Originally Posted by Lillian J
And it's true that there are also children who do very well with Waldorf schools and have none of those complaints! But I think those who are doing really well there could be instrumental in helping resolve some of the other very real problems that do come up over and over again - if only they could listen to and trust those who are going through them instead of turning their backs in order to discourage people from making waves. A friend of mine bumped into a mom the year after we were there, and was told in a dreamy tone, "Oh, it's so nice now that the people who didn't really want to be there are gone..."
I think there are issues with in Waldorf schools that are healthy for parents to complain about, and there are others that aren't. If parents discover they don't like the Waldorf educational philosophy, they shouldn't chose Waldorf. In those cases it isn't healthy to complain in those situations--it's just a contentious distraction.
If parents agree with the goal of the education, and at least have agreement in a broad, general sense with Waldorf's concept of child development, of course it's perfectly valid to complain if the school or teacher gets off track, or even if there are important adjustments that should be explored if something just 'isn't working'.
But if, as I've heard some parents do, the complaints are about practices that are fundamental to Waldorf, I could agree that 'they really didn't want to be there'. But that's a very different level of 'complaint'. Sometimes I think parents are looking in Waldorf for a mainstream education or a prep school education dressed up in pretty pictures, charming stories, and quaint festivals. They behave at times as if Waldorf faculty are silly little creatures that just don't 'know any better', rather than committed educators that have chosen to teach in a Waldorf school because they subscribe to the pedagogy
, not because they're ignorant
of educational practice.
But very often I see problems where both sides are right, especially those problems that involve a particular child, or even a group of children. The Waldorf system
isn't easily customized to meet the needs for every student.
For example, if a kindergartener is way
ready for 1st grade, and is actually taking away from the kindergarten more negatives than positives, not every teacher is gifted enough how to handle this. I've know one great teacher who handled this particular problem well, remaining consistent with Waldorf practice, but I've heard of many other instances where the teachers essentially ignored the problem, continuing to focus on the class as a whole. Of course
that parent has to complain! (Though maybe "complaining" isn't the best approach toward a solution, but you probably kwim).
we go in life, we can expect to get cr~p for making waves. It's human nature. (Or is it? I had a conversation with a co-worker once who was French, working in the US for only a year. He remarked how difficult it was to criticize or correct or offer feedback in professional life in the US because, as he put it, it's always taken personall
y here. In France, he said, you can go head-to-head all day with colleagues, and come five o'clock, everybody's put it away, are friendly, social, and having a good time together over a drink on the way home or whatever. In the US, he said, he was struggling to learn how to tip toe carefully through work related disagreements because he said in the US, everybody he worked with couldn't handle disapproval well. In my work life, I've noticed this too. People behave pretty childishly, gossip, form cliques, pout--I'm talking highly educated professionals! Sorry if this is too OT. I think it relates at one level, though.)