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Is this normal? - Page 2

post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
There's sometimes a fine line between being authoritative and bullying. Waldorf teachers tend to have problems with independent-thinking children. My personal experience has been that Waldorf teachers can become the bullies. In my child's class, the teacher had lost favor with (the respect of) the children - at least half the class hated her (and she deserved it IMO). One child was more vocal than the other children and the teacher chose to make things difficult on her - making her run laps in the hot sun and giving her dirty looks when nobody was looking. In one case the teacher came into the girl's restroom and seeing a huge mess that the child had nothing to do with, forced her and her friend to clean up the entire restroom. After the teacher was finally fired (after months of the other teachers circling the wagons around her) the girl was seen laughing in the hallway (I'm told about something unrelated) and it was assumed by another teacher that the children were discussing the firing of their teacher. The child was told she would have to work the entire day in the garden (Southern California in June = 90-100 degrees). A parent stepped in and stopped the punishment. I feel strongly that bullying of children extends to teachers and administrators.

Pete

Well, if that is the behavior of the teachers at your school, then I would say that your school has problems. I will agree with you that Waldorf schools do tend to hang on to things too long while they are trying to fix them. Sometimes a swift break is better than a long drawn out process - kind of like removing a band aid. I have seen this happen with teachers that should be removed and students that should be removed. There is this overwhelming need to save them or fix them when sometimes it is just not possible in the given situation and what is really needed is a whole new perspective.

I will also say that having the same teacher for 8 years can either be a blessing or a curse depending on the dynamics between the teacher and student or students.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Well, if that is the behavior of the teachers at your school, then I would say that your school has problems.
I would agree with that. This is one reason I am so vocal in my criticisms.
Quote:
I will agree with you that Waldorf schools do tend to hang on to things too long while they are trying to fix them. Sometimes a swift break is better than a long drawn out process - kind of like removing a band aid. I have seen this happen with teachers that should be removed and students that should be removed. There is this overwhelming need to save them or fix them when sometimes it is just not possible in the given situation and what is really needed is a whole new perspective.
It's a very strange dynamic. When the problem is in the students, the school deals with it swiftly. When the problem is in the teachers, the school doesn't deal with it until it becomes a crisis. A case of a child selling marijuana to another child was dealt with swiftly - an immediate suspension and subsequent expulsion. A case of a teacher hitting a child was covered up, different explanations of the behavior (in conflict with each other) were provided - ending in a fabricated story that the teacher had lost her voice that day and was trying to get the child's attention (this after an explanation that the teacher had yelled at the child repeatedly and the child ignored her). Just enough smoke was provided by the school to give an acceptable explanation of what occurred and to obfuscate the situation. As a result, I am told the teacher will still be working at the school but not teaching. The process by which a fabricated story is dispensed by various persons throughout the school has worked fairly well in the past so they continue to use it. Yes, I would say the school has problems - and it is exactly the behavior of these schools - when it becomes known - that ALL Waldorf schools must overcome. It behooves Waldorf (or AWSNA) to put pressure on these problematic schools to change this type of behavior for the benefit of Waldorf schools everywhere.
Quote:
I will also say that having the same teacher for 8 years can either be a blessing or a curse depending on the dynamics between the teacher and student or students.
Again, we agree.

Pete
post #23 of 47
JMTC - We set the bar for acceptable behavior in society by what it is that we tolerate and what it is that we challenge. If we want a different type of society, a more respectful way of relating to one another say, and a society that transforms aggressor/victim dynamics into the light aspect of those twin archetypes, then we need to learn how to communicate differently with one another. I feel that it is the job of schools to foster good conflict resolution skills between children because it is a social setting. Of course, it is the parents' job first.

I feel that a set protocol for conflict resolution must be part of the teachers training and that all schools who sign up with the national organization should adhere to such standards.

I appreciate much about the Waldorf philosophy, but I feel that it needs a change to match our present day circumstances and what it is that we wish for our world now and in the future.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pioneermama
JMTC - We set the bar for acceptable behavior in society by what it is that we tolerate and what it is that we challenge. If we want a different type of society, a more respectful way of relating to one another say, and a society that transforms aggressor/victim dynamics into the light aspect of those twin archetypes, then we need to learn how to communicate differently with one another. It is the job of schools to foster good conflict resolution skills between children. Of course, this is the parents' job first.
And let's not forget that conflicts at the school may not always involve children directly. I'm told there are teachers at my kid's school who haven't spoken to each other for years. I've seen administrators and teachers gang up on a teacher and falsify testimony to have that teacher fired (they even rehearsed what they were going to say) because he wouldn't let the bullying teachers run roughshod over his ideas. When they had a meeting and the entire faculty confronted the parents about the teacher, even with the fabricated testimony, the parents almost unanimously (I think one parent bought into the scam) stood up in support of the teacher (how often do you find a teacher with that type of support). Didn't matter, he was fired. That, I suppose, is one type of conflict resolution.

And let's also not forget the conflicts between parents and teachers or parents and the school administrators are also within the dynamic of the school. Some of the worst bullying at Waldorf schools is directed at the parents. This can take the form of the subtle "we know better than you" or very agressive disinformation, defamation, slander, threats and more. This type of thing has happened to dozens of people I know of.

So when it comes to setting the bar at what we are willing to tolerate, and what we will challenge, maybe we should be challenging more and tolerating less.

Quote:
I feel that a set protocol for conflict resolution must be part of the teachers training and that all schools who sign up with the national organization should adhere to such standards.
Waldorf teachers don't sign up with any national organization and there are literally no standards or requirements for being a Waldorf teacher. It's not as if they have to comply with state standards. There is a Waldorf teacher training program but teachers may teach without having taken this course.
Quote:
I appreacite much about the Waldorf philosophy, but I feel that it needs a change to match our present day circumstances and what it is that we wish for our world now and in the future.
Hear hear... Maybe raising the bar is in order.

Pete
post #25 of 47
I really hate getting into petty arguments on this board, but a couple of things here need addressing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
And let's not forget that conflicts at the school may not always involve children directly. I'm told there are teachers at my kid's school who haven't spoken to each other for years.
...
And let's also not forget the conflicts between parents and teachers or parents and the school administrators are also within the dynamic of the school. Some of the worst bullying at Waldorf schools is directed at the parents.
I'm sure, Pete, that it was just lack of time that caused you to omit describing the "parent bullying teacher or staff member" dynamic, right? You know, the parent who tries to get his/her kid out of a consequence, who attributes all academic problems to teacher incompetence (as opposed to, say, lack of homework diligence, or excessive time devoted to outside activities), who gets insulted when the office calls about required forms or late fees, who thinks rules are for everybody else, who sometimes tells the teacher or school staff member "Listen, I pay your salary -- you work for ME". Completeness requires that you acknowledge this, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Waldorf teachers don't sign up with any national organization and there are literally no standards or requirements for being a Waldorf teacher. It's not as if they have to comply with state standards.
An AWSNA school does report the educational background (waldorf and otherwise) to the Association. But, as independent school, it really is the individual school's responsibility to hire the proper staff -- just like any other private school.

The second sentence is untrue. Individual states can place whatever requirements they want on private school teachers. Some have few or no requirements, other may have more.

Here, teachers are required to have bachelors degrees from accredited universities. This causes issues with teachers from overseas (we have three). One teacher here had to go through a lot of bureaucracy just to justify her degree from McGill University in Montreal, a reputable institution by any measure.

David
post #26 of 47
Per Cynthia (the board administrator), MDC will not host debate about a particular school in which the identity can be inferred, even if not stated directly.

Personal debate that is off topic is also disrespectful to the OP who usually has different intentions for the thread.

It is not part of the mission and purpose of MDC.

Members wishing to debate the merits and downfalls of a particular school will need to do this by PM.


Thank you.
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by canndw
I really hate getting into petty arguments on this board, but a couple of things here need addressing...
I'm sorry you see these issues as petty, David. They are part of the dynamic at many, many Waldorf schools. Also, I don't consider these things as "arguments" but discussions. I don't think either one of us are here to argue with anyone.
Quote:
I'm sure, Pete, that it was just lack of time that caused you to omit describing the "parent bullying teacher or staff member" dynamic, right?
No, I've got plenty of time today. It never occurred to me to include it because it is not within my experience that a parent can bully a staff member at a Waldorf school. In my experience, parents in the situation of disagreeing or confronting a teacher or staff member face a solid front of teachers and staff members who will, without regard for the facts, support their own. Without question, the parent will end up being bullied. Perhaps your experience is different.
Quote:
You know, the parent who tries to get his/her kid out of a consequence,
Yep, been there. When the consequence is unwarranted, too harsh or applied to the wrong person, this gets a little touchy. Certainly you wouldn't consider it bullying to ask that consequences be fairly applied and to the right children.
Quote:
who attributes all academic problems to teacher incompetence (as opposed to, say, lack of homework diligence, or excessive time devoted to outside activities),
I have never encountered this - and it doesn't make sense. In my experience, parents who monitor their child's progress and are concerned with academic problems to the point where they would vocalize these problems are exactly the ones who are diligentent in ensuring the child does their homework before outside activities are allowed. Parents who don't care about homework are not typically parents who complain about academics. However, parents who complain about academics ARE parents who are very concerned about teacher incompetence. And, of course, it isn't always teacher incompetence that is at fault - it is frequently the ill-conceived child development indications of Steiner and a Waldorf curriculum that undervalues academics which most often contribute to parental concerns about academic progress in their children.
Quote:
who gets insulted when the office calls about required forms or late fees, who thinks rules are for everybody else, who sometimes tells the teacher or school staff member "Listen, I pay your salary -- you work for ME".

Completeness requires that you acknowledge this, too.
Again, I've never heard of any of these so it would be impossible for me to acknowledge them but I appreciate that you have brought up these issues to round out the discussion.
Quote:
An AWSNA school does report the educational background (waldorf and otherwise) to the Association. But, as independent school, it really is the individual school's responsibility to hire the proper staff -- just like any other private school.
I don't disagree with this. Parents should examine the credentials of the teachers at the school they are interested in attending.
Quote:
The second sentence is untrue. Individual states can place whatever requirements they want on private school teachers. Some have few or no requirements, other may have more.
Yes, I agree this would vary from state to state. Another responsibility for parents, perhaps. In my state, apparently no requirements are in place. In California Waldorf schools, teachers have been teaching without even having attended a college - let alone attaining a degree of any sort. And I'm not talking just after-school help, or specialty teachers, but grade teachers.
Quote:
Here, teachers are required to have bachelors degrees from accredited universities. This causes issues with teachers from overseas (we have three). One teacher here had to go through a lot of bureaucracy just to justify her degree from McGill University in Montreal, a reputable institution by any measure.
Again, at some schools, there are no such requirements - and no concern about credentials by the school. Teachers are expected to go through the Waldorf teacher training program - that's about all the qualifications they need.

Pete
post #28 of 47
Thread Starter 
I am amzed that my question on bullying is the cause for such robust discussion. Everyones respones have given me some directions to point my friend in and I am sure will be helpful in her decision on moving her son to a different teacher. I will be asking her if she knows the teacher turn-over at the school.
post #29 of 47
i hear so much here of "waldorf schools are like this" and "in Waldorf schools they do it this way", but in my experience, every waldorf schools is so different. in my school, a child caught smoking marijuana on a school bus was not reprimanded. my computer programming teacher was not a teacher of any kind. he was the ballroom dancing partner of my fine arts teacher's daughter. i really feel that much of the information in this thread deals specifically with the schoold that each of us are experienced with. sometimes saying the way things are handled in waldorf schools can be as broad as saying the way things are handled in public schools
post #30 of 47
kewb- you said your friend's son is 5. will he still be in kindergarten in the fall? it is not considerred as major to change the kindergarten class of a child as it is to chnge their class when they are older. in the schools i am familiar with, there are several kindergarten classes, but only 1 class per grade after that. changing her child's class, i hope will not be too difficult, i hope. but even in the worst situation, the child will only be with this teacher for kindergarten. i have never heard of a teacher teaching kindergarten and lowerschool.
post #31 of 47
Thread Starter 
Bremen, yes, he will be in Kindergarten when the school year starts. The impression I got from my friend is that the Kindergarten teacher is the one he will have through 8th grade. I will have to ask her. I do know she said there are 4 Kindergarten classes.
post #32 of 47
I've never heard of a kindergarten teacher (in a waldorf school) becoming a grade school teacher and going on with the same class. Very odd. Kindergarten teachers occasionally (very rarely) become grades teachers, but it would be odd for the teacher to take the kindergarten and then the first grade. I've been involved with four different schools at this point, as a student, parent, staff member and grandparent.

Nana
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah
I've never heard of a kindergarten teacher (in a waldorf school) becoming a grade school teacher and going on with the same class. Very odd. Kindergarten teachers occasionally (very rarely) become grades teachers, but it would be odd for the teacher to take the kindergarten and then the first grade. I've been involved with four different schools at this point, as a student, parent, staff member and grandparent.

Nana
A former kindergarten teacher picked up one of my kid's class starting in the 4th grade - after several other teachers had tried and left. It happens - but, I agree, it's rare.

Pete
post #34 of 47
Nana:

"I've never heard of a kindergarten teacher (in a waldorf school) becoming a grade school teacher and going on with the same class. Very odd. Kindergarten teachers occasionally (very rarely) become grades teachers, but it would be odd for the teacher to take the kindergarten and then the first grade. I've been involved with four different schools at this point, as a student, parent, staff member and grandparent."

It happened at our waldorf school too - the kindergarten teacher going on with the class. It was an unusual situation, and some people felt it wasn't a good idea. It is rare but it does happen. This teacher was trained as a grades teacher and I recall there beinga lot of discussion about how terribly different the kindergarteners are from grade school kids, and how a grades-trained teacher would interact all wrong with the younger kids. It has to do with Steiner's 7-year stages - you are supposed to talk to kids past age 7 in a very different way than with younger kids. The "feeling life" comes into play at around age 7, whereas earlier you really don't "talk" to kids at all, in the way most of us might understand it. They are just supposed to imitate, and the kindergarten teacher (ideally) minimizes "talking to" them in favor of smiling and singing a lot, or answering questions in rhyme.


Chloe
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe1961
Nana:

It happened at our waldorf school too - the kindergarten teacher going on with the class. It was an unusual situation, and some people felt it wasn't a good idea. It is rare but it does happen. This teacher was trained as a grades teacher and I recall there beinga lot of discussion about how terribly different the kindergarteners are from grade school kids, and how a grades-trained teacher would interact all wrong with the younger kids. It has to do with Steiner's 7-year stages - you are supposed to talk to kids past age 7 in a very different way than with younger kids. The "feeling life" comes into play at around age 7, whereas earlier you really don't "talk" to kids at all, in the way most of us might understand it. They are just supposed to imitate, and the kindergarten teacher (ideally) minimizes "talking to" them in favor of smiling and singing a lot, or answering questions in rhyme.

Chloe
Yes, I certainly couldn't imagine a grades teacher moving down to the kindergarten. It is literally two different worlds. At our particular school, the areas are kept completely separated (long walk up-hill to the grade school - that's why I say "down"). I also had a hard time imagining the kindergarten teacher moving up to the grades, but in this particular case, the kids had already been through quite alot by the 4th grade. They had already lost a beloved teacher due to school leadership politics, had an interim teacher, followed by a horrible teacher whose son presented... er... challenges to the children and parents of the school. Poor leadership and cover-ups kept her in place far too long. After losing half the class due to parents reaching the proverbial "last straw" and pulling their kids out (some went to a near-by school started by the first teacher who was ousted for political reasons), a "re-structuring" of the school (no real substantive changes - new committees but mostly the same old faces - but at least it sounded nice) took place. The remaining parents insisted in getting involved in the new teacher choice and the kids in that particular grade benefitted from the gentleness of the kindergarten teacher who took over the class. Unfortunately, she wasn't as strong on academics as some parents liked (she was a kindergarten teacher after all) and, after the only multi-year period of stability the class had experienced, she has been removed and replaced by the 5th teacher in seven years for that class. The "leadership team" of the school has already interfered with the class and put kids in harm's way, and I just can't wait to see what fresh hell these kids will face next year (not through the new teacher, necessarily, but through the school leadership that wants to suddenly meddle with the class). Talk about your low expectations

Pete
post #36 of 47
my senior year calculus teacher was a former kindergarten teacher. she held the number "e" in her hand, and told stories about it. it was rather unusual. she was so intelligent, and overall a good teacher, but once someone teaches waldorf kindergarten, they keep it in their voice and behaviours.
post #37 of 47
In general, a Kindergarten teacher for a child is not considered suitable as a grades teacher for the same child because the relationship is so different between a child and their Kindergarten teacher and a child and their grade school teacher. My children love and cherish their Kindergarten teachers and call them by their first names. They have a very different relationship with their their class teachers whom they call by Mr. or Ms. so and so. They respect their class teacher but they don't love and cherish them like they do their Kindergarten teacher. Our Kindergarten teachers have been teachers for a long time and the older children (middle schoolers) still run up and hug their former Kindergarten teachers.

Also, I would say that much of the political stuff talked about here can be found at other private schools and to a lesser or different extent at public schools. My sister-in-law is a teacher in a public school and the office politics she talks about are hair raising. I also observed similar things happening at the Catholic High School I attended. It is dissappointing seeing it happen at a Waldorf school because I seem to expect so much more from them, but the faculty are human beings too and as such, often do not live up to their potential. The faculty should be respected for their accomplishments but not placed on pedestals. My dd's teacher is a returning teacher who is worshipped by a lot of the parents. He keeps telling our class that he is human and that he will make mistakes. He is a great guy but I don't expect him to be perfect.
post #38 of 47
Please forgive me but I have only skimmed the posts in this thread. I did want to share our experience though

my son was being bullied by another boy in his class. The teacher was so respectful when we brought it to her attention and said that she had begun to notice this as well. She made it a point of checking in with us regularly to see how our son was doing and to let us know what she had seen that day. She also did help our son come into his own as far as stating his needs and telling the other child how he felt. By the end of the year it was still a bit of a problem but the teacher was always watchful and was so supportive and reinforcing of my son when he finally told the other child "NO" and "PLEASE STOP". She would also intervene in the situation as necessary. It was the best situation I could have hoped for given what my son was going through (which could happen at any school). The teacher was just so attentive, supportive and loving toward my son through the whole experience.

Also, the administrator was aware of the situation and came to me to check in and see if i needed any further support and to see of i was ok with how our teacher was handeling things. I didn't have to go to her she came to me, which i thought was a veruy open and honest thing to do....she didn't try to sweep it under the rug in any way.

I must also say we attend a Waldorf Start Up/Inspired School...maybe this is the difference? But, our teacher just finished the teacher training so she was still educated in the same way. We were her first class and i must say i was a bit worried about that in the beginning...but she was a wonderful teacher in this and many other ways
post #39 of 47
Thread Starter 
If my friend had your experience with bullying I never would have asked this question in the first place.
post #40 of 47
kewb: I'm sorry, I just felt that I could add an experience that showed that not all waldorf schools are the same. I see that a previous poster stated that as well. I thought that sharing our experience might show that other Waldorf schools do support children in this type of situation in an appropriate and helpful way. A lot of posts were stating that Waldorf teachers deal with these types of situations as the "karma" of the children and do not intervene thereby creating a difficult situation for the children and their parents. I just felt that I could add a different view point and maybe that way assist you, your friend, or anyone else wondering about or experiencing these things.

I'm sorry that I offended you and was unhelpful to you. I hope your friend has much success with her situation.
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