole point of waldorf is to protect norish and help a person reach their full potential in life (balence/whole...not just academic) and the basis of that is a free individual capible of thinking for themsalves. who is still interested in the world as an adult.
...we all rolled our eyes at the rounded corners etc... we rolled our eyes at the eurithemy sp?, we rolled our eyes at the "ANTHROPOPS" across the street...

i inperticular rolled my eyes at all the different religons we learned about....

but for the most part my experience was incredible! it was so rich, so much beauty, so much care. i loved the festivals, the singing, the plays, i can make just about anything...i can sew, work with wood, work with paint, im not imbarrassed to sing in my out of key voice to my babies im not afraid to try anything new.
i keep in touch with my class still...we are all around the world doing all sorts of things. most of them didnt come from totally "steinerized" families.

i have just begun to ask my own questions about waldorf as i seek the best for my young kids...im amazed i can come across waldorf just like any other parent..."what the heck is this...etheric body...and how does it apply to my kid"? then i read more, call my old teacher and ask him...i do understand why some waldorf families want to only be around waldorf...i think it is like anything, when you find your values you want to be able to live them without constantly having to fight for them...especially with young kids and babies...its such a short time...

i am not in or around a waldorf community right now and i find it exhusting to constantly be receiving plastic crappy toys talking dolls tv characture EVERYTHING, candy, synthetic clothing and junk food as gifts...pretty much nothing we all value so much here at mothering...so i guess it would be a little less work to be around a community that all share these values too.
all of these values were just normal and i guess i was a little shocked to find that mainstream way of life is so inaproperate for children at this time...wow but i still would rather be a little shocked coming out on my own for my world travells than to grow up thinking that this is the only way to be.

and like it is with the mothering commune everyone that i knew was involved as much or as little as they chose to be. lots of us had relatives who didnt have any idea about waldorf, my dad for example had a hard time with the word "god"...but he said he was always getting people coming up to him and saying what wonderful kids he had so he figured it couldnt be screwing us up too bad!

please excuse my spelling and typos and the focus on myself and just butting in like this...im tired but just had to respond...ive seen a lot of threads just like this one...all my life actually and all i can say is i think i turned out pretty well :LOL , i think if we all sat down together you'd just love me!~im interested in the world, people, im interested in making beautiful things and im interested in the best i can do for my kids, im open minded . if, along the way in my learning, i find another/other "system" or community or something else that can provide my kids with all the wonderful memories and skills and people and values i had, i'd say i will check it out.

peace.
i hope you all find what does ring true for you and your children. i can definatly relate to the powerful natural urge to do the best you can for your kids. so far i've found that there are so many different sources for answers...waldorf is no different than learning about anything else...some people for whatever reason cant answer your questions, in the way that you need, perhaps they dont know yet them selves. others will be able to.

i think there are layers and layers of understanding when it comes to waldorf education/school, because waldorf education is about the development of the whole human being not just reading writing and math.

and by golly, i find it interesting...mind blowing actually as i read some of steiners descoveries/insights about child development and i look at my daughter and wee son, im mostly interested in that, not other peoples interiptation of what he descovered and how to meet the developmental needs...i just want to know about the development part and ill decide how to best support it based on this day and age and all the contributations made by other brilliant people whos life work is has been AND IS. good night
post #50 of 186
I'm confused. Are pp saying that it's a bad thing for kids to be with the same classmates from k-12? That this is some peculiar Waldorf practice? I don't get it. Unless you live in a really big town, aren't most people with the same general group from k-12, barring those that move away or something? How can having such a bond be a bad thing?

Although I left my Waldorf school after 9th grade and am still close with only one classmate, my brother and sister, in their 30's still have wonderful ties of friendship and affection for the classmates they experienced so much with.

Re: conflict resolution, in my experience, at my particular school, I completely agree that there was no attempt at teaching any method of getting along with others. Bullying was tolerated, teasing and unkindness went unchecked. Once,in 3rd grade, after my friend and I had been picked on repeatedly by one boy, we told him that the next time, we would beat him up. There was a next time, and we tackled him. Our teacher stood at the classroom door, watching us stuff snow in his face and down his shirt. Now, I won't deny that this was highly satisfying - but it should never have been allowed! I would imagine/hope that in this post-Columbine age, teachers everywhere have a different mind-set...
post #51 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama

Re: conflict resolution, in my experience, at my particular school, I completely agree that there was no attempt at teaching any method of getting along with others. Bullying was tolerated, teasing and unkindness went unchecked. Once,in 3rd grade, after my friend and I had been picked on repeatedly by one boy, we told him that the next time, we would beat him up. There was a next time, and we tackled him. Our teacher stood at the classroom door, watching us stuff snow in his face and down his shirt. Now, I won't deny that this was highly satisfying - but it should never have been allowed! I would imagine/hope that in this post-Columbine age, teachers everywhere have a different mind-set...

Thank you for confirming what I've been hypothesizing about as a result of all the congruency in folks' collective experience in this area, as evidenced by the posts on this thread.

This is the first time I have participated in an open discussion of the controversy surrounding my Waldorf experience - comparing my notes with others' here.

I must say, I am feeling incredible gratitude after having kept this information and these feelings under wraps pretty much since it all began for our family, back in 1997.

What a great relief it is to feel supported and validated in my perspective, and to know that I am not alone!



As far as the children's experience goes:

kiwimutti, I've heard yours and others' stories of the positive experience you've had as a child growing up in a Waldorf environment.

My own children have been those exceptionally valued children in our local school. They have, very fortunately, never experienced any discrimination or effects of any double standards, personally. Neither of them have been the target of any bullying or teasing, and they're both well-liked by both their teachers as well as their peers. But I have personally witnessed many children who were not so lucky - in the same school.


The problem, for me, lies in how I have been treated as their parent.


I can see where you're coming from, Pete, when you describe the undermining effect of your school's actions (or lack of actions) toward you.

For years, I decided to rise above my insecurities; put aside my grievances in the name of support toward my children's learning environment, as well as support of the community in which I was investing my own efforts for the sake of our family.

When my children were smaller, I saw how it was all so simple, from their viewpoint. (Well, my son is still in the angelic realm . . he'll be five in September. My daughter is 10.5.) But now that my daughter is older, I'm really seeing her noticing the hypocrisy. She's very alert to begin with; combine that quality with the nine-year changes, such as expanding world-view and such, and I can see where this is headed.

We already have a 'policy' in our home where we are free to call someone on a behavior of theirs that is against their own words. I encourage my children to point out anything they see in my behavior that doesn't make sense to them. We also do a lot of dialoguing in general - processing emotional issues openly, for example.

When there's a conflict, we try to stick to the parameters outlined by Marshall Rosenberg in his teachings on nonviolent communication ( www.cnvc.org ). Everyone feels heard and respected, and there is a general tone of openness and emotional safety in our home (even though we all mess up, at times, and sometimes behave in ways that are less than ideal).

Anyway, I'm pointing all this out because I think these choices I've made as a parent are very important for my children's well-being, so I've decided to include them in a dominant way in our homelife.


Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for our school.


I feel sad at the thought of my children only experiencing healthy conflict-resolution in our home. At the very least, I certainly don't want to be paying an arm and a leg to send them to a school that is so primitive in this imperative area!

I've had to meditate on this a lot; my need to prioritize my values and plan a resulting course of action has been on my mind a lot lately.

That and one other crucial reason is why I've decided with an emphatic YES that these issues, indeed, are important enough to me to pull the children out of the school over. I have come to the realization that these are deal-breakers, for me.


The one other issue is that of privilege.


I don't want to get too heated in this area, on this thread. . . but I just need to say that I DO see a very strong element of privilege at our Waldorf school. It saddens me that, in an environment that promotes a love for all, there is such an unmistakable presence of privilge.

That is also not what I want for my children.
post #52 of 186
Just a quick note as I haven't had a chance to read through all the recent posts yet.

Many of things posted here are not my experience at all! I am a Waldorf parent of 7 years and I have two children now in the grades. My children have lots of friends outside of Waldorf who attend their birthday parties, etc. We have never been isolated. The teachers have always answered my questions. I have never heard that 'Steiner is difficult' from a teacher. We do try to have parent education for parents who desire it but half the time, no one shows up! And yes, there is lots of volunteering to help keep tuition down but there was lots of volunteering at my private Catholic high school. It is part of the private school dynamic.

Anyway, I will write more when I get a chance and after I have read through the entire thread.
post #53 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama
I'm confused. Are pp saying that it's a bad thing for kids to be with the same classmates from k-12? That this is some peculiar Waldorf practice? I don't get it. Unless you live in a really big town, aren't most people with the same general group from k-12, barring those that move away or something? How can having such a bond be a bad thing?
Sorry if it sounded that way. I was not trying to suggest that it was a "bad" thing, but rather that the bonds made in a class that's together that long perhaps amplify what we call "peer pressure." Other things I have noticed as the father of a teenager was that when it came time for dating, my son wasn't interested in dating any of the girls in his class - his comment: "It would be like dating my sister."

Pete
post #54 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Many of things posted here are not my experience at all!
And again and again, it should be made clear here that not all Waldorf experiences are alike. Some people have wonderful Waldorf experiences. Many go for years in Waldorf without a problem and then, when there is a problem, everything changes for them and they begin to see things they haven't noticed, to question things they haven't questioned. Teachers who were once friendly now shun them and suddenly they get that feeling that something is terribly wrong. I've heard of this many, many times.
Quote:
I am a Waldorf parent of 7 years and I have two children now in the grades. My children have lots of friends outside of Waldorf who attend their birthday parties, etc. We have never been isolated. The teachers have always answered my questions. I have never heard that 'Steiner is difficult' from a teacher.
And this is great - and how it should be for everyone.
Quote:
We do try to have parent education for parents who desire it but half the time, no one shows up!
Sadly, this is so true. Parents really, really need to attend these activities, whether it be a meeting to espouse Anthroposophical medicine or a little Steiner 101. Learn about what your child is learning or the philosophy behind it. Many parents are inspired by this (schools don't generally paint themselves or Anthroposophy in a harsh light). Some get *that* feeling. In any case, information empowers parents and these types of events should be well attended. Thanks Rhonwyn for pointing this out.

Pete
post #55 of 186
Hi everyone,

I just love that so many have chimed in, spoken up or are quietly reading all of this and digesting it.

I have one observation that I wanted to include from my personal experiences:

I actually write the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America (AWSNA) about the dysfunctional aspects within the school(s) and they never answer me.

The General Anthroposophical Society in America (ASA) however, called me right back (the head of the entire association) and said they always wanted to be informed when an organization connected with ASA behaved in a less than desireable manner. He said he could not "make" a school do anything, but he could at least contact them and let them know they are being watched for future dysfunctional behavior and that they are expected to behave at a certain level of decency.

I'm not sure how many of you would go that far, but I think you should at least know it's an option if that rings true to you. If they receive enough of these calls/letters, they will have to communicate this with AWSNA eventually.

ASA has held entire conferences pondering why the movement is not flourishing in the USA. What we are discussing in this thread is, in my opinion, exactly the reason it is not flourishing and it seems to me AWSNA is ignoring this fact. They appear to be letting Waldorf earn this bad reputation by its own (and the schools') actions and inactions.

I am also going to contact the Global Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland with the same letter I'll be sending to the other two---again. (All of these guys can be found online for addresses and phone numbers.)

I know not everyone feels the way I do, or wants to "help heal" the movement, but I thought I'd at least put that out there.

Sincerely,

B.
post #56 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
I actually write the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America (AWSNA) about the dysfunctional aspects within the school(s) and they never answer me.
I often write my complaints to the board and college (back when we had one) and ALWAYS copy AWSNA representatives. Yes, no reply - not once.
Quote:
The General Anthroposophical Society in America (ASA) however, called me right back (the head of the entire association) and said they always wanted to be informed when an organization connected with ASA behaved in a less than desireable manner. He said he could not "make" a school do anything, but he could at least contact them and let them know they are being watched for future dysfunctional behavior and that they are expected to behave at a certain level of decency.
I've always assumed the ASA was as complicit as AWSNA in all this. Certainly they are not under the impression that complaints against schools don't exist. Certainly they have heard of Waldorf Critics, PLANS and OpenWaldorf. I doubt whether any serious action takes place but would love to know that it does if anyone has any evidence of it. It kinda reminds me of when I was 10, I would write to Dell Comics to ask where Superman stores his Clark Kent clothes and shoes when he becomes Superman. I'd always get a form-letter reply but never an answer (still wondering...).
Quote:
I'm not sure how many of you would go that far, but I think you should at least know it's an option if that rings true to you. If they receive enough of these calls/letters, they will have to communicate this with AWSNA eventually.
I have my doubts, but I'll keep trying anyway.
Quote:
ASA has held entire conferences pondering why the movement is not flourishing in the USA. What we are discussing in this thread is, in my opinion, exactly the reason it is not flourishing and it seems to me AWSNA is ignoring this fact. They appear to be letting Waldorf earn this bad reputation by its own (and the schools') actions and inactions.
And the solution is so simple. These are supposed to be child educators. What do you do when a child continually exhibits bad behavior? Although, I guess when the complaint is one of bullying of children or parents or teachers, I guess you just let it run its course.

Quote:
I am also going to contact the Global Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland with the same letter I'll be sending to the other two---again. All of these guys can be found online for addresses and phone numbers.
Letters to these people have a limited affect IMO. But look at this thread - up to over 1000 views in just a few days. This is the type of thing that gets AWSNA's attention. Public exposure and people speaking up about their not-so-unique experiences. Dishonesty in Waldorf is apparently a hot topic.
Quote:
I know not everyone feels the way I do, or wants to "help heal" the movement, but I thought I'd at least put that out there.
And there is a HUGE motivation to "help heal" the movement. Parents here want the Waldorf they thought they were getting, the one they were promised. That's what Waldorf should be expected to deliver - or else stop advertising it. Dishonest, evasive teachers (and lets add administrators) completely undermine not just their own individual school, they completely undermine Waldorf schools everywhere AND the entire Waldorf movement. It behooves AWSNA and the ASA to step into these situations and take ACTION. They can do this by yanking the accreditation of the school. AWSNA has trademarked the name "Waldorf" so schools describing themselves as "Waldorf School" are doing so with AWSNA's approval. AWSNA should force these problematic schools to remove the Waldorf name from their signage and literature and undergo a probationary period of two or three YEARS before being allowed to use the name again. This would be to the benefit of the wonderful Waldorf schools we hear about from time to time.

My opinion, of course...

Pete
post #57 of 186
beansavi ~




You are an angel, a true part of the solution.

My sincerest gratitude for your efforts to help heal the movement.
post #58 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren
I wonder, is the disappointment or distress made worse by having the expectation that somehow Waldorf would be different?
Hi. That’s a very important point. As someone wisely pointed out to me the other day, idealism and cynicism are two sides of the same coin. Both are projections and both cause pain. I completely relate to the individual stories here regarding (individual and specific) Waldorf experiences of the negative variety – I have my own as well – and my intention isn’t to invalidate.

On the other hand, an important aspect of healing has to do with moving on. And for me, moving on always means examining the role I played in any painful happening. Truth is, I was and still am (to a degree, anyway) an idealist, and I see it’s my idealism that has at times created and caused a lot of the hurt that has taken place in my life.
post #59 of 186
Hello and welcome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alanoe
Hi. That’s a very important point. As someone wisely pointed out to me the other day, idealism and cynicism are two sides of the same coin. Both are projections and both cause pain. I completely relate to the individual stories here regarding (individual and specific) Waldorf experiences of the negative variety – I have my own as well – and my intention isn’t to invalidate.
Expectation and idealism are two different things. Lauren was talking about expectation. Who is responsible for our expectation with regard to Waldorf? Is it the parents who are perhaps too trusting of the people in Waldorf schools and the literature they receive at the open house or parent evening, or is it the schools who sometimes develop and promote Waldorf as one thing and perhaps don't disclose everything up front?
Quote:
On the other hand, an important aspect of healing has to do with moving on. And for me, moving on always means examining the role I played in any painful happening. Truth is, I was and still am (to a degree, anyway) an idealist, and I see it’s my idealism that has at times created and caused a lot of the hurt that has taken place in my life.
I'm sorry for the hurt you have experienced. I'm an idealist too, but I try to temper my idealism with a realistic expectation. "Moving on" is not always easy and, as some members here have expressed, some experiences fester until they are released. Covered wounds don't heal quickly and for some who have carried their pain inside for so long, it is just better to 1) get it out, and 2) do some worldly good by helping others avoid the same pain. My 2 cents...

Pete
post #60 of 186
Since as a child in a WS I never saw any of the promotional materials, or really knew what my parents wanted for us from a Waldorf education, I was very surprised as a parent when I encountered other parents thinking about Waldorf. They all seemed to have the impression that a Waldorf school was a progressive, artsy, touchy-feely sort of place where their sensitive child would blossom among other like-minded classmates, sheltered from the materialism of public school and the outside world.

This baffled me. Artsy, yes. The degree to which art is integrated into Waldorf education is a wonderful thing and has had a life-long influence on me. Alternative, yes. But I think people assume that an alternative school is a progressive school, and that's not always true. In my experience, for all the magic and mystery which suffuses the view of the world in the younger grades (one of the best aspect of a Waldorf education, I think), a WS is just as authoritarian as any public school. And the children there had the same material values and lack of empathy (or empathy) as children do everywhere. As a kid I certainly didn't expect it to be otherwise, and I don't think my parents did.

A progressive school will attend to different learning styles, focus on peaceful conflict resolution, emphasize respect between teacher and student, help children to develop emotionally, and encourage them to engage in the world in ways that work toward peace and justice. Those are not the goals of a Waldorf school, at least in my experience. (On the other hand, they are exactly the goals of the Friends (Quaker) schools I have been associated with. A Quaker school is where my kids would go if I were able to choose a private education for them.)
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