I have been pretty quiet on this blog for many reasons. My eldest graduated from lower school last March and after that, I felt the need to disengage from everything Waldorf and really breathe out.
Being an active Waldorf parent is not easy, especially if you are a student of Anthroposophy. It ups your expectations of teachers and the school, which makes it difficult for all. Of all the schools here in the Philippines, it’s safe to say that the Manila Waldorf School in Timberland Heights is the most stable and established. The Gamot Cogon school in Iloilo I would also put up there. The rest I would consider still in pioneering stage and that is always challenging.
My child had to go through so many teachers, many of whom I felt were a terrible fit. In a Waldorf school, every time you have teacher issues, you will most likely be told that every teacher your child gets is the teacher they’re meant to have. Yes, could be, if every effort has been made to hire capable and qualified teachers. Otherwise, that’s just a cop out statement. Fortunately, my eldest finally got a teacher whom I felt was a true Waldorf teacher (is there such a thing? Yes, I think so.) and I was able to breathe easier. But I have two children and my younger one has only now, in the 5th grade, finally gotten a strong teacher. I wish I could say it was a different individual, but it isn’t. After she graduated my eldest’s, this teacher swung around and took on my younger one’s class. I no longer worry that my child is getting a Steiner education, or even just a sound education! Now I know he has a teacher he loves and respects, who is a true loving authority and a striving individual who is also a student of Anthroposophy. So now I have breathing space and I have gratefully taken advantage of it.
If you end up in a new school, be prepared to get to work. If your help and suggestions are gratefully accepted and everyone is willing to work towards getting the school to be the best it can be, great! If they are only grudgingly tolerated and then dropped, well, learn to learn to step back and let go and see if other avenues for engagement open up. I believe that being a parent in a Waldorf school in the Philippines will continue to be a struggle, if you are the kind of parent who cares very much about the kind of education your child gets. Waldorf Education should not be all fluff. If it is a true education then there must be a real striving towards both structure and substance. It ought to be creative, dynamic, and meets the child where they are as they grow.
To be effective anywhere, it’s good to be able to determine when it is time to step back, breathe out, and enjoy life. The lack of posts on this blog of late is a good sign that I am striving for such a balance!