COLLEGE OF TEACHERS
Understood in terms of the threefold social order, the College becomes something much more than "the Thursday afternoon staff meeting". It becomes the living heart of the school life.
The ideal of the cultural-spiritual sphere is freedom - so how is this is expressed in College work? It has a lot to do with the quality of the conversation which takes place in this meeting. Click here to see an article by Margorie Spock which has been very influential on Waldorf schools in America. Here she says that "techniques of a very special order must be cultivated". Steiner called the College meeting "the heart and soul of the whole teaching"; for an article which explains this, click here.
In pioneer or small schools the College meeting is the occasion for discussing and making decisions about all aspects of school life. In differentiated schools the decision-making responsibility of the College is specific - to guide the spiritual-cultural sphere of the school.
The ideal of the College is freedom and on the road to freedom conflict may occur. To value and preserve the College as the spiritual heart of the school, special structures and procedures can be set up. The Chairperson has the task of ensuring the meeting runs effectively, which includes encouraging those who don't normally contribute much - also conflict resolution. A key task is providing information to teachers well in advance of the meeting.
In schools overseas , including the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart (Uhlandshöhe) a training is given to teachers before they take part in College meetings.
The Structure of the School
For the teachers:
1) Each teacher is responsible to the full extent for the school as a whole.
2) An inner and outer connection is maintained through regular joint educational meetings, thereby continuing to learn.
3) As a rule, the school is carried by teachers and parents and is not determined from the outside.
4) Parents and teachers form a community which is responsible for the school.
5) The teachers seek and find forms of quality development.
From: "Key Characteristics of Waldorf Education", International Forum For Steiner/Waldorf Education (owners of the legal rights to the name "Steiner" and "Waldorf education"). Click here.