Sunday, June 13, 2010


We're down to the last two weeks in the only home our children have known. It is challenging to guide them through this process of farewells and last times they do certain things and see certain people. Right now they are drinking in as much as they can. Saying goodbye has become so very important to all of us. I finish with school this week and will move on to packing. Slowly we are loosening the knots of our web here so we can slip out. It is a challenge for the children to be excited about the future when it won't have their good friends in them on a daily basis. So we plan to come visit next spring and hope that it will allow them to keep open a space for new friends to come and happiness to be a part of their lives long before they reunite with everyone here.

Like my children, I also find beginnings and endings the hardest. Routine and everyday life are very comforting and while I welcome physical change, on the social level it's very challenging for me. On some level I am very excited about the move, but on another I am still way too enmeshed in everything here to be able to picture where we will be in just six weeks from now.

The most important and sometimes the hardest thing in all this is of course to remind ourselves to be kind and gentle to one another. It is so easy to just think of our own needs, but in the case of the children that means one needs to connect with someone almost constantly while the other needs to be left alone. As the adults, we have to put our own needs aside a little more than usual to be able to help them. So it's going to be challenging! But hopefully by August we will have found our home (for at least a year) and will be ready to jump into the newness of it all.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

how to become a teacher

Teaching a First Grade at a Waldorf School is quite a task. You have to decide on how to teach your different blocks, choose your stories, figure out what archetypal characters to use to teach the math processes, write painting stories, design the "form" of your classroom by picking transition songs or verses, looking for or writing a play, sew beanbags, put the classroom together and oh yeah, tell a story in front of the whole school on the first day.

I've been spinning my wheels a bit trying to figure out how to get started on this. I'm a fairly analytical person who is still working very hard to get in touch with her inner artist (I've found her but she's a bit shy), so I've been trying to process this all. As I was speaking with one of my mentors the other day, a helpful idea emerged. We were talking about Lecture two in Study of Man and this idea of mental pictures and concepts, when it dawned that people understad concepts in different ways. There are those who really see them in their mind's eye. Then there are those who are most comfortable in movement, and those who "feel" if things are true or false. It's leading me back to the idea of learning styles, though it's not just about how you learn but about how you perceive the world. What are the primary sensory avenues I use as an individual? How can I create lessons out of that?

Turns out that there will be some movement and a whole lot of stories around the things we do, because my pictures tend to come out of words. Now if I do my work well, I'll be writing the stories for myself, then drawing pictures out of that, then adding the story back but with many fewer words. And of course there will always be much acting out of stories, because that is as natural to me as breathing.

Yes, I think this will work.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I can't believe it's only 6 or so weeks until we leave. Things are happening rather quickly with contracts on both houses, visit to school complete, lots of little details to take care of. I feel a bit insane at times with my head full of questions like: "are math gnomes the best way to go?" and "how do you figure out the best moving company?' and "should we ask for help and see who responds?" and "is the crazy neighbor going to ruin this for us?" and so on. You can imagine I'm not my most settled at this point.

But it feels good. The Wizard and I have been reflecting on our time here and to say we are ready to move on is a bit of an understatement. I can't wait, though I also can't fathom how I will get it all done between now and the end of August. One foot in front of the other. I look forward to writing a bit more here about my evolution as a teacher. So many questions to consider, from the right size and shape of beanbag to the Mood of the Fifth and beyond. I guess that's where faith comes in: the belief that it's all going to come together in a good way. Onward.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

one step forward

Things can turn on a dime, change in an instant. A few weeks ago I flew into a small town to visit a school. It was raining, gray and uninviting. I didn't much like the town and told the Wizard that night that I wanted to get on the next plane home so I could spend the break with my children. The next day came and I got to meet the school, and I fell in love with it. Now, almost a month later, our whole family is going back so my children and I can meet our new classes and the Wizard can scope out housing.

Every day more people in our community learn that we are leaving, and it truly feels bittersweet. While we have lamented not having close friends where we have been for 12 years, we do nevertheless have a community here that has supported us during the last three years. Add to that the overwhelm of getting and having a house on the market and all that two jobs and a 45 minute commute entail, and you have the right ingredients to something looking more like a pity party than a celebration. It is at these times that I wish our families were closer, because once again the Wizard and I are doing it all alone, and it's a bit more than we can both comfortably handle. But happily, in a few more months we will be able to settle into the future and live with the knowledge that our children will get to grow up in a small town. And that has to be worth it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

life continues to be mysterious

Happy Spring - almost. After a very long and harsh winter for our latitude, the temperatures have risen and the flowers are starting to grow. As we breathe out into the garden for the first time in many months, we still find ourselves at a crossroads. Much learning has ensued, life isn't necessarily any more clear though.

I began the process of my job search in October, interviewed with what was my dream school, and then progressively learned that things aren't always what they seem. Politics and such are present in the most polished looking organization (perhaps especially there) and priorities shift. At this point I'm not closer to having a job but I know much more of what is really important to me and the family.

So the search continues. I visited one school that felt like "the place" for me, and all looked most excellent until a more senior teacher expressed interest in the position and I was asked to contact them again next year. So the question is whether I should keep looking elsewhere, or wait until something opens up in the community we have longed to be a part of for 15 years.

I continue to explore to find out. More meetings set up in a couple of weeks, meaning more time away from my family. It can be stressful being in the middle of these life changes and not knowing what the future brings, but in the meantime we remember that it's all good. We have so many options, and none of them are bad. Some of them are much preferred, but while we all get to dream we don't always get to determine the timeline in which our dreams come true. Things that are really worthwhile, are also worth waiting for. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Friday, December 4, 2009


When I set out to become a Waldorf class teacher, I had a vision of the place, the children, the colleagues and the way I would be operating in all of it. After three years of teaching it has become clear that to manifest that vision will require a physical move of many hundreds of miles. The Wizard and I are busy putting one foot in front of the other to make our dream come true.

Sometimes I cannot believe how blessed I am. Three years ago I enrolled one of my children at our Waldorf School, very part time. By the following summer I was able to send both children and I had a job there, allowing me to gain experience and send my children where they needed to be. A number of friends pointed out to me how setting my intention was so hugely important in making a dream become reality.

The dream has shifted. I've been lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn for three years. I have my own classroom to develop my skills, but I've also been able to observe, substitute and student teach with a number of really gifted Waldorf teachers. Through artistic work I have learned to open my heart and receive the insights I need to support a group of children through their eight years. I am now less sure of my skills but more aware of my center; a humbling experience. At this time it feels like I need to take the plunge.

I have recently had the opportunity to apply for a job at my dream school (I won't hear back for a few weeks yet), two other schools in consideration have posted jobs, and I've landed an internship with two of the best teachers I know, all after a season of seeing things fall through. Once again my friends tell me that my determination is helping me put into place what my family needs. I chose to see it as a gift.

The biggest gift however has been visiting another school and learning that freed from the circumstances I now work under, I am able to truly find my center and connect with a multitude of children and adults on a level that feels carried from the outside. So as I go into Advent and the meditations of the Holy Nights, I focus my vision on achieving my dream: a position at a particular school in a specific caring community, in a geographic location that The Wizard and I have always felt as a healing tonic for our family. I hope to see my dream become manifest, for finding another dream will be a huge challenge. But I know that the universe has a plan and will reveal it all when the time is right. It is an exciting time and it's a little scary, but more than anything there is enormous gratitude for having this chance to dream.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

dearly departed

Feel the way we look up lovingly
To the heights that are now calling
You to different tasks from life on earth
Give to all your friends you left here
Of your strength from spirit spheres.

Listen to our souls' beseeching
That now intimateley asks you:
For our work on earth we require
Forces strong from spirit lands
That our friends now dead can give us.

'tis a hope that makes us joyful,
'tis a loss that hurts us deeply;
Let us hope that you, now farnear,
Never lost, our life may brighten
As a soul-star in the spirit realms.

Translation of Rudolf Steiner verse by P. Hoffmann