“How do you become a Waldorf teacher?” This is one of the most common questions Sarah gets asked. Today we will explore the rich journey to becoming a teacher in a Waldorf school and the many paths you can take to answer this calling.
When Sarah stepped into a Waldorf kindergarten for the first time, she was simply looking for a school for her young child. Instead, she had an “aha moment” that would change the course of her life. Looking around the classroom, she was taken with the environment. The smell of beeswax and baking bread, little wool slippers lined up by the door, and the joy on the faces of the children playing outdoors. Everything about it was magical. Shortly after that classroom tour, she was enrolled in a course for Waldorf teacher training.
Two Big Commitments
When you become a Waldorf teacher, you make two commitments that will be the foundation for your practice. The first is to each student in your class; a commitment to nurture their spirits and help them reach their highest potential as human beings. This is one of the most fulfilling aspects of Steiner education, but it is not the only part of being a Waldorf teacher.
To provide the children with the best Waldorf education possible, you must also commit to your own personal development and inner work. This is integral to becoming a well-rounded and effective Waldorf teacher. During the foundational year of teacher training you study Rudolf Steiner’s works, but there are also artistic activities like painting, gardening, handwork and more. It’s like your own personal Waldorf education, helping you recognize and connect with all of the aspects of being a fully realized human being and making you better equipped to guide your students through their own journeys.
Finding Accredited Programs
There are 14 accredited teacher training programs in North America, including programs in Canada and Mexico. The duration and schedule of each may vary, but there are typically part-time and full-time options available. For example, a part-time program might be three years long, requiring a summer intensive and a few weeks throughout the rest of the year. Full-time programs are less prevalent, take two years to complete, and include working 4-5 days a week in a Waldorf classroom.
The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) is an excellent resource for those seeking a career in Waldorf education. You can find information on teacher preparation courses, financing and grants, and more. Visit them at www.waldorfeducation.org.