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Blog: The Light of Aurora

An 8th-Grade Teacher’s Reflections

07:30 AM - June 21, 2022

An 8th-Grade Teacher’s Reflections

Receive the children in reverence,

Educate them in love,

And set them forth in freedom.

-Rudolf Steiner

As Waldorf teachers, we are guided daily by this verse in all our interactions with students. However, as the class teacher of this year’s graduating class, I have seen its deeper meaning during a year full of milestones and preparation for the next steps in my students' educational journeys and lives.



Receive the children in reverence…

Since becoming their teacher, I began every school day by greeting each student at the classroom door with a bright welcome, eye contact, a smile, and a warm handshake. We had to switch our handshake to an elbow bump with the pandemic. Regardless, greeting each individual student this way set the tone for the day; it let them know that I saw them and was interested in how they were. This briefest of moments gave me a picture of how each student was feeling and helped me shape the lesson that followed accordingly.

Over our years together, the morning greeting taught me to anticipate and support their educational and emotional needs and gain a reverence for their distinct personalities, gifts, talents, and even their shenanigans.





Educate them in love…

Waldorf grade and subject teachers work collaboratively with each other, meeting each individual student respectfully and lovingly, in mind and heart, over several years, and gaining a deep understanding of each child. Introducing various subjects at the best possible time, when students are developmentally ready to hear, process, and learn about the topic, gives them the best possible chance for success in each subject. For example, students begin learning the German language in Kindergarten when the language center of their brains is more open and flexible, while chemistry is saved for middle school when they can better follow specific lab instructions and make more astute observations.

And set them forth in freedom…

Graduation is a bittersweet time. However, it is also a time of reflection. The beauty of this education is that it gives students the gift of time: time to grow, time to develop at their own pace, and time to explore their humanity. It enables them to discover and expand their interests multiple times over their journey through the grades, with teachers who work consciously to understand and love them. Being understood, seen, and supported allows each student to become proficient, whether in math, language arts, music or woodworking, and to enjoy learning while developing the confidence and fortitude to succeed in a wide variety of endeavors. (They don’t think there is anything they can’t do!)







My appreciation runs deep for how this education has supported these students as they moved from early childhood, an age of imitation and imagination, to independent middle school students, ready to tackle high school and the adventures and challenges ahead. The parents and families of these students have given them a great gift, the results of which may not be fully apparent today. I know, however, as I have seen with my own three children (all AWS graduates), that they will grow into independent, capable, caring adults who strive and succeed at making a difference for good in the world.


Lastly, sharing in the education of my students has given me more sleepless nights and early dawn inspiration than I ever thought possible! Although I now have more gray hair and wrinkles, being their teacher in second and third grade taught me that I can do mental math more quickly and accurately than I realized. Fourth grade is when I learned that I absolutely love Norse mythology, and who would have ever thought that teaching human anatomy and physiology to teenagers could be such a blast! Striving to be worthy of imitation for my students, and being open to all the possibilities that each of their sweet spirits has brought to our class, made me a better person. They have taught me that I, too, am smarter than I thought and capable of more than I imagined. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Receive the children in reverence,

Educate them in love,

And set them forth in freedom

-Rudolf Steiner






LauraLee Naughton holds degrees in Human Services and Psychology, she also received Waldorf Teacher training through Sunbridge College. LauraLee has been teaching at AWS for the past 7 years. She is the proud parent of three AWS graduates, and the proud grandmother of two children in the Early Childhood program at AWS.

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