Teach the teacher

Vocational induction and support for Waldorf teachers in North Rhine-Westphalia

Various studies show that Waldorf teachers change their career choice during the first few years more often than others who enter the job market. The IfB Institute for Vocational Induction, which was founded in 2012, supports those starting out on a career as a Waldorf teacher, especially in North Rhine-Westphalia, with entering the profession and continues to assist them after this time.

Advice in all situations

The vocational induction process offered by IfB is designed for teachers who teach for the first time on their own responsibility for a prolonged period at a Waldorf school. They have to teach what they have learned in theory to pupils who expect a perfect teacher from the very beginning. The same applies to parents, and even other members of the teaching staff often have little training in how to deal with those starting out on their career. During this phase a framework is required in which the teacher receives all of the help he or she needs, and in which he or she can also make mistakes without any serious consequences. This necessitates qualified vocational adjustment and support with the planning, implementation and reflection on the lessons, with questions of parental involvement and fundamental aspects of self-management and with respect to cooperation with the teaching staff. Furthermore, IfB offers support with state examinations so that individuals can obtain authorisation to teach at Waldorf schools.

The vocational induction provided by IfB is intended to enable intensive care and support that is based on trust. In order to guarantee this, the Institute provides those entering the world of teaching with its own mentors or those from within the school itself. These provide extensive information on the fields of Waldorf education, specialist didactics and teaching methodology, as well as on education and training opportunities. As the mentors are professionals in terms of their method of working and are flexible with respect to the times that they are available, they are able to go into the individual requirements of the teachers.

Furthermore, the Institute also supports teachers who are already working in the profession. It provides support, for example, with matters relating to teaching permits or educational issues and supervises procedures for the removal of contractual time limits and approval procedures.

Since the establishment of the Institute, about 30 mentors have been trained. In the years 2013 and 2014 it was possible to provide support to around 50 teachers entering the profession for the first time. In the future the IfB would like to make the support it offers and the need for qualified vocational induction even better known. Up to now the focus has been on working with teachers in the sixth form and the field of special subjects. In a next step, the work involved in the introduction of and support for classroom teachers up to the eighth school year is to be intensified.