Thursday, September 25, 2014

Karma and the Steiner Waldorf Teacher - Responses

Mark Hayes asked Jeremy Smith about the role of Karma in Waldorf.  

Mark responded to Jeremy here: Steiner's Mirror

To me, Jeremy's answer couldn't have been more clear if he spelled it out in Eurythmy movements.

"In all the teacher meetings I have attended over the years, I have never heard a teacher say anything that would seem to indicate that they know what a child’s past life had been or how its karma would unfold in the future. "

I guess he never read - "Faculty Meetings" - but wait... I think he realized what a goofy statement he made above.  He corrects himself by saying it was OK for Steiner to do this.

"Indeed, unless you are a great initiate or at least a clairvoyant of prodigious insight, how could anyone make such a statement without inviting derision? "

OK, so clairvoyants can do this without "inviting derision".

"If ever anything like this has happened in a Steiner school, then I condemn it as utterly inappropriate and wrong."

Funny - that completely agrees with the critics - except for the denial that it happens.

"What I have heard, on the other hand, is some really insightful discussion in child study sessions, in which teachers will focus on a particular child and share their particular experiences and observations made during lessons."

Of course.  I'll bet nobody lit a candle in the meeting you were in.

"Nor do I recognise the allegation that Steiner teachers ignore incidents of bullying because of some misplaced sense that, if a child is being bullied, it must be something to do with its karma."

Well, it only sounds "misplaced" when it isn't Steiner HIMSELF saying it.  Again, Faculty Meetings would be a good place to start learning about this.

"In the schools I know about, bullying is dealt with quickly and effectively and any incidents of bullying are notified to all the teachers so that they can keep an eye open in case of any further outbreaks."

Sigh.  I thought you said you read my blog Jeremy.  When I search "Bullying" I get 8 pages of parent complaints expressing exactly the opposite.  Who is going to put an end to this?  Certainly NOT the people who are in denial about its existence.  That would be YOU apparently.

"If there is a Steiner teacher anywhere in the world who believes that they should not intervene in cases of bullying, they are not only very wrong but also completely misunderstand the concept of karma. In my old school any such idiocy would have led straight to a disciplinary hearing for that teacher."

This sound, to critics, like a lot of lip-service.  Bullying is far too prevalent in Waldorf schools - and if it isn't teachers letting students "work it out" ("it" being their karma) then WHY is it prevalent in Waldorf?  The idea of a "disciplinary hearing" for a teacher who follows Steiner's instructions is comical.  I'll try to work that into my parody website.

"All of the above will seem like nonsense and delusion to some,"

Not just to critics, but to the parents of children (and the children themselves) who have been bullied for decades at the hands of Waldorf teachers.  As long as nobody is taking the complaints seriously, nobody is going to get an image of "warmth" when they hear the words "Waldorf classroom".

"In the UK at least, you have plenty of choice of schools and if the ideas outlined here don’t appeal to you, then please put your child in a different system."

Of course the ideas appeal to parents.  Whey you MAKE SHIT UP, it's easy to make it sound appealing.  If you were truthful about what Waldorf schools really do, parents would be climbing over themselves to put their child in a different system.  Why is "Waldorf" synonymous with "dishonesty"?  It isn't MY fault, Jeremy.

"Therefore, although I’m not clairvoyant, I can predict with complete confidence that Richard Dawkins’ next life will be as an Islamic fundamentalist; that Dan Dugan will be general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America; and that Pete Karaiskos will come back as a kindly little old lady whose characteristic phrases will be: “If you can’t say something nice, then it’s better to say nothing at all” and “Oh well, mustn’t grumble.” "

It isn't that far from my current characteristic phrase, which is "If you can't say something TRUTHFUL, then it's better to say nothing at all".

It's kinda like "Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt".


  1. So much of this is absolutely ridiculous. The children I have observed are extremely happy and well adjusted. No school is perfect and many mainstream schools have bullies, and many of the other things you were referring to. It appears some people are looking for one thing that they can twist and reinterpret so it will coincide with their; distorted truth and are probably lacking knowledge to base it on as means to try and damage the many Waldorf schools.
    You will never see the nurturing, respect, or teachers going far beyond what would be expected in other schools, just to ensure these children are joyous and happy. I LOVE WALDORF SCHOOLS AND HOW THE CHILDREN ARE NURTURED. Look around many schools across North America have had a litany of horrible claims made against them; but these actions did not cause to develop a feeling that there a predators in all public school systems. Just an analogy = Waldorf Teachers as a rule are extremely kind, nurturing. I have never seen a child bullied in my daughters school; if fact unwanted laughter towards a child is dealt with immediately is dealt with an immediate trip to the office. What I have read here is nothing I have experienced and feel this was done to leave Waldorf Schools in a bad light. Some schools are great, some teachers are great. You cannot paint true picture of the Waldorf Education when many of the comments are skewed in an attempt to spread ridiculous propaganda that by design is meant to prey on the fears of parents. Take a walk around many elementary schools in many metropolis and look into the eyes and faces of the many children with their head down. These are not happy, joyous children. You will see them day after day and sometimes year after year. Never a teacher or member of the administration intervening. This would never happen in a Waldorf School. I wish all schools operated with the same care and diligence; maybe then we would see happier children at these so call mainstream schools; not suffering from loneliness and isolation; effects which has long reach effects.

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You may ask, "where are all the 5=Star reviews?" Well, the problem with those reviews is that many tend not to be too honest. I have included 4-star reviews that appear honest. Often, gushing reviews are placed by teachers and administrators - as some comments here indicate. "This school educates the whole child!!!" - 5 stars - by Anonymous... I say baloney! Notice, many of the reviewers have been misled by Waldorf and are still buying the PR, even after having been disappointed. Feel free to comment but understand the intent of this blog. Comments are no longer moderated.