Teacher Education for Waldorf and Steiner Teachers

In Waldorf and Steiner schools, children are treated as whole people who bring mind, body and feelings to the learning process through creative art and movement activities. Continue reading to learn more about educational requirements and employment options for Waldorf and Steiner teachers.

Is Teacher Education for Waldorf and Steiner Teachers for Me?

Career Overview

The Waldorf or Steiner method of education was developed by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, in 1919. It is based upon a spiritual philosophy of human values and self-knowledge, as well as the use of imaginative play to develop creativity and promote learning. Traditional teaching responsibilities include developing lesson plans, providing instruction, assigning homework and assessing student work. In developing integrated lesson plans, you'll use art, drama, music and expressive physical movement, known as eurythmy, to help children acquire skills in language, mathematics and science.

Career Options and Professional Duties

As a preschool or kindergarten teacher, you'll introduce children to an educational setting that encourages social and intellectual development through play and learning basics. Patience and the ability to communicate concepts in a clear and age-appropriate manner is especially important at this level. While responsibilities at the elementary school level include instruction in reading, writing and mathematics, as a high school teacher, you might specialize in a specific subject, such as science. After some experience teaching in a Waldorf school, you may also pursue a job as a school administrator. In general, your duties might include developing curriculum, hiring teachers, preparing budgets and setting policies.

Employment and Salary Information

As of 2014, there were approximately 150 member schools in the North American Waldorf network (www.whywaldorfworks.org). Although specific salaries for Waldorf and Steiner teachers are not available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average salary of teachers in general ranged from $52,840 for kindergarten teachers to about $58,260 for high school teachers in May 2013. That same year, preschool teachers earned an average of $31,420 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work as a Waldorf and Steiner Teacher?

Teacher Preparation Programs

To become a teacher for a Waldorf or Steiner school, you must complete a program of study at one of the 14 teacher preparation centers in the United States and earn a Certificate in Waldorf Education. This is a holistic course of study that takes into consideration the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of child development. Curriculum emphasis is on creativity and a child's natural inclination to learn and includes topics in music, drawing and storytelling. Group processes and the social issues related to teaching may also be covered. In general, the program requires one year of full-time or up to three years of part-time study to complete.

Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree in education is not required for admission to a Waldorf training school. Undergraduate majors can include the fine arts, liberal arts or philosophy. As an aspiring high school teacher, you might pursue a degree in a specific content area, such as biology or history. While you do not need a license to work as a private school teacher, some Waldorf and Steiner centers offer a state teaching certificate, as well as a Master of Science in Education. If you are interested in educational leadership, you may also want to consider obtaining a master's degree in school administration.

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