Thoughts about class size in the grades - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 03:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm really starting to have a meltdown here. My son is so prepared and eager to go into the first grade and they still don't have a teacher...I just can't tell him 100% that he's going. I keep saying that mommy and daddy will meet the teacher and decide but he says "I just know she'll be so nice"...

Forgive me, I'm a little hormonal but I just don't so good with ambiguity (a little life lesson here I suppose).

Any support?

Thanks.
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#32 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 09:45 AM
 
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Well, they just hired a teacher at SWS in Seattle this past weekend. The 1st grade families met her on Sunday. She is from California. I had heard through the grapevine that the other candidate was from a Waldorf charter school in CA. I wonder if the charter schools are having some difficulty this year hiring and keeping teachers.

You know, I would call the school and ask for an update. How close are they to hiring someone? Will they hire someone before the end of the school year?

I hope for your sake they hire someone soon. Waiting around is the worst thing.
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#33 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're not at a charter but what a shame to know that everyone is vying for the same teachers.

They've said they will notify us as soon as they know...I've asked so many times but it seems we may be finishing up the year without knowing who the teacher will be.

Well, I really need to work on dealing with not knowing and accepting that we'll deal with whatever comes...as I said a good lesson for me but very uncomfortable.
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#34 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 01:20 PM
 
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I'm so sorry, mijumom. I understand in theory why schools would need to require large deposits on their prospective students, but it seems somewhat insensitive to expect parents to pony up hundreds of dollars for the deposit when the school doesn't even have a teacher lined up.

There just aren't enough trained Waldorf teachers to meet the demand. And every year I see great Waldorf teachers with years of experience decide they need to move on to other ventures. A year sabatical is often taken by teachers after the end of their 8th grade year. And this year our eighth grade teacher, who has taken at least two and maybe three classes through the full eight years, has decided to teach in the high school. Many go on to teach new teachers, which is very valuable too, but that means one less experienced class teacher in the pool schools have to choose from.

At least you know that your school is deciding between two candidates! It's too bad you couldn't meet them both.......maybe you'd find you'd be very pleased to have either one of them . But the selection committee at your school has met them both...hopefully that might explain why they haven't felt pushed to make the final selection yet.

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#35 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't get the impression they're impressed with either candidate because they've started to give messages like "by September we'll have a wonderful teacher..."

I only gave part of the deposit, I just can't do the whole thing.

I'll keep you posted.

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#36 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 04:35 PM
 
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Anyone would be stressed in your situation mujimom. I hope you know soon!
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#37 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
I don't get the impression they're impressed with either candidate because they've started to give messages like "by September we'll have a wonderful teacher..."

I only gave part of the deposit, I just can't do the whole thing.

I'll keep you posted.

How awful, I'm so sorry. They're signalling you won't know until SEPT?

A Waldorf teacher would have a very difficult challenge getting off to a good beginning if he or she has no time to prepare prior to the start of the year.

Thanks for remembering us in your updates, mijumom. It's such a difficult position for you to be in, I'm so sorry!

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#38 of 57 Old 06-07-2006, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I just don't know. I think they are trying to make the point that one way or the other, come september we'll have a great teacher, not necessarily that it won't be sooner. Maybe I should ask for clarification.

Thanks.
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#39 of 57 Old 06-15-2006, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No teacher. :
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#40 of 57 Old 06-15-2006, 10:17 PM
 
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They haven't been able to hire ANYONE? Oh no...

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#41 of 57 Old 06-15-2006, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, to their credit, they haven't settled which I had feared they would. Not sure what the alternative will be if no one shows up who is up to par but they are supposed to be updating us soon. Honestly, I would rather not have my kids start with a sucky teacher and then have to switch. None of this feels good but, I am relieved that they will not give us a mediocre teacher and try to say he/she is wonderful. They are really trying. What does that mean for us? Possibly homeschooling if there is no resolution by September. The trauma is my son's unwavering commitment to the fact that he is going next year no matter what.

I'm not thrilled about the communication. I think they know more than they tell us but have to figure out how to make it pallatable to the parents. If my kid wasn't so immersed, this would be a no-brainer and we would just move on. But, we are staying open to the possibility that this may just be a bumpy road to something wonderful...

Thanks for your support.
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#42 of 57 Old 06-16-2006, 11:08 AM
 
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Often it is difficult for the school to answer questions because they are personnel related which makes it very frustrating. Both of the candidates for SWS's 1st grade teacher were from CA. Is it expensive where you live? That might be a factor in it too. How much the school is willing to pay and the cost of living in the area.
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#43 of 57 Old 06-16-2006, 12:00 PM
 
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I think it is wonderful that you are really listening to your son and trusting that his intuition is real and that the school means something to him. I hope deeply that he won't be dissapointed and that things will work out. If they don't, he'll be okay. Especially cause he will know you believed him and trusted him and tried to make his vision happen for him.

It's just really inspiring mothering you're describing.

Fingers crossed for you.
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#44 of 57 Old 06-16-2006, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think they have a plan for if they don't find the teacher (a mother who is more "connected" hinted to this). I just am not crazy about having to dig for information because they kind of placate me and tell me to just be patient. Most information I have gotten has been from other parents who are more involved in the inner workings. I realize that gossip or chatter between parents is not their preferred route of information exchange (they really frown upon it) so, I kind of resent having to go this route due to lack of disclosure from the faculty. A bit of a catch 22. Clearly some parents know more than others, that's a little unnerving.

Astoria-I appreciate the kind words about my parenting. I'm not sure if I understand completely. I feel very "un-waldorf" giving so much weight and credence to my son's "feelings" about his school. He likes his friends and has never experienced school anywhere else. He has no concept of what the grades are really about. He very much enjoys and finds meaning in eating icecream and watching tv (you should see his devestation when I say no). I don't think it is possible that his vision will be fulfilled as he cannot envision that which he has no understanding or experience of. It's funny, I know you are being utterly supportive, somehow your words have made me clearer that I need to be the parent here and decide what is going to make sense. I can't be tormented by my son's attachment to something he can't put into any context. I haven't found Waldorf education to be very supportive of allowing much authority to the children, on the contrary, if I ask him what he wants to do in front of most teachers, they look at me almost admonishingly like "what're you asking him for? you're the parent". So, if I take a Waldorf approach to this, there should be little conversation about this and My husband and I should figure it out and tell him what is going to happen as a matter of fact. That is not really my parenting style. I have listened to his thoughts on this and he is aware that we will take it all into consideration and ultimatley, we will make the choice we feel is best for him (and our family).

This is a tough line to walk especially because I'm getting fed up with the situation and I'm not comfortable leaving it up to fate or my son's superficial idea about what will happen next year. I do not diminish his deep connection with his friends and the beautiful environment of his school...what more does a child think about? Certainly not, the quality of his teacher, the curriculum he will learn, the policies of his school with regard to discipline etc. I have to be the one to weigh everything.

Sorry to be so sensitive. I'm really struggling and I don't want to feel like I destroyed his vision if we don't decide this is the right place for us. It also feels ridiculous to spend money we don't even have to send him to a school we don't want to deal with based on the fact that he "wants" to go there.

With more information it will become clearer, I just know it.

Thanks again, all of your words do lead to more clarity.
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#45 of 57 Old 06-16-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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I'm glad that the conversation is giving you some clarity! I don't mean to be giving personal advice here at all, just support. Forgive me if my comment was too personal. Just for clarification...

Personally I agree that it can be too much for a child if we are constantly asking him what to do. I totally agree that it gives the child comfort to be parented and have clarity rather than indecision greet them. But, I would add to that, that a parent who is *not* asking the child what to do, is still deeply attuned to her child. I don't ask my child, do you want a nap now? But I know and see his cues and tell him gently that its nap time because I see him needing it. I'm responding to the child even though I'm not presenting the child with choices. Reading him, if you will and giving him what he needs, not necessarily what he would ask for.

I was commenting that I see you doing that. You want to honor him, and you are hearing him. You don't want to feel guilty if you make a choice that he isn't capable of understanding or asking for, and you shouldn't! But clearly, his feelings are being honored and factored into your thought process -- so much so that its giving you a bit of stress. And that's great (not the stress part!) What I was affirming is that even if you make a decision he doesn't want, you are attuned to him and taking his feelings seriously, and he'll be okay however it works out because a child can sense that kind of love and concern and because they know if they can trust the authority and good sense of their parent.

For me, my son has been to a regular pre-K and all his friends are going to public kindergarten. I've been watching him and paying close attention to whether Waldorf appeals mostly to me (which *is* important, what I think matters) or to him. Part of what is swaying me towards it is honoring the fact that sure my son loves tv, but he really resonates with the place -- he loves visiting it, he's letting me know he prefers it, and I'm hearing him. But that doesn't mean I am a slave to that -- if we can't afford it or can't make it happen or I don't believe a teacher is right for him, he wouldn't be sent there. But I'm weighing his resonance with the place in with the other factors.

Good luck.
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#46 of 57 Old 06-16-2006, 05:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
I feel very "un-waldorf" giving so much weight and credence to my son's "feelings" about his school. He likes his friends and has never experienced school anywhere else. He has no concept of what the grades are really about. He very much enjoys and finds meaning in eating icecream and watching tv (you should see his devestation when I say no). I don't think it is possible that his vision will be fulfilled as he cannot envision that which he has no understanding or experience of. It's funny, I know you are being utterly supportive, somehow your words have made me clearer that I need to be the parent here and decide what is going to make sense. I can't be tormented by my son's attachment to something he can't put into any context. I haven't found Waldorf education to be very supportive of allowing much authority to the children, on the contrary, if I ask him what he wants to do in front of most teachers, they look at me almost admonishingly like "what're you asking him for? you're the parent". So, if I take a Waldorf approach to this, there should be little conversation about this and My husband and I should figure it out and tell him what is going to happen as a matter of fact. That is not really my parenting style. I have listened to his thoughts on this and he is aware that we will take it all into consideration and ultimatley, we will make the choice we feel is best for him (and our family).
I hope the school situation gets settled for you soon. Something you wrote here really strikes a cord. We've been involved with waldorf since dd#1 was 1, chucked the tv around the same time. I'm thinking about pulling dd#1 from the school and homeschooling her instead(she'll be in her 2nd year kinder this year). She loves school, mainly her friends from school. And I struggle with the decision of pulling her out. She loves to be with me, but she also loves school (she doesn't like her teacher, but thats another story). The school is not run very well (a lot of teachers leaving). We've hired a few replacements but still needing to hire 1 more class teacher and 2 more special subject teachers. I have mentioned homeschooling to her, but ultimately dh and I will decide. I never thought about this as being waldorf thinking but after reading your post, I guess it really is. I feel that I as her parent need to take responsibility for her well being and the well being of our family(waldorf cap on). But then a little part of me (the part that has been reading about unschooling) is giving me doubts. Sorry for going on and on... I guess I should start a new thread.
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#47 of 57 Old 06-16-2006, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamas- Finding the balance is so difficult and I too vascilate between a child-led unschooling approach and Waldorf's rather rigid authoritative approach (which resonates with me too). At least we're trying. Hopefully not driving ourselves crazy in the process.

There is no perfect choice and I'm trying to make the best choice given the information I have. So, I have to assume, the more information I get, the clearer it will be. Sadly, the more I see with regard to the school's handling of issues, the less interested I am in commiting to being there and the more I see my son's enthusiasm and eagerness to stay there the more I feel like a jerk for considering another choice. Until I have clarity, i have to try to chill.

Astoria- Thanks for the clarification. I didn't mean to get aggressive. I have some personal issues with the authoritarian nature of the school. I feel, even as a parent, kind of condescended to. Can I reconcile those feelings? We'll see.

Hopefully, they'll get organized and give us some cohesive information soon.

Oh, we live in a very expensive city and yes this makes it nearly impossible for teachers to work here and have a decent lifestyle. Such a shame for teachers in general that they are not compensated for their dedication. OT
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#48 of 57 Old 07-28-2006, 03:25 AM
 
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Mujimom, do you have a teacher yet?
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#49 of 57 Old 07-28-2006, 03:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been thinking about updating but have been apprehensive because the nature of our school's situation is so specific and I guess I'm paranoid that I won't have anonymity or the liberty to write candidly.

But since you asked, they got a teacher to cover only the first grade and they will continue to look for a teacher for the following years. Obviously it is a very unconventional resolution for a Waldorf school but I'm glad they didn't settle for a candidate that wasn't up to par. It also means that we will be dealing with the big question again for next year...the agony.

I think the clarity I have gained is that we need to take this school thing one year at a time. I always feel like it is all or nothing with Waldorf but, that's not who we are so we will just have to be adaptable if it is not working in the future. For now, if we can scrape up the money, I think we are going to stay.

:
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#50 of 57 Old 07-28-2006, 10:07 AM
 
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I can't remember if your school is charter or private. A lot of the charters are facing difficulties hiring. We had several candidates who were looking to leave their charter school.

I hope the right teacher comes along soon. Your preserverance is admirable. I am not sure I could have stuck it out! Remember also that after 3rd grade it is usually a lot easier to transfer and that transfers after 1st or 2nd can be done too, they just take more work on the parent's part.

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#51 of 57 Old 07-28-2006, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is a private school.

We are not thrilled with the situation but we do think this is the best option available. I would homeschool but through conversing with my son, I learned that he is very nervous about having to write...that really made it clear to me that Waldorf is the best place to handle that and if I am homeschooling it will be a battle. I don't know if I'm making sense. He's very bright and is starting to read, I think a year that really focuses meticulously on writing will be just what he needs and then he will be more equipt to move elsewhere if necessary.

Thanks so much for your interest.
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#52 of 57 Old 08-02-2006, 01:29 PM
 
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I'm so glad for you that at least the issue is resolved for this upcoming year!

I know this may not necessarily be the typical Waldorf ed blueprint, but I think that it's better to have two or three teachers from 1 thru 8 if they're each strong teachers for particular aged children--better than it is to have a single Waldorf teacher with significant weaknesses with particular ages. I've seen teachers who are fantastic with some grades, and not necessarily a good match with others. If there was more of a formal, organizational acknowledgment that just because a teacher can't best meet the needs of twelve year olds does not mean they should be precluded from consideration for seven, eight, nine year olds, or vice versa. Unfortunately, when every single Waldorf teacher is expected to fulfill the complete 1-8th "package", there can be a lot of acrimony when a certain teacher turns out to be less successful than they should be in certain grades, and are (or should be) terminated. I don't know if that's the circumstance involved in your case, but I'm just remembering a teacher my son had for just one year. She was *perfect* for the main lessons in that particular year, and her guidance upon the class in that one year had a lasting impact. But she left the class because she realized she just didn't have the strength and endurance to be a 100% present Waldorf teacher year upon year. She gave so much of herself, and just couldn't recharge at the pace needed to keep up with the needs of the children.

So I hope all this works out for you as it did for my son in his class. Have you met the teacher yet?

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#53 of 57 Old 08-02-2006, 02:43 PM
 
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At two schools I've seen teachers pulling back from a class when they didn't feel up to going on, taking a bit of time off, and then returning to do the next first grade. I've also seen teachers who were really good with 6-8th grade just doing upper grades. So some schools are becoming more realistic about this.

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#54 of 57 Old 08-03-2006, 09:32 AM
 
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There is some discussion at our school about having 2 teachers take a class, one 1-4 and the other 5-8. At the very least, offering that option to teachers.
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#55 of 57 Old 08-03-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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From what I've seen, 1-5, 6-8 would work better.

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#56 of 57 Old 08-07-2006, 02:40 AM
 
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At my sons school (Australia) his class 5/6 size is 30 children & the age difference between to oldest and youngest is 3 years. There are only 6 original children that started there when they were 4yrs old. We also have a number of non English speaking international students. The main lessons are about to be split as it is becomming near impossible to meet all the childrens needs. Recently the state tests.ie: Basic skills test (for yrs 3 & 5) were held and my son was the only child from class 5 to not sit it (I have to say I thought more would do the same) as a result he spent 2 days solely with the yr 6 group (15 Ch) and said it was the two best days he has ever had at school!! It was so much quieter and he could sit and do his work.
His teacher is wonderful but I am looking very forward to those split main lessons!

Warmly
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#57 of 57 Old 08-08-2006, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry it has taken me a while to check back in. Yes, I've met the teacher and she is very nice...not sure if she really knows what she's getting into but she's an adventurous spirit and I think it will be a good year.

I think that the discussion about how long the teachers should carry a class is interesting but not really what this situation is about. It was the school's intention to honor the pedagogy and hire a teacher for longer than one year, they just couldn't find one who would do it. I think this hiring was a bit of a desperate move but I'm okay with her and I actually like that she doesn't come in with a lot of preconceived ideas. There is certainly a difference between making a consciencious choice to doing things differently and being stuck.

If i sound a little irked, I am. But, I still think it will be a great year and I will have to take it as it comes...

Thanks for staying in touch.
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