These prompts for reflection have been gathered (and modified) from the input of multiple experienced teachers. Steiner insisted that the best teachers, in the classroom or at home, would always end the year – or the day – or the lesson – wishing they could have done better. It’s this clear observation, humble reflection, and resolve to always take one more step to improve that makes good teachers. The children learn from the striving of the teacher. Nothing needs to be said. Waldorf education is not about downloading information!
1. Have I given the students real and appropriate images or pictures in my story-telling or have I given them bare concepts/ judgments?
2. Have I used the night? Have I used the thread of anticipation? Did I offer something one day, let them sleep on it, and has it come back differently the next day from the children? Have I properly reviewed the lesson? (This is when learning is reinforced)
3. Has every child made at least some effort?
4. Have I met the needs of the ‘engine’ and the ‘caboose’, and of every child in between?
5. Have I checked in – however briefly – with each child?
6. Have I remembered that handwork is not just about hands – have I offered something to think about, and have I addressed the children’s feelings for beauty, order, and pride in their well-done work?
7. Was there an ebb and flow, a real breathing in the lesson? Do the children learn joyously?
8. Have I addressed the temperaments?
9. Have I taught or anticipated teaching something new – a new skill, some knowledge or a variation on an existing theme?
These questions are adapted from the suggestions which can be found in my book, Teaching Through Stories: Jane and Jeremy Learn to Knit.