Spanish is taught in many schools in the Waldorf education movement in the United States, and the need for training and professional development support for Spanish teachers has become critical. Recognizing the need to strengthen the Spanish programs, WSTA (Waldorf Spanish Teachers Association), an organization established some seven years ago, has created a program of visits, mentoring, and evaluation of Spanish teachers in the Waldorf education movement in the US. WSTA would like to offer this plan to the schools throughout the United States because we are committed to helping create a sense of community among the Spanish teachers, and bring resources that can be helpful to them, and to strengthen their lessons and programs in our schools.
If you have a new Spanish teacher, WSTA recommends a list of experienced members able to guide her/him through the Waldorf Curriculum with Spanish materials and recommendations for how to help your teacher conduct a healthy and balanced Spanish lesson. If your school requires an evaluator, we also can provide you with a list of trained and experienced Waldorf Spanish teachers for this task (WSTA recommends that a mentor or evaluator be a Spanish speaker). If you would like to receive the WSTA listings for mentors and evaluators, please contact Maria Creamer at firstname.lastname@example.org. After your school chooses a teacher from the list, we advise that your school notifies us of your choice via email. We also require that the chosen mentor-teacher or evaluator informs WSTA via email of their assignment.
Coverage for the expenses associated with either mentoring and/or evaluation needs to be arranged between the mentoring and/or evaluating teacher and the school administration.
WSTA would like to offer the following recommendations for visits, mentoring, and evaluation of Spanish teachers and Spanish programs in schools that are part of the Waldorf education movement, 1st through 12th grades.
Section I: Observation Visits
A. Observation Visit to the classes of an experienced Spanish teacher
a. The Spanish teacher will observe an experienced Spanish teacher for a full day of language instruction.
b. The two teachers should meet for a minimum of an hour prior to the beginning of the Spanish classes. During the conversation, the experienced teacher will address his/her preparation of each lesson being observed and explain the goals for the day.
c. At the end of the day of observations, the two teachers will meet again to reflect on the observations and the preparation of the lessons. The experienced teacher will offer verbal advice for the lessons, answer questions from the visiting teacher, and he/she will share the content of his/her lessons and how he/she prepared them. In addition, the Spanish teacher will receive a packet containing copies of poems, songs, and other materials.
d. To secure a list of WSTA members who are experienced teacher-mentors and evaluators, please contact Maria Creamer at email@example.com
B. Visit by an assigned mentor-teacher for observations and mentoring
a. Ideally, WSTA recommends a three-day visit from an experienced mentor-teacher so that he/she will have an opportunity to observe each Spanish class at least twice.
b. WSTA recommends two mentoring visits per year, one in fall and one in spring.
c. WSTA recommends a minimum of ten (10) hours of conversations between the mentor and the Spanish teacher during the three-day period of observations and mentoring.
d. The mentor teacher will make available a packet with materials for the grades he/she has observed to help strengthen the mentee’s lessons and/or the program.
e. During the mentoring sessions, the mentor teacher will advise the Spanish teacher through various areas of teaching:
i. Guide the Spanish teacher through a Threefold Lesson where he/she addresses: Speech and Recitation, Movement, Grammar practice through oral repetition, Story-telling and Retelling, Reading, Writing, Speaking, Conversation, and Cultural lessons in a manner by which the lessons are divided into various segments allowing for a rhythmic out-breathing and in-breathing of the lesson so that the students may better understand and absorb the content of their Spanish lessons.
ii. Go over a general overview of the curriculum.
iii. Help to form lesson plans for implementation and future review at a second mentoring visit.
f. If the school Administration requests a report from the mentor-teacher, he/she will provide a written report for each visit, including whatever progress or changes have been made throughout the mentoring year.
g. WSTA recommends that after each visit, the Spanish teacher receive a written report from the mentor-teacher which addresses the areas of the teaching and/or the curriculum he/she needs to work on and improve before a second mentoring visit.
Section II: Zoom mentoring
This option is primarily for smaller or newer schools that may not have the level of student enrollment to support a full on-site mentorship. However, WSTA recommends in-person mentoring for all schools, if at all possible.
A. WSTA recommends a minimum of one-hour conversations twice monthly during a one-year period.
B. The mentor-teacher and mentee will agree on a time that is convenient for both parties to set up the Zoom meeting.
C. The mentor-teacher will send materials to the Spanish teacher, which may include photos, props, ideas, and documents.
D. The Zoom mentoring will follow the same guidelines as the on-site work, i.e. incorporating the Threefold Lesson and a general overview of the Spanish curriculum.
Section III: EVALUATION PROGRAM
WSTA recommends evaluations of all Spanish teachers at schools that participate in a WSTA Mentorship Program.
A. WSTA recommends that a teacher other than the mentor conduct the evaluation of the Spanish teacher, since as a rule the mentor is an advocate of the teacher, while the evaluator is an advocate of the Spanish program in the school.
B. The evaluating teacher will have an initial telephone conversation with the Spanish teacher prior to the evaluation date.
C. Ideally, WSTA recommends that an evaluation include observations of all the classes the Spanish teacher teachers. This may require more than a one-day visit. Each day’s observation visits will be followed by a conversation between the evaluator and the Spanish teacher, in order to share the results of the observation and answer questions.
D. There will be a written evaluation report by the evaluating teacher. This report will be reviewed by both the evaluator and the Spanish teacher, and submitted to the administration and/or to the person in charge of the mentoring program at the school.