The Internship is the actual teaching practice for students enrolled in the Waldorf Certificate Program and should be closely related to the work which a student is engaged in in the field of education. The purpose of the internship is to enable the student to think reflectively about the work in education, and to assist the student in integrating theory with practice in the field. The internship should achieve the goals set for the student's professional development through reflective processes, through consultation with other teachers, colleagues and the student's mentor, in addition to reading and discussion the student should see and experience the work from new perspectives and will learn both how to value and how to re-evaluate what the student is doing.
Sophia Institute students enrolled in the Waldorf Certificate Program will seek out and contact potential internship sites of their choosing. Ideally the internship is completed at an established Waldorf/Steiner school, preschool or Kindergarten. Other arrangements might qualify and but need to be approved on an individual basis.
The internship should achieve a learning experience for the student that includes the following: Learning through observation and participation in classroom activities. Strengthen techniques of teaching using the temperaments in transitions and story content. Keeping things in perspective. Figuring out techniques and methods of presentation to help self and others gain more understanding of Waldorf education. Integrating into the classroom new ideas learned in the Waldorf training. Designing and teaching activities to reach a more individual learning style. Developing new classroom management skills. Learning to write pedagogical stories. Researching and implementing Waldorf curriculum at a specific grade level or for preschool/Kindergarten. Developing singing and rhythmic activities in the classroom for instance for morning circle time. Preparing and teaching some lessons during the course of the internship.
The internship needs to be at a minimum total of six weeks at a site approved by Sophia Institute. The six weeks do not necessarily have to be sequential but students are encouraged to set up sequences of days that are as long as possible.
The internship documentation needs to include the following and needs to be submitted to the Sophia Institute mentor.
1. Site description including names and contact information of the site and teachers/staff involved.
2. Comprehensive journal. A comprehensive journal needs to be kept by the student for the duration of the internship. For the purpose of both reflection and verification, you are required to keep a journal of your teaching practice which will be shared with your mentor. The journal is a place for you to think aloud, and to converse with your mentor around issues, both good and bad, which arise in your experience as a teacher. The journal needs to be clearly laid out with the student's name at the top of each page as well as the name and location of the internship site. Entries need to be made daily and dates and times noted. This is a golden opportunity to work on objectively observing yourself. Step outside yourself and describe the person you were when you were the age of the students you are teaching. For instance, where did you live? What was important to you? What pleased you? What made you upset or frightened? How did you spend your free time? Write about a person who was very important to you in your education. Describe him or her and tell how and why they were important. Interview yourself as though you were preparing a profile of yourself for a newsletter in your school and for a small informal publication outside of Waldorf. Ask questions about your educational values, ideals, philosophy, and include your own formative experiences. This could be as a child or during your professional training. Write about the teacher or teachers you had in elementary school that you really loved and describe what were the attributes you admired. Do the same thing about a teacher whom you did not like or respect or were frightened to encounter. What were the reasons for these feelings? Write an observation of parent-child encounters observed. Include at regular intervals descriptions of your path of self development in regard to your work with Anthroposophy. Here again, try to look at yourself as an outsider and objectify the problems and triumphs. Include a continuing dialogue on your progress of working with the temperaments in your lessons and in the every day life of the classroom. Try to differentiate the moments of planned use, such as in storytelling, from those moments when something a child does enlightens you as to how to proceed with discipline with that particular child. Write about moments that lead you to pedagogical insights and note how they came to you and what inspired you to change something and why. Write a letter which you are not going to send to a parent involving some upsetting incident. Describe all the details as if you were needing to tell someone else everything that happened. Wait three days and rewrite that letter and observe the changes you experienced. Was the letter the same? Were you angry? Was blame involved? By the end of this process, try to objectify in writing the circumstances that led up to the incident in the first place. Etc.
3. Detailed observation notes on one child in your class. The notes on one child in your class and on your observations should be on one student which you need to select during the first week of the internship. The purpose of these observations is to enable you to come to a greater understanding of students in the context of school through the in depth study of one student in particular. The observations should include:
3.1 Objective description of the child including a) Height, weight, build, proportions b) How does the child sit, stand, walk and run? c) Facial expression and gaze d) Other features (eyes, nose, ears, and hands…)
3.2. Speech qualities: volume, pitch, modulation and flow and any disturbances such as stammering or sounds incorrectly pronounced
3.3. Thinking qualities: memory, imagination, practical intelligence and ability to learn
3.4. Feeling qualities: enthusiasm or apathy, friendships and other significant relationships, emotional response, fears
3.5. Will qualities: ability to see something through once started, strong likes or dislikes towards foods, initiative, assertiveness
3.6. Brief background biography. Show some characteristic school work (both good and bad)
3.7. Constitution, temperament, character type
3.8. If the child were a landscape, a plant, an animal, which and why?
3.9. Further reflect on the following: What is this child asking of me as a teacher and of others at the school?
4. A list of books read over the course of the Internship to support professional goals. Another facet of the Internship is reading. You should keep a list of all the books you read in your journal. This should be an annotated list; brief notes on the book for your own reference, and professional goals. Some will be books chosen by you because of their relevance for your specific internship or particular teaching interests or because of your individual interests, other books may have been part of previous coursework.
5. A detailed self evaluation of the internship experience. The self-evaluation should be in essay form, covering four main areas as in the suggested outline below. The essay should include:
1. A Description of the site and direct supervisor's position in the institution, your specific duties.
2. Reflection and discussion of your ability in completing the specific job tasks.
3. Your understanding of the work done in the school/organization and how it fits in to the larger picture.
4. Comment on how the experience changed you or made you more aware of things.
What are the Expectations on the Part of Sophia Institute for the Supervising Teacher? Ideally the internship is being arranged with one supervising teacher at the internship site. The supervising teacher introduces the intern to the internship and accompanies the intern during the internship making sure that the intern is informed of all requirements for participation in the day to day activities of the internship site including legal requirements such as background checks, etc. The supervising teacher should at a minimum meet three times with the intern, ideally at the beginning, middle and end of the internship for guidance and reflection, and to answer questions that may come up regarding the internship. The supervising teacher is not required to provide Sophia Institute with written assessments and evaluations. The Sophia Institute assigned mentor contacts the supervising teacher for input after the completion of the internship for the final report and assessment of the internship.