A Second Classroom

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A Second Classroom: Parent-Teacher Relationships in a Waldorf School

What does a healthy, successful school look like? Is it all about measurable outcomes, test scores, and pass/fail grades set by the government? Can learning be quantified in short-term measurements or does real learning take years to manifest in a career or biography? All seem to agree that a healthy school is also a community and that community depends on the quality of relationships—chiefly the relationships among students, teachers, and parents.

This book features a comprehensive examination of the parent–teacher relationship in all its dimensions, from parent evenings and conferences to communication, conflict, and the life-cycle of parent involvement in their school.

In between the chapters on practical advice are sections that consider the issues from a deeper, spiritual dimension. This book is intended to stimulate conversation, self-reflection, and relational practices that awaken community life in and around our schools.

“The world of parent–teacher relations has grown more complex over the years and at its worst can feel like a minefield. Torin de-mines and demystifies the experience with information, insights, stories, and warmth, creating a safe passage for teachers and parents.” —Joan Almon, Waldorf educator and cofounder of Alliance for Childhood

C O N T E N T S:


1. Words of Advice
— For the Beginning Teacher
— For the New Parent
2. Self-less-ness
3. In Your Face
4. The Inner Dimensions of Thinking, Feeling, Willing
5. Barriers
6. Relationships and Martin Buber
7. Hard-to-Handle Parents
8. The Third Space
9. Hammershus
10. At the Foundation
11. Communication
12. Conflict
13. Shards of Glass: When Ideals are Shattered
14. Dance of the Shadows
15. Why Parent Organizations Are So Difficult to Sustain
16. The Life Cycle of Parent Involvement in a School
17. The Problem of Evil
18. The Veteran Teacher
19. Round Churches
20. The Importance of Administration
21. Family of Origin as Basis for Social Interactions
22. Parent–Teacher Conferences
23. Parent–Teacher Conferences as Reverse Ritual
24. The Uber-volunteer
25. Beyond
26. Parent Evenings, Class Nights
27. Mothers and Fathers
28. Spiritual Streams
29. Waldorphans
30. Inclusion
31. An Extension of Consciousness
32. Survey Results
33. The Door

Parent–teacher Survey: Letter to Parents and Teachers
Student Experience
Nine Levels of Escalation
Reading the Face
Roadblocks to Listening
Why on Earth?
Core Principles of Waldorf Education

About the Author

Torin M. Finser, PhD, has served Waldorf education for more than four decades, first as a class teacher and later as the Director and faculty member of the Waldorf Teacher Education Program at Antioch University New England. A former General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, he also helped found the Center for Anthroposophy in New Hampshire. His research and writings have reached people all over the world, including several books that have been translated into multiple languages. Torin has served as a consultant, workshop leader, and keynote speaker at numerous conferences. He is married to Karine, has six children, and is also now a very happy grandfather!

Additional information

Weight 19 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.75 × 9 in






March 2014






Steiner Books


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