In Memoriam: Neal Mobley, former Bright Water Waldorf School science teacher

Posted by: Chris Nelson   -   Posted in: News- Apr 23, 2017 Comments Off on In Memoriam: Neal Mobley, former Bright Water Waldorf School science teacher

Neal Mobley a beloved former Science teacher at Bright Water Waldorf School, passed away in March. Neal had participated in the school from very early on. Many parents who have been around BWWS for a while will have fond memories of his engaging teaching—not to mention his famous tahini sauce! 

Inspired by science from a young age, Neal pursed a degree in engineering and worked in industry for fifteen years. After his daughter attended Seattle Waldorf School, he was inspired to teach, and eventually left his engineering career to become a middle-school Waldorf science teacher of Physics and Chemistry. Neal’s love of science, and of the Waldorf approach he adopted, is well-expressed in some thoughts he shared with us a few years back. 

“Science education begins long before a child enters school. The first nature walk where the child observes, picks up, and asks about every rock, leaf and caterpillar they encounter is a vital moment of learning. The first time a child climbs up on a stool and helps Grandma make biscuits is as well. Or their first experiences of throwing things off the highchair tray to watch them fall. Experiencing the world around us is science education. Children receiving a Waldorf education are allowed to explore their world through play, rhythmic movement, music, and observation—without the heady analysis they are not ready for in the younger years—by building the house from the ground up, rather than starting with the “roof.” A shift happens when the student enters middle school in sixth grade. Around 12 years of age, the child is ready to receive the world in a new way. They are focused more on the world around them and they want to engage this environment in a deeper fashion than before… 

The most rewarding aspect of teaching middle school students, for me, is to set up an environment where they have the freedom to explore their own interests and passions. I am there to shepherd them through the experience, provide the tools and materials they need, help answer any questions they have and get out of their way. The enthusiasm I witness in that environment is indescribable and it can be quite awe-inspiring.” 

As with so many teachers, the gifts Neal Mobley brought to his students will have a lasting, positive impact on their lives. Thank you, Neal, for sharing your love of science with Bright Water.

(You can read more from Neal here and here.)

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