A Letter of Thanks
As part of last year’s Year of the Teacher fundraising at the CWS Gala, new funds have been established to support CWS Faculty’s educational development.
Waldorf German Teacher, Ashley Gambill, reflects on the value of her recent Professional Development Course
“Leave the party while you’re still having fun,” was one of the most fruitful pieces of advice I took away from my Renewal Course about Teaching World Languages with game, song and story. For professional development I traveled this past summer with other language teachers to the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire.
My course was well attended by mostly Waldorf world language teachers encompassing Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Japanese who came from various Waldorf schools throughout the US. Our instructors were two language teachers who, together, had over 40 years of Waldorf education experience. Each day they provided new topics and materials they use in their classrooms, initiated discussion and welcomed our questions. Most importantly, we were all given the opportunity to practice these methods of play, of story-telling and of communication, as both teacher and student, in front of other participants. It was strange how we clung to our notebooks during these moments of free practice so as not to forget any of the new and inventive activities. One game in particular was memorable because of its simplicity (materials included just a chalkboard eraser and group of students) and because it was adaptable to various language levels. We practiced together, each teacher using his or her native language, so it would actually foster a challenge for a German teacher having to listen intently and feel a little pressure (as our students feel) to speak in a foreign language such as Chinese. As the game came to an end, we all were chiming in with ways to continue the game and helpful additions to create further play and learning for our students. Yet, in order to cover all their materials, the instructors had to, with much reluctance, halt our discussion and play by explaining why it is important to “leave the party while you’re still having fun”, as just exampled by our fervent comments, excitement for the game and our yearning for more.
[It challenged me] having to listen intently and feel a little pressure (as our students feel) to speak in a foreign language such as Chinese.
The experience was invaluable to my professional development as a Waldorf language teacher, and the new collegiality and connections will only strengthen my communicative abilities at a school where social interaction is paramount. I even showed-off some of the performance skills of our ever-popular CWS Circus club at the Renewal talent show. At the end of the five days, I felt renewed and rejuvenated, ready for a new school year. This opportunity was all provided for me thanks to the generosity of the parents, CWS staff and attendees at the Gala last March. Thank you all for your continuing support!