[WE Talk] Liz Truesdall – A New Generation of Waldorf Teachers

Liz Truesdall

A New Generation of Waldorf Teachers

On this episode:

  • From Kung Fu Black Belt to Kick-Ass Waldorf High School Teacher
  • Trusting one’s intuition through life’s ups and downs
  • Finding one’s calling
  • How passionate teaching ignites learning
  • The smell of a Waldorf classroom
  • The telling traits of a Waldorf student: insatiable desire to learn, striving to give back, renaissance individuals

Episode Transcript:

Nita Davanzo: Hello, and welcome to WE Talk, a podcast that explores the role of Waldorf education in helping children, parents, and families thrive in an ever-changing world. WE Talk is brought to you by Shining Mountain Waldorf School, and this is your host, Nita June Davanzo.

Today on WE Talk, we welcome Liz Truesdall. Liz was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado and attended Shining Mountain Waldorf School from kindergarten through 12th grade, graduating in 2004. After graduation, Liz moved to Oregon to attend college. First at Willamette University, then at the Art Institute of Portland. One more transfer later to Pacific Northwest College of Art and battling the pervasive effects of Lyme disease, Liz realized that she was in the wrong art.

She halted her college education for the time and opened up a martial arts studio. After seven years successfully teaching and managing the martial arts studio, it became clear to her that it was time to depart and take on the next big thing. She took some time off, and indeed, time was exactly what Liz needed, for when she returned to college at Portland State, she loved every second of it. She had a renewed focus on literature, and faced with graduation and the plans that come after, Liz felt called to look into Waldorf High School teacher training. Sparked to return to her roots, Liz enrolled at the Center for Anthroposophy’s Waldorf High School teacher training program in New Hampshire, where she is currently studying. Liz’s focus is on the humanities and she will be doing her final research project on diversity and cultural appropriation.

A few weeks ago, Liz returned from teaching at the Haleakala Waldorf High School in Maui as part of her practicum teaching, and she most recently informed me, after this interview was conducted, that she was offered–and she accepted–a full-time humanities teaching job at Portland Waldorf High School. I’m so thrilled to announce that.

Welcome, Liz. Thank you for joining me today.

Liz Truesdall: Thank you for having me.

Nita Davanzo: Liz, my dear, when you graduated from Shining Mountain Waldorf High School in 2004, what were your initial plans and visions for yourself? And how did this change once you were out in the big, wide world?

Liz Truesdall: Initially, I imagined that I would go to art school and be an artist and do the art thing. I was really into comic book work and illustration in general. I went to Willamette and, honestly, I couldn’t get into any art classes and it was kind of terrible.

Nita Davanzo: Oh, man! That’s frustrating. Way to crush a dream.

Liz Truesdall: I know! And not to mention, too, that I didn’t realize that it was a semi-religious school and I think had I known that, I don’t think I would’ve gone there, ’cause I butted heads with the religions teacher, who was really believing that he was teaching everybody who was Christian about these other hardcore, other, religions, and I just didn’t understand him and we would have these arguments and he educated me, but, you know.

Nita Davanzo: I feel like that’s a well versed Waldorf student, though, does like to have discussions and to really explore all aspects and different ideas of things and be like, “Well, let’s talk about that. I might see it this way.”

Liz Truesdall: And approach it from a way that’s maybe not the norm, or not “the norm,” ’cause it’s not the norm. But so, then I was … I moved up to Portland, so that stint in Salem, then I moved up to Portland and then I went to the Art Institute of Portland and they were just too computer-y for me. And again, I think that was a Waldorf thing, ’cause I was like, “But I want to put my hands into stuff.”

Nita Davanzo: Interesting. Right, you wanted to experience it, which is not to say that we, for those listening who aren’t familiar with Waldorf education, that we’re not computer savvy, ’cause we certainly are, but it’s actually way healthier and just better to have our hands in the mud and, yeah, be doing stuff. So it sounds like you wanted to be doing things and creating with your hands?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, and then having a tangible piece of paper at the end, too. I still keep my sketchbook and I still draw, but yeah. And then I went to Pacific Northwest College of Art, which was amazing and I think had I wanted to continue in art, I think I would go back there, ’cause it was a really cool program… It had the Waldorf smell of like you could smell paint and when you walked–

Nita Davanzo: The Waldorf smell!

Liz Truesdall: You know what I’m talking about. That is a real thing.

Nita Davanzo: Again for our listeners, yeah, who know that smell, I think it’s probably, Liz, what you’re talking about is there’s this base paint to the watercolors, is that what you’re talking about?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, which is the sulfur base paint that you’re like, “Oh, yeah, that’s the gblue.”

Nita Davanzo: That’s funny. Oh my gosh, I love it.

Liz Truesdall: And then sometimes this beeswax smell too, and that was happening there also, and I think it was because people were using crayons and they were using pencils and putting their hands in them and it was really lovely. So I really liked that school, but partway through my first semester, I realized that I just think I was in the wrong art, so I was like, “I’m going to do something else,” and I had already been doing martial arts by that point and I remember sitting in my boss’s office one evening and I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to go back home and finish my homework.” I had these massive projects … That’s something I don’t really talk about, but art school, since I’ve done both now I can say this definitively, art school is the most amount of work. It is an insane amount of work-

Nita Davanzo: And that’s so funny, ’cause people often think, “Art school, oh, it’s going to be so easy.” No, to be an artist, it takes rigor and dedication and absolute commitment.

Liz Truesdall: So much time. So much time. The number of last-minute projects, I mean, I never did an all-nighter except for in art school.

Nita Davanzo: Wow, yeah.

Liz Truesdall: ‘Cause I didn’t have a choice and it was like, I wasn’t even procrastinating either. I was doing stuff fairly timely. I was a still a younger person, so procrastination always happens a little bit, but with art school too, it was like I could hang out with my friends for some of it and do work, so it was like, I wasn’t really procrastinating. I don’t know. It was …

Nita Davanzo: Yeah, so you’re sitting in the office with your boss and you didn’t want to go home and so what happened in that meeting?

Liz Truesdall: I was like, “I just wish I could do this for a living,” and he was like, “You can.”

Nita Davanzo: Wow. Right. So Liz, so you launched into full-time work. I mean, soon after that. Managing and teaching at the dojo outside … This is outside of Portland, right?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah. So I first started as an assistant under Mr. Hamm is his name and he’s in Las Vegas now, but I was first an assistant under him and it was so much fun. It felt like a game every day, like going in and teaching these kids, and trying to get people to sign up, which was always a challenge, but was really fun.

And then, there was another studio in Sherwood and it was kind of struggling and the guy who was running it was … I just don’t think he was into it at that point and he ended up leaving and it was one of these weird things that they do this in this company, which I think is so stupid, but they leave without saying anything, like you’re supposed to just be like, “Oh yeah, he was here earlier,” even though he’s gone forever, which I really disagree with.

But anyway, so he disappeared one day and then Mr. Hamm called me that night and he was like, “Yeah, so, Sherwood is yours now.”

Nita Davanzo: Wow! So you were just given this. And so you’re what, 21 years old?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, somewhere around there, 20-

Nita Davanzo: And you’re running your own business. It is fully on you?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah.

Nita Davanzo: Geez, my dear. That’s pretty amazing. That’s pretty amazing. So you said you felt like it was a game though, I mean, that it was this fun game. And what about kung fu was it that you initially fell in love with?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, that’s a good question. I feel like part of it is the movement. I really loved the movement itself and I liked how it … They talk about the chi and all of this and how it moves in your body and I really liked that, and it continues to serve me. I go see acupuncturists and they’re like, “Wow, you’re really good at moving your chi.” And I’m like, “Cool.”

Nita Davanzo: Interesting. So that cultivated in kung fu?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, I’m not really aware of it, but it just kind of happens and then they see it, which is really interesting to me. So I really liked that and I really liked the actual forms, the katas, that we would do, and I liked that by following their curriculum, by the time you were a black belt, you just are in your body, really solidly, which is really nice, and you have an understanding of where you end and other people begin and how to have that kind of physical boundary. And then, also not to mention the self-defense side of it. I do feel safer. I travel a bit and I’m totally not afraid, which is nice.

Nita Davanzo: Wow, that is really incredible. That sense of self-awareness, of literal self-awareness, too, in a positive way, not a self-consciousness, but a self-awareness. So, Liz, so you did that for how many years? How many years were you running the dojo?

Liz Truesdall: I stopped in 2012, April 2012, so it was about six or seven years, I think.

Nita Davanzo: And that was seven days a week?

Liz Truesdall: It was six days a week, yeah. It was a lot of work.

Nita Davanzo: I’m just so struck by you step out of high school, you try on these different educations, which didn’t work and you were clear about that. I feel like that sense of self too, again, and then that perception of self is such a Waldorf trait too of, “Nope, this is not me.” Continuing to explore and then you just dove into this, and I think … I don’t know. Looking back on that for yourself, had someone said to you when you graduated high school, “Hey, in two years, you’re going to be running your own dojo and your own business,” would you have believed that?

Liz Truesdall: No.

Nita Davanzo: Yeah, you just did it. I mean, that’s so cool. I do think that’s a Waldorf trait too, like, “Oh okay, I’ll figure it out. Okay. Here I am, figuring it out.” Get your hands dirty. Wow. So Liz, so now in these recent years, you stepped away from kung fu and the dojo and you completed your BA in literature, and another thing, I know you’ve always been so passionate about has been reading and you and I and your sister used to connect on that so often and still do, I still go to your sister, I’m like, “What book should I read?” And I still go to you and I’m like, “What book should I read?” And certainly, Waldorf education is filled with stories and storytelling. Can you share a bit about why you chose literature as your major?

Liz Truesdall: So, in my last years of running the studio, I was getting fairly burned out. My boss had left and the guy who took over was totally crazy and I started thinking about what else I wanted to do with myself, and I kind of realized in this time too that I was, “I don’t want to just be one person and have one career. I want to do everything that I want to do.”

Nita Davanzo: Another Waldorf trait. “I want to do everything!” And you are multi-talented and can.

Liz Truesdall: And learn everything, learn as much as I can about everything. And so I was kind of playing with this idea and I realized that what I thought would be really cool is if I could read and get paid for it, and-

Nita Davanzo: Yeah!

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, right? Wouldn’t that be great?

Nita Davanzo: Yeah!

Liz Truesdall: There are jobs like that, but it kind of morphed into something else for me. But, so I started looking into what that would be and it sounded like being a book agent would be the thing, and it was recommended to get … ‘Cause I was already planning on getting finished with my bachelor’s and since I loved reading I was like, “Duh, English,” so … So, I did that, and initially, it was so then I could do a grad program that would put me into the publishing world and then I could be a book agent. But partway through, I realized that I really missed teaching and I was like, “Maybe I don’t want to read for a living. Maybe I want to get students to read for a living.”

Nita Davanzo: Right, which brings me to my next question, which is just so exciting to me. I remember when you called me about this, about this initial idea that you’ve stepped into now, Waldorf High School teacher training, the program at the Center for Anthroposophy. So you’ve spoken a little bit about what drew you to return to teaching, and so what drew you to return to Waldorf education and beginning this teacher training program?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, okay. This is amazing. As I taught martial arts, I noticed with my students who all of whom were from public schools … Well, actually, this is a fun side note. I was teaching this one family and they were at the Westland studio and the mom at one point just stopped and she was like, “Did you go to a Waldorf school?” And I was like, “Yes, how did you know?” And she was like, “I don’t know. There’s something about you that is just very Waldorf.”
I feel like that’s actually a thing, ’cause that’s happened too where I meet other people and I’m like, “There’s something about you. I don’t know, what is it?” And then I find out they went to Waldorf and I’m like, “That’s what it is.”

Nita Davanzo: I know. I’ve heard this across the board. I was doing an interview, I think it was about a year ago, and this young man, I don’t know if you … I can’t think of his name off the top of my head, but he was in the coast guard and he was in the coast guard academy, like boot camp, and his bed bunk up on top, they were going to bed at night and he was like, “Did you go to a Waldorf school?” He recognized him at boot camp and this man was like, “Yeah,” and this guy had, too! And he said he didn’t know, it was just this … there was some kind of recognition of, “Oh!” I think they were both writing at night or something like that-

Liz Truesdall: That’s beautiful!

Nita Davanzo: Sorry–I interrupt…So this woman had asked you that?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, that’s totally real though, because then later I was in school and one of the kids in my class or something about him, and we have one class together, it was German, we had German together, and I feel like that’s part of what made me go … And then we were in another class and he sat next to me and I was like, “Dude, I don’t know what it is about you, but you seem really familiar.” He was like, “Well …” ‘Cause he was from Colorado, too, and so we were kind of like, “Oh, let’s do this.” And so, I was like, “Okay, you’re from Colorado. Where in Colorado?” And he was like, “Well, kind of outside of Boulder.” And I was like, “Did you by any chance go to a Waldorf school?” And he was like, “Yes, I went to Shepherd Valley,” and then he was like … He was saying something about his mom. I think his mom is still in charge of something at Shining Mountain, perhaps, but it was one of those things where I was like, “What? Me, too!”

Nita Davanzo: And there is something that just lights up the heart of, “Oh my gosh, we went through these formative and wonderful experiences together,” and you know someone because of that. So back to the question then, Liz. So, yeah. So what drew you then to Waldorf teacher training and to become that type of a teacher?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah. So, I was noticing with my students that there was this level of not being validated by their education, and it really bothered me and I would see it sometimes with their parents too. There’d be this moment where a kid would come in and be crying about something and their mom would be like, “It’s just a …” whatever it was, like an ice cream or something. “It’s just an ice cream, get over it.” I just remember being like, “No, not cool.” ’cause it’s not just an ice cream to a kid, it’s the biggest deal in the world. I just remember that really upsetting me and that I wanted to be a part of something that could actually validate kids and make them feel like they do things and that they are just right the way that they are. I felt like Waldorf did that so well for me. So, I wanted to do that. So that’s when I decided to return to become a Waldorf teacher.

Nita Davanzo: I love that! I remember just being so thrilled by that thought, Liz, because I think also, having grown up with you and knowing you, but also feel like there’s a new wave or the next generation of Waldorf teachers coming in that are like hip and cool and martial artists and rock stars.

Liz Truesdall: Yes, for real.

Nita Davanzo: Yeah! And still renaissance being, still, of course, with these dynamic qualities that we have with our teachers, but contemporary, like hip, which with you in that, I thought, “Oh my gosh, Liz is going to be the most amazing high school teacher!” And that you’re wanting to teach high school, too, of just being … You have this capacity to cut to the heart of the matter and to just see the purpose and the point in it, which is what high school students so want. They want purpose, they want … you’re speaking of validation. Their BS meter is-

Liz Truesdall: Super high!

Nita Davanzo: … really sensitive, and to be able to meet them there, I just … Yeah, I’m so excited for you to be doing this. So, can you tell me a little bit about your teacher training, and then also, you just recently returned from the Haleakala Waldorf High School in Maui, which for listeners here, is also coincidentally run or the high school is led by Matthew Clement, who is another Shining Mountain Waldorf School alum. What was it like to step back into a Waldorf classroom this time as a teacher?

Liz Truesdall: It was super cool. I taught medieval history, which history is not really my jam, but that’s what they needed, and so I got books and I read a bunch and because of this, I’m now am, “Maybe I need to get a second bachelor’s in history or-“

Nita Davanzo: I love it! I know. Yeah, your love of learning is still quite clearly there!

Liz Truesdall: And it was super cool, because the students were amazing and I had an incredible time with them. They really liked me because I was not very pretentious and I think I called them ‘dude’ a lot.

Nita Davanzo: Oh my gosh, I love it!

Liz Truesdall: I’d be like, “Dude… Dudes, come on. Stop talking.” That was a common thing. And I also met this woman, Virginia Fish, who is, man, she’s super cool. She was my mentor there and would sit in on classes and then kind of be like, “Okay, so this doesn’t really work, let’s do something different.” One of the things that she’s really passionate about is modernizing things, like how we approach the students because of their brains, and so she had this … I think she did a master’s or a PhD or something at this school that’s actually in Maui that was called transformative education or something like that. I was looking into it and I thought, “Oh my god, this looks amazing.”

Nita Davanzo: Another school for you to go to someday!

Liz Truesdall: But, it looks at how brains are working and then how we approach them and how we keep them engaged and wanting more, and so she really helped me craft this course so that they were into it. I can send you some of the photos that I have of these kid’s work that I got out of them. It was like–

Nita Davanzo: Oh, I would love that. We can put that on the podcast. Absolutely.

Liz Truesdall: … amazing. Some of this work was incredible. And it was so cool too, because some of the other teachers are like, “How are you getting these kids to do this?” And I was like, “I don’t know!”

Nita Davanzo: Well, I think too, someone said to me years ago when I first started teaching, ’cause I was like, “I don’t know, I don’t have teacher training,” when I started, and she said … This was Betsy Barricklow who’s founded Tara Performing Arts High School in Boulder. She said, “The best Waldorf teachers were Waldorf students. They just get it.” And I was like, “I don’t know what that means!” But apparently, I did, and apparently, clearly, you do, that there’s something in you, and I think, perhaps, it has to do with loving to learn and so when one loves to learn, one loves to spark that in other people, like, “You guys, this is so amazing! Look at what this person did, look at this history in time and how it has changed!”

Liz Truesdall: Or didn’t. That’s something we talked a lot about–

Nita Davanzo: Interesting. That’s so wonderful, Liz, that you got that feedback from current teachers and that you had that mentor there, too.

Liz Truesdall: Oh, she was amazing. Yeah. So much fun.

Nita Davanzo: So Liz, in terms of other teachers too, you and I both shared some teachers back in the day in high school. When you think about which teachers inspired you then and which teachers inspire you now, what do you feel some of the qualities of those teachers are, and what kind of teacher would you aspire to be?

Liz Truesdall: Well, Tom Schaefer, really hardcore comes to mind.

Nita Davanzo: Mm-hmm (affirmative), who’s currently the head of the first public charter Waldorf high school in the country. It’s in Rohnert Park, California, if anybody wants to-

Liz Truesdall: Credo, Credo.

Nita Davanzo: Yeah, Credo. Thank you for the name. Yes.

Liz Truesdall: I’ve been talking, actually, my friend Anna who is one of the other Waldorf people. She’s thinking about … After meeting me, she’s thinking about figuring out if she wants to do teacher training and we’re kind of making plans for, “Okay, we need to …” Like, more of these charter high schools, because Waldorf needs to be more accessible to everyone.

Nita Davanzo: Yeah. Everybody needs it.

Liz Truesdall: And then there’s a part of me, this is a little bit off topic right now, but there’s a part of me that feels like, while the lower grades are super magical and really, really important, I think that some of the real, the real magic of Waldorf, really comes into fruition in high school.

Nita Davanzo: I agree with that, too. I feel like it’s the crown, it’s the crowning of the education.

Liz Truesdall: So amazing. And especially being on the other side of it, I’m like, “Yes, more!”

Nita Davanzo: I love it. Oh, it’s great.

Liz Truesdall: I forgot what the question was?

Nita Davanzo: Oh, it was just about what teachers inspired you and what kind of teacher you aspire to be?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, I definitely like Tom Schaefer and one of the things that comes up about him is that he was, especially about the Greeks, he was so passionate about the Greeks, that almost was like he didn’t even care if we were on board with him, he was just going to tell us about the Greek.

Nita Davanzo: Which you then got on board, because he was so passionate about it.

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, you couldn’t help it. It was like being swept in a tide. You were like, “Oh, quickly, get on board!”

Nita Davanzo: Oh, I love it! Oh my gosh, that’s great.

Liz Truesdall: So much fun. And I get that, ’cause there are some things that I feel that passionate about and I can’t wait to teach them, ’cause that’s going to be so much fun. So that kind of a thing, and it’s almost like more about me than about them, the students, and how I can be as a developed…a developed person, as far developed as I can be, and being able to be reached and making their lessons as meaningful as possible. Things like that. Yeah, but also really a lot of it being my own person and working on my own self and my own things, ’cause that’s so important, I think.

Nita Davanzo: Yeah, and I mean, that’s such a key piece of the Waldorf teacher training is seeing yourself as this … Yeah, wanting to be a role model and an inspiration, and so that takes a lot of self-reflection and self-development and inner work to be able to do that. Yeah. So in some ways, it is. It’s interesting, you said it’s for you, but in the end, it’s really for the students. You want to be your best self for them, and of course, it’s for you, but in order … Yeah. So, Liz, what has been your favorite thing thus far in terms of teaching?

Liz Truesdall: Oh god. Well, the students hands down. It’s like, come on, let’s be real. They are amazing. Yeah, the student … I just like how these individuals that are … and a lot of them, especially in the Maui … They had been … Actually, this class was a really interesting class, I only had 13 and it was very boy heavy. There was only four girls … five girls, five girls, and they … So the girls were, all of them, were these super, kind of, hard care feminists, because they had to be because there were so many boys in the room. But I loved them, they were each their own kind of this feminist and hardcore girl and the way that they were and the way they were dressed and the way that they stood up for themselves and what they were saying was really individual and really amazing, and then the boys were kind of the same way, except for the boy version, and I really liked that as well. They were very strong and … Yeah, it was just really cool to be a part of this and watch it, especially it kind of developed too within the class, ’cause I heard that before me, they had another guest teacher who was really weird and she would make them …

Nita Davanzo: And you’re the cool martial arts, kung fu lady comes in and is like, “Hey guys. Dude.”

Liz Truesdall: Someone said she would make them meditate for like 20 minutes and I’m like, “Guys! This is a good thing,” but also like … 20 minutes is a long time for …

Nita Davanzo: And maybe they weren’t ready for it, maybe it wasn’t-

Liz Truesdall: And even the other teachers were like, “This woman was not very authentic.” They were picking up on that as well. So when I first came into the classroom, they were like, “Oh god, another guest teacher.”

Nita Davanzo: Got you. And then you turned that around–

Liz Truesdall: But it was real interesting–

Nita Davanzo: … it sounds like it.

Liz Truesdall: … because I had this one student who really, he was amazing, ’cause he started off really shaky and I think he was really not sure about me, because of this other woman, and I remember at one point I asked him to read something aloud and he kind of hesitated and I was like, “You can say no if you want to say no, that’s fine with me.” And he was like, “Well then, no, I don’t want to read it.” I was like, “Okay, does anybody else want to read?” And then he started reading.

Nita Davanzo: Wow! What a cool experience. Interesting that you gave him that option. Yeah, he needed to say, “I don’t want to do this,” and then do it–

Liz Truesdall: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and then he did it. Yeah.

Nita Davanzo: … on his own.

Liz Truesdall: It was amazing. And then it was so incredible, because then he became like the shining star of the class.

Nita Davanzo: Oh, Lizzie!

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, it was cool.

Nita Davanzo: Wow, what a cool, transformative experience that you just held space for. Wow.

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, it was cool. His artwork, dude, I will send that to you, because–

Nita Davanzo: Yes, I would love to see some of these photos. Oh, how exciting! So, Liz, in terms of your teacher training, what have been some, or one, of your most favorite classes or elements of the training thus far?

Liz Truesdall: Yes. I really like Steiner, like all the reading that we have to do, part of that is because I have this mentor here in Portland who is … She’s a legit anthroposophist, which is … I mean, “How to Know in Higher Worlds”, there are these exercises?

Nita Davanzo: Yeah.

Liz Truesdall: She does them every day. Like, every day. She’s a retired teacher, she taught for like a gazillion years, and amazing. I love her so much, and I basically, we weren’t supposed to read Study of Man with a mentor, but I was like, I really want to, because it’s going to have so much more meaning if I do it with Rebecca.
So we set up this … I would meet with her every week and we would read a lecture per week and then we would talk about it. It was so cool, and I really like what he had to say. I mean, some of it, I know, Steiner really gets out there sometimes and I’m like, “Wow, that’s a little far there, buddy,” but-

Nita Davanzo: So you have to go back and read it 12 times.
Liz Truesdall: We’re like … But then, most of it feels like he’s reminding me of something that I already knew and I just forgot.

Nita Davanzo: Oh, I love that phrasing of it.

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, and that’s really how it feels. I feel like I’m reading it and I’m like, “Oh, yeah. Oh. Yeah, I remember that.”

Nita Davanzo: Oh, that’s really fascinating. I love that phrasing. Yeah.

Liz Truesdall: And so I really like it and it’s funny because I feel like there’s this little bit of a tendency to kind of separate yourself from the weirdness of Waldorf. I feel it in myself where if I’m telling somebody who isn’t aware of Waldorf education what I’m doing, if I’m, “Yeah, so I read Steiner and he talks about all these things,” there’s a tendency for me to be like, “It’s kind of out there, but here we go,” and kind of separate myself from it and be like, “Yeah, I’m not doing it, but other people are.” I’m at this point lately where I’m like, “It’s amazing! I don’t-“

Nita Davanzo: Good.

Liz Truesdall: “… even care if you think it’s weird. I think it’s cool!”

Nita Davanzo: Good. Absolutely, to embrace it as this source of inspiration and meaning and value for you. Yeah. Which again, I think about you’re talking about Tom Schaefer of like, if you’re passionate about it and your passion is just gonna be that power shift that’s going to get everybody on board, “Better get on board with this.” Yeah. Oh, wow, Liz. So how many … Is this your last year that you’re in right now, or last summer?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, this is my second to last summer. There’s three summers and yeah, so last year was my first one and then this one is my second one. Yeah, so we had to … It’s kind of an unnatural schedule though, so it’s been kind of hard, because-

Nita Davanzo: Because it’s summer intensive, right?

Liz Truesdall: Yeah. And so we get together for the month of July and it’s amazing. It feels really transformative and we all are living and growing and doing all this cool stuff, and it feels really important, and then we’re away from each other for 11 months and then it’s really hard. Yeah. Thankfully, I’m able to keep in contact with most of my cohort, but a lot of them are from other countries, so it’s really hard to keep in contact with them.

Nita Davanzo: Wow. Yeah, ’cause it’s a transformative experience. It’s really … Yeah, setting on that path together. I mean, it’s almost like … Yeah, it’s an initiation together, to become these beacons as teachers in the world and going out. Wow. Well, Lizzie, I so appreciate all that you’ve shared today. I just think people who listen to this are going to find you absolutely delightful and just such a unique, passionate, empowered woman, and again, I just thank you as another human being in the world for saying yes to becoming a Waldorf teacher and inspiring others on their path forward, it just makes me so excited. So, I give my gratitude to you for everything and everyone that you’re going to touch and inspire further ahead, sweetie. And I’m sure I’ll be in contact soon for another book, ’cause I’m at the end of my list from your sister, Anna, on inspirations and suggestions. Well, Liz, I hope you have a great rest of your day, hun, and really appreciate your time.

Liz Truesdall: Yeah, thanks very much for having me. It was fun.

Nita Davanzo: Yeah, take care, honey. Bye-bye.

Liz Truesdall: Okay, bye.

Nita Davanzo: Thank you for listening to WE Talk, brought to you by Shining Mountain Waldorf School and hosted by Nita June Davanzo. WE Talk is made possible because of listeners like you who invest in the production of the show. Share your appreciation for what you’ve heard today. Help us explore the value of Waldorf education in preparing our children for the future by going to patreon.com/WETalkpodcast. If you’d like to be interviewed, have a suggestion for an episode ahead, or simply wish to share feedback, please email us at WETalk@SMWaldorf.org.

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