Dateline Wilton NH: Welcome to the New Cohort of High School TeachersPosted August 12, 2012
Each summer, the Center for Anthroposophy launches another cycle of its three-summers Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center and chair of this program, outlines the new group.
They are getting younger! Just under half of the new intake of 14 high school teachers are in their 20s and none has broken the barrier of 50.
And yet, despite their youth, fully two-thirds of them are already working in a Waldorf high school somewhere in North America, from the Californian and Canadian Pacific to the Southeastern and New England shores of the Atlantic. Their homes are far flung: in all, they hail from 10 states of the Union as well as from Canada, Argentina, and Taiwan.
Indeed, as of this summer, all of the world’s six inhabited continental landmasses––Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America––as well as the Middle East are represented among the three levels of students of the high school teacher education program.
Taken together, the new group also populates the full range of the six subject specializations offered in the high school program: arts and art history, English language and literature (including modern languages), history and social sciences, life and earth sciences, mathematics and computer studies, physics and chemistry.
Of the 14 new trainees, just under a third are “second generation” Waldorf teachers (that is, their parents worked in Waldorf schools) and therefore experienced Waldorf schools also as students, some of them from pre-school all the way through high school.
During their first summer, the group began with a one-week intensive course entitled “Self Education through Intuitive Thinking and Artistic Perception”, led by Signe Motter from the Waldorf School of Princeton. In subsequent weeks they undertook pedagogical studies with high school teachers Michael D’Aleo and Douglas Gerwin, along with a variety of workshops in the arts and specialist subject seminars led by a team of experienced high school teachers: Meg Gorman (Santa Fe Waldorf School), Michael Holdrege (Chicago Waldorf School), David Sloan (Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport ME), Patrick Stolfo (Hawthorne Valley School), and Jamie York (Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder CO).
Each summer WHiSTEP admits a new class of 10-15 students. The new group is studying alongside students in the second and third year levels of the high school program as well as trainees in the Waldorf elementary teacher education program of Antioch University New England. In all, these programs have about 120 teachers enrolled in training. All of these summer programs are held on the adjacent campuses of Pine Hill Waldorf School and High Mowing School in Southeastern New Hampshire.
Since its inception in July 1996, some 121 high school trainees have completed this part-time three-summers program. Overall, around 65% of current and graduated high school teachers are working full or part-time at some 55 Waldorf schools in the English-speaking world. As of this year, WHiSTEP students or graduates are active in 33 of the 40 Waldorf high schools extant in North America, from coast to coast and every region in between.