Martina Simunek-Suarez

Martina Simunek-Suarez

Foreign Language

I have been a class teacher at Boulder Valley Waldorf School in Niwot for 7 years and a foreign language teacher since 2004, though currently I only teach German to middle school students; well, and enough to my second graders to satisfy their curiosity about my mother tongue. The Gradalis training allowed me to continue my journey as class teacher with my previous class while diving into the kaleidoscope of the Waldorf teacher training. And when my eighth-grade students graduated from BVWS in 2018, so did I as one among the first graduates of the Gradalis teacher training. Some of my busiest and most intense but also most satisfying years were the ones when I was offered the opportunity to not only teach at Boulder Valley but also teach German and Goethe’s Faust at Tara Performing Arts High School in Boulder. To accompany our students from first to eighth grade is unique and special, but to be allowed to continue that journey up to college was quite extraordinary and miraculous. While I have been working closely with Spanish and Mandarin Chinese teachers here in Colorado, I took equal delight in working with the Russian teacher at the Freie Waldorf Schule Wien West in Austria, where I taught English, English Drama and Geography from 2011 to 2012. But maybe I should just start at the beginning? I was born in a tiny medieval town with the enormously long name of Waidhofen an der Ybbs in the northern foothills of the Austrian Alps but grew up in the steel town of Kapfenberg in the southern Alps. At the Karl Franzens Universität in Graz, founded in 1585 by Archduke Charles II of Austria, I studied English, Geography and Economics, Russian, and Pedagogy to become a teacher at a Gymnasium, a college prep school, grades 5 through 12. Then destiny began to intervene. A Fulbright Scholarship granted me the opportunity to study in the Vietnam War Literature Collection at CSU in Fort Collins for my Master’s thesis, American Women in Vietnam War Literature. There I met my future husband, Julian. With two precious little boys in tow we skipped across the Atlantic a few times to live and teach at public and private schools in several European countries and a couple of US states before putting roots down in Louisville, Colorado. Although my cousin had introduced me to Waldorf education years earlier, it was here that I not only rediscovered it but was thrown right into the deep end of the Waldorf pool when I answered an ad in the Daily Camera for a German teacher position at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School (now Boulder Valley WS). And the rest, well, you only have to go back to the top to read what happened then.

“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.”

–Rudolf Steiner


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