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SolarGarlic
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Hey all,

So I am about 3 weeks away from finishing my Ed. degree and I couldn't be more excited! Now, I have to find a job!! Ive interviewed with the public board and all went well...well enough that I suspect I will be offered a position for the fall. However, Im not a big fan of the way education is being taught in these local public schools and Im afraid that I just won't be satisfied with it. Im looking into private/charter schools and also checking a bunch of "alternative" schools out here in AB and BC. Just wondering if anyone has anything good or bad to say about Waldorf schooling or if anyone has any experiece with it?? I have read a lot about them, Steiner and all that, Im just curious if any of the hip folks around here have any input....thanks! Looking forward to joining the teacher "club".

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Just wondering how you're not satisfied with how public education is going if you're not yet seeing it first-hand? Wouldn't it be better to get in the system and se it, try to change it through your teaching style rather than immediately give up? Kids are the same everywhere, and if you don't like the public system, there's a good chance the kids there need fresh new teachers the most.

Just an outsider's thoughts....

Can't help you with your questions though, sorry.

AD

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Just wondering how you're not satisfied with how public education is going if you're not yet seeing it first-hand? Wouldn't it be better to get in the system and se it, try to change it through your teaching style rather than immediately give up? Kids are the same everywhere, and if you don't like the public system, there's a good chance the kids there need fresh new teachers the most.

Ive actually spent the last 2 years doing practicums and research within the public system..you tend to get an idea from the faculty you work with and the "general" student population within the program about what the typical and observed dominant culture is and what sort of climate you'll be working in. It's not the kids that Im worried about, its more the philosophy and teaching practice that certain school boards adhere to. In this town, things are very conservative and dominated by a certain sector of Canadian society that don't generally agree with (and this could happen anywhere really). Im looking for something, a school of thought or philosophy I supose, that I can identify with. Education is a LARGE field and Ill most likely have to take my lumps, but I'd rather not ;) Im certainly not giving up as I have had some GREAT experiences so far...and you're right when you're talking about lending my fresh perspective to these schools.....Cheers.

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Hey. I been a qualified teacher only for about 5 years. I had the same feelings about the public system and didn't go for it. I considered trying to change the system from the inside... and tried for a while when I was a temp, but I was dumbed down... and felt quite burnt by the whole experience. Among other things I was told, "Fun is not a part of the Ontario curriculum" no kidding. At the time I was single, turning to the private school system was easy...now the health benefits and pension of the public system would mean more to me as I have a family. Still, I dont find myself considering it.

The Waldorf schools are fantastic. Their curriculum is designed to match the development of the child and has a more holistic focus with social skills and inter/intrapersonal development being one of the top priorities. My one criticism is that you'll find that sometimes the faculty seem to take themselves a little too seriously.

I was offered a position at a Waldorf school and was thrilled. I didn't take it because the drive would have been over an hour. I taught at another private school instead, very different but still there was artistic freedom and that was important to me.

I highly recommend the Waldorf schools... unfortunately they dont pay well and if there are benefits they are minimal. However, you'll find most teachers have been there a long long time - testament to their job satisfaction. There's an amazing sense of community in the schools. When my son reaches school age, we'll be seriously considering the Waldorf schools. And if I reach a point where I'm considering teaching again, the Waldorf schools will be my first consideration.

Best of luck.

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Personally, I preach subversion.

The public system is where great teachers are needed the most. And while the system is not perfect, it is managable. Remember, once the door shuts to the class, it is really all about you (not the admin). However, it is important that if you are going to enter the system with a predisposition as such, better not to come in at all.

Either way, congrats on the grad. Good luck and I hope you reaps the rewards I feel lucky enough to get today (despite the fact I just spent from 8am to now marking)

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Personally, I preach subversion.

The public system is where great teachers are needed the most. And while the system is not perfect, it is managable. Remember, once the door shuts to the class, it is really all about you (not the admin). However, it is important that if you are going to enter the system with a predisposition as such, better not to come in at all.

This is one thing I have been wrestling with. I know that teachers who take a more holistic and creative view towards the world and teaching are needed in our public schools...however, I value my sanity and I value my own time as well. It certainly helps to see the different points of view....all relative notes of experience welcome!

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Scottieking... I agree with you. I think you and I have had this conversation before. I think the public school system is lucky to have you. But do you not think that it depends on the school - how much freedom you get? I have found the amount of emphasis placed on the official curriculum varies from school to school (talking only public here...)

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I have to agree with Scottie on this one.. I have found in my limited experience that once that door closes, it is "your classroom." Sure, its not perfect, but there definitely is value. If you prefer alternative schooling systems, well the best of luck, but, I wouldn't give up on the public system because of bad experiences during your practice teaching... Wait until you have your own classroom--different story.

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If you prefer alternative schooling systems, well the best of luck, but, I wouldn't give up on the public system because of bad experiences during your practice teaching... Wait until you have your own classroom--different story.

Certainly isn't a question of preference at this point and I actually havn't had any bad experiences that make me want to give up on the public system...just doing some soul searching, poking and looking around really. Again, knowing that there are many teachers of all ability and experience here, your insight is appreciated!

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Ditto to what scottieking, kitkat, and numerodos have said so far. I've been a teacher in the public high school system for the last 15 years, and for the most part, have enjoyed the job. There is a surprising amount of freedom in my job, despite the huge number of guidelines and restrictions placed on me by the ministry and administrators. I think some of this freedom comes from teaching in an elective area (Business and Law) ... often I'm the only teacher of a particular course, and there isn't the pressure of teaching to a standardized test.

I am a teacher, I teach chilren, and I will do the best job that I can in that role, given the system that I have to work within. And so far I've found enough flex in the system to suit my personality and style. But there are roadblocks and frustrations, that's for sure.

Having said that, I still question the validity, general approach, and effectiveness of our public education system. But ditto for many of our large public systems ... just look at the current state of our legal or health care systems.

When I find myself pissed at the view of some of my colleagues, or at the ministry, or at board or school officials, I do what many teachers do ... shut the classroom door and do what seems to be best for the kids in the classroom.

And yes, the public education system pays reasonably well, especially when compared to many private school jobs. That matters, and matters even more now that I have my own children that I have to support.

Peace, Mark

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Spent many years in the public system and I'm with Ad, Scottie, Mark and folks on this one. The system (and the kids within it) desperately need committed teachers who aren't afraid to look at things a little differently.

Administrators (who answer to parents) and politicians (who answer to voters) have a hard time messing with success. If you're working within the general framework provided by the Board and Ministry and young people enjoy being in your class and are learning while there, it's very difficult for anyone to give you a hard time. In fact, I'm not sure how a system that is privately funded would be more open. I would think, in some cases, it could be the opposite.

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Remember, once the door shuts to the class, it is really all about you.

I just remembered every teacher that garnered my respect and there were far more of them than I had realised. My age defines how differently the public school system must be, but I have to pipe up.

For the good of the people. Go public Solar.

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Congratulations, SolarGarlic, and good luck in the job search. I caught the teaching bug years ago, in spite of myself (by nature, I'm about the last person I'd ever have expected to see at the front of a classroom), and have a hard time now picturing myself getting paid to do anything as fulfilling (well, there is music, I suppose, but that's a different story).

You've gotten me thinking about one of my favourite books on teaching, Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner's Teaching as a Subversive Activity. I like how they put their thesis in the first chapter:

We believe that the schools must serve as the principal medium for developing in youth the attitudes and skills of social, political, and cultural criticism. No. That is not emphatic enough. Try this: in the early 1960s, an interviewer was trying to get Ernest Hemingway to identify the characteristics required for a person to be a 'great writer'. As the interviewer offered a list of various possibilities, Hemingway disparaged each in sequence. Finally, frustrated, the interviewer asked, 'Isn't there any one essential ingredient that you can identify?' Hemingway replied, 'Yes, there is. In order to be a great writer a person must have a built-in, shockproof crap detector.'

It seems to us that, in his response, Hemingway identified an essential survival strategy and the essential function of the schools in today's world. One way of looking at the history of the human group is that it has been a continuing struggle against the veneration of 'crap'. Our intellectual history is a chronicle of the anguish and suffering of men who tried to help their contemporaries see that some part of their fondest beliefs were misconceptions, faulty assumptions, superstitions, and even outright lies. The mileposts along the road of our intellectual development signal those points at which some person developed a new perspective, a new meaning, or a new metaphor. We have in mind a new education that would set out to cultivate just such people - experts at 'crap detecting'.

Having seen how far that skill has been beaten out of students by the time they get to post-secondary, my favourite people in the world are those who manage to keep it alive. Fight the power!

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