VWS: Tell me about your work and education after graduating from the VWS. (post-secondary schooling, travel, work experience, family, etc. )
MR: I left VWS in grade 10 and travelled to Uberlingen, Germany, for grade 11 and then to Toronto for grade 12. After that, I alternated travel and work for a few years, returning to Vancouver in 1992. I worked in the health food industry for a while (wholesale and retail) and began working towards my Bachelor of Arts through Capilano College and the Open Learning University. After completing my Bachelor of Arts, I decided to pursue Waldorf Teacher Training. I returned to Germany for two years to complete the grades, Handwork and English as a Foreign Language program at the Freie Hochschule Stuttgart. At the end of my training in 2004, I accepted a position as a grade 6 teacher at the Whistler Waldorf School (then Alta Lake School), and I have been working there ever since.
VWS: When did you graduate, and where?
MR: I attended the Vancouver Waldorf School (VWS) from 1981– 1988 and graduated in 1990 from the Toronto Waldorf School.
VWS: What advice would you give to upcoming graduates? Do you have any advice or encouragement for grade school students considering high school options?
MR: For high school graduates, I encourage you to venture out into the world and explore things of interest to you, things that speak to your heart. You don’t have to pursue higher education right away, but if you are keen to start, then go! I am a big believer in contemplating your life path. It is vital that you truly believe in the work or study you are doing and if it supports needs in the world.
For grade school students considering alternative high school options, consider that a Waldorf high school education may look very different from other schools. But, its well-roundedness serves you very well when you go into post-secondary education. It is inspiring, affirming and meaningful, even if it doesn’t appear to be! If you choose another High School, don’t forget to sing, do art, be creative, and think things through from new angles. These are qualities, all of which Waldorf schools are known for in their educational standards.
VWS: Do you have any advice for parents considering VWS or other high school options?
MR: I feel it is important to remember that social skills, relationships, and a child’s emotional life are integral aspects of this education. The stories, the art and the music, teach through the heart, which is what the world needs.
VWS: What are your fondest memories of your time at the VWS?
MR: I am a creative person and loved the arts, crafts, and music we had at the school. Most importantly, the school was like an extension of my family: I always felt at home.
VWS: How did Waldorf education affect your life and your choice of career? If it didn’t, but you would like to speak about how the academic and artistic curriculum affected your choices, please do. Also, what would you like to see included in the curriculum to enhance your postgraduate studies?
MR: One can clearly see that my Waldorf education significantly affected my life as I became a Waldorf teacher! When I thought of becoming a teacher, teaching in a Waldorf school was the only route I wanted to take. As the years go by, more and more, I see teaching as the best way I can help create positive change in the world. The changes I would have liked to see in the Waldorf school from my years have already been implemented in many schools worldwide. I wanted to see that the high school certificate was accepted without further diplomas or study. Some academics, particularly in the sciences, were possibly weaker when I attended VWS; however, I believe that has changed. I have heard that many from Waldorf schools are welcomed and are highly valued in post-secondary learning environments.
Interview date: September 2020 Ronaye Ireland, for Development