"Sometimes the lessons are beyond words."
Teaching horticulture is a great chance to encourage curiosity about the world and strengthen the students' experience of the land. Except that the job came with strings attached: three young pigs that happened to reside near the green house. Whenever they escaped, somehow I was responsible. On one occasion they escaped during a geometry lesson. I was summoned to round them up. Our class shifted gears immediately. The pigs had made their way across the soccer fields and disappeared into the woods! With much rattling of buckets filled with food we were able to locate them and persuade them to return to their pen. The lesson that day: be prepared for contingencies and learn to respond quickly.
Sometimes the lessons are beyond words, such as last year on a projects block in Northern Spain, walking the Camino with ten students or in the hills of Galicia— hauntingly beautiful. One morning just after sunrise we walked through O Cebreiro and looked down into the valley below. It was as if we were above an ocean full of islands—rather like Avalon. We were full of wonder at the beauty and magic of that place. To share such a moment with students is very special.
I realized years ago that much of what passes for education is one-sided. The choice of subject matter isn’t usually informed by insight into the developmental needs of the students. This is what Waldorf education does; mirror the stages of a young person’s development, encouraging thinking with a creative as well as an analytical component.
I’m lucky. In my everyday life, I work in this beautiful place with colleagues who are flexible and not dogmatic. While working out of an Anthroposophical foundation we are able to experiment—and respond to what is happening at the moment in a deep and authentic way. This is essential if we are to keep engaging students in the learning process.
That each of us is working toward this common goal is what keeps me at this work.Liverpool University – B.A. Economics with HonorsManchester University – M.A. Agricultural EconomicsUniversity of Connecticut – Ph.D. Agricultural EconomicsEmerson College, England – Waldorf Teacher Training