Interview: Toh Yeng Yen, Waldorf educator

As I have shared before, I had to unlearn many things I was taught in school. And learn many things that were not taught in school.

So when I learned about the Waldorf education model years ago, I was interested. Then when I met Chrys Soenaris, a parent who was well-versed in it, I was amazed. And when I met her daughter, Gabby, I was completely won over. Gabby was sagely, inquisitive, deep compassionate, energetic, artistic, JOYful and so many other beautiful things. I recently got to meet other parents and teachers who use the waldorf method and am deeply inspired.

So what is the Waldorf way? If you’re curious, please watch this short intro and share with parents, educators and leaders in education.

Toh Yeng Yen is one of the Waldorf educators I met recently.  She was brimming with passion for her work! Below is my short interview with her. What she says about teachers is especially important.

Q:You’re incredibly passionate about Steiner’s work! Please share more about your personal journey and connection with it.
A: Thank you for your comment! I got to know about Steiner’s philosophy when I was attending a ‘Creative Discipline’ workshop by Linda Hall in the year 2007. That opened me up to an education that allows me, as a teacher, to work on myself while nurturing our children. I find myself loving myself more over the years. And I find this crucial for all human beings.

Q: You mentioned that who the teacher is matters alot in Steiner’s work. Please share more.
A: Yes. I have learned from my training and conferences that it is the teacher that matters, not the subject that the teacher is teaching. If the teacher cares and builds relationships with the children, he/she would be able to attend to the needs of the children. When the children love their teachers, you will be amaze how much they could learn.
Q: Who are you as a Waldorf educator?
A: An educator who learns, unlearns and relearns. Every child is unique. What do I learn from this child and what are the things I can do for her/him to support their grow to become a balanced, warm and loving human being? “Education is not filling a vessel, but lighting a fire.” Carl Jung.

Q: What is it like to learn to be a Waldorf educator?
It is the beginning! I have colleagues from overseas who learn on-the-job to become a Waldorf teacher. We are simply one step faster by learning the essences through courses. It’s how we live what we have learned that matters, not the number of courses that we have attended.

Please click Waldorfcourse for more information on an upcoming course for 6 to 8 year olds by Yeng Yen.

This is another wonderful video on the inner life of the teacher by the Center for Courage and Renewal.

Related: Resources on Education