Waldorf College seeks to be an engaging community of learning and faith where relationships are formed and opportunities for learning and service abound. Our mission is to educate the whole person emphasizing integrity and equipping students to succeed and to serve the communities where they live and work.
That is the Waldorf College mission statement, something that I have both carried with me and embodied throughout my four years here. When I first drove the six and a half hours to Forest City, Iowa, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The town was quiet, quaint, and nothing like my fast-paced suburban life. I knew it was going to be different, but I was ready for a change.
I came into Waldorf with hopes of becoming independent, taking advantage of opportunities, and becoming more of myself. I came in as a young girl and now I’m leaving as a self-assured, confident, teacher and writer.
Throughout my years at Waldorf, I have been challenged my professors and peers to be the best Marisa possible. From traveling to Myrtle Beach and completing clinical hours during my spring break softball trip to sitting next to a Somalian student in Minneapolis and talking about culture, I have learned how to interact and form relationships with many people. I have learned technology and how to use the internet as a resource for beyond-the-classroom learning. I have learned to use my passion for writing to engage and motivate learners of all ages. I have learned how to be both a teacher and a friend.
Through community service as a reading tutor and in the Forest City community, I have learned the value of relationships and getting to know the people around me. I have formed connections with people my age, much younger, and much older, and these connections have made me a more well-rounded and positive person.
Through student teaching, I have learned to meet students where they are, to be flexible, to think on the fly, to adapt, and to love what I do. I have created assessments, assignments, projects, rubrics, and lesson plans that have stretched my thinking. I have learned ways to reach students at their individual learning level. I have learned to accommodate. I have learned that students come to the classroom with difficult lives. I have hugged students who have lost their mothers to drugs. I have consoled students who have been broken down by bulling. I have been a consistent and positive adult in their lives.
As I finish my student teaching and prepare for a life and career outside of school, I feel ready. Waldorf College has prepared me to walk into the ‘real world’ through experiences and opportunities. Over the past four years I have grown into someone who values young minds, who understands her role as an educator and mentor, and who cares, deeply about the impact she has on the world. I have not only become the true definition of a teacher, but I have become Marisa. A person who is open-minded, complex, loving, and positive. And I am proud to be her.