Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
30 July 1920, Stuttgart
A teacher: We need to discuss hiring new teachers.
Dr. Steiner: Yes, we have the personnel problem. The problem is that our present shop teacher has not done what we expected, so we need to think of a replacement. We probably do not need to go into the details. I am not certain to what extent you are familiar with the problem that he could not handle the large classes. He has said that the children in the upper grades did not do the work. You can see that, since the children in the upper grades did not finish what they should.
He found it difficult to work in that area. What I have seen indicated that he does not have sufficient practical talent so that the children could not do their work well because he himself did not have an eye for what the craft demanded. Many of the projects remained at the level of tinkering and were not what they should have been. The children did not learn how to work precisely with him. In the gardening class, the work remained with each child having a small garden where each did what he or she wanted, with the result that it was more like a number of small children’s gardens than a school garden.
The worst thing was that he simply had no heart for his work. His main interest is in studying, but what we actually needed, namely, someone who could teach gardening thoroughly, did not occur. From my perspective, there is nothing else to do other than look for a better teacher. I don’t believe he is able to really bring the artistic into the shop instruction. As things have developed, it is impossible to keep him on the faculty. He doesn’t seem able to find his way into the spirit of the school.
A teacher: Since we brought him here, we should, of course, find a way to take care of him so that he does not become an enemy of the school when we remove him from the faculty.
Emil Molt: I will see that he is taken care of in some way. A teacher: I need to say that I don’t quite understand all this. He certainly gave considerable effort to finding his way into the spirit of the school. He definitely handled my children well and in the gardening class, my class also did well. He will find his way into the artistic aspect.
Dr. Steiner: That will be difficult. What I said about the artistic was in connection with the shop instruction. He will hardly find his way into that.
A teacher: He has the best will, and it will be difficult for him to understand. During the holidays he wants to learn cabinetmaking better and also shoemaking.
Marie Steiner: There is something trusting about him. Dr. Steiner: There is no doubt that he likes to work with children, and that he is serious about it, but there are some things lacking. When I saw certain things that occurred, I had to conclude that it was impossible to leave this work to him.
A teacher: Is there a reason we would need to get rid of him or could we employ him somewhere else, for example in the library? Dr. Steiner: It is certainly difficult to make a clear decision. I think it will be difficult for him to find his way into the real spirit of the school because he hasn’t the spirit in him.
It is certainly possible to carry someone along, but do you really believe that he could do the shop class alone permanently? He could never teach all of the shop classes. Possibly he could teach the four lower classes if we had a teacher for the upper grades. I have my doubts whether he has the spiritual capacity to handle the upper grades in shop. I have watched how he works, and it is really quite nice for the younger children if they put themselves to it. However, for later, when a certain feeling for the craft is necessary, it is a question whether he can gain that feeling. This is very difficult, and we would need to change our thinking if he were to remain. My impression is that this is the general opinion of the faculty.
He has poetic ambitions, but he imagines himself to be much better than he is. He has a wonderful amount of goodwill. I feel sorry for him because I think he will probably develop a lot of resentment. It is always difficult when someone brings a certain personal quality to things when they work at the school. He injects a personal note into everything and is not as objective as he should be. He wants to be someone who becomes a Waldorf teacher, he wants to be a poet. He wants the children to trust him. All of the characteristics he has certainly bring out sympathy for him. We will need to find another position for him. Nevertheless, it would remain difficult since he does not understand certain things about the spirit of the Waldorf School, particularly the shop class. In an area where objectivity is necessary, it is very difficult when sympathy plays a role. All that leads off the path.
Is there some possibility that we could resolve the situation by having him in the lower four grades? That would be desirable, but we would end up with a huge budget. The school is getting bigger.
Emil Molt: We don’t have the money to give him a soft job. As we saw recently, we must count every penny. What we need to do is to take care of him somewhere in the company so that he is not harmed, and we don’t hurt him.
Dr. Steiner: We certainly must take care of him, but we will need to see how to do that. A difficult situation.
We can objectively say that he was not fit for the task. He does not have an artistic feel. I don’t think he would find his way into the subject. As I said, it would hurt nothing if he took the lower grades and someone else, the upper classes. Often, that is the best way and the children will simply work. Later, when they need to show what they can do, things will be better. There is certainly nothing to object to for the lower grades, but for the upper classes, he simply will not do.
A teacher: Do you intend to have one person do it all?
Dr. Steiner: That is a budget question. In the shop class, we must stretch to the limit. It would be best if we strongly developed shop. If we had a good shop teacher, we could start in the sixth grade, but it is a different situation in the gardening class. That needs someone who really understands the subject. If we had two teachers, I would prefer that each would give shop in one year and gardening in the other.
We must realize that if we retain him, other difficulties will arise in the school.
I had the impression that was the opinion of the whole faculty. At the beginning, I thought this was already decided, but now I see that is not so. It is good we have discussed the matter so that we all understand it.
A teacher: Isn’t it possible to see that someone is inadequate for a position earlier?
Dr. Steiner: I already noticed it some time ago, and mentioned it at Christmas and in February. I didn’t go into it then because it is so difficult for me, but it comes up so often, namely, that we shut people out. Recently, there have been many times when the situation seemed to have improved.
Well, there is nothing left to do other than look for another solution. We will need to find another solution.
A teacher: In any event, we will need to find a first-rate shop teacher. It would be possible to have him as an assistant to the main teacher. Some time ago, Mr. X. wanted to take over the shop class.
Dr. Steiner: I already said that it would be best if someone who is one the faculty would learn how to make shoes. I didn’t think we should employ a shoemaker. The instruction in shop must come from the faculty, but suddenly Y. was there. It was only fleetingly mentioned to me, and it was certainly not intended that he completely take over the teaching of shop.
A teacher: He sort of grew into the faculty without a decision that he should become a part.
Dr. Steiner: Now we’re rather caught in the situation. We shouldn’t allow such things to happen. Recently when we were talking, I was quite surprised that someone who was not at all under consideration for the faculty was at the meeting. Those who are not on the faculty should not be at the meetings.
A teacher: I certainly think we can take him on as an assistant. Dr. Steiner: It would be too much for one teacher to do the gardening and the shoemaking, but then we would have to be able to pay him.
Emil Molt: I would say that budget considerations should be subordinate to the major considerations.
Dr. Steiner: It was certainly not harmful that he was there, but the harm may first arise when he is left out. He has become a teacher in a way I have often encountered in Stuttgart. If you ask how they reach their position, you find out that people have simply pushed their way in. They suddenly appear. I don’t understand how people move up. It is certainly true that we cannot continue in that way.
You need to realize, Mr. X., that one thing builds upon the other. As we decided, you were to create the shop instruction. Mr. Molt asked if we could consider Y. as an assistant for you, then, suddenly, he was sitting here in the faculty. He was never under consideration as a teacher for the Waldorf School. We can see that clearly because he is an employee of the Waldorf-Astoria Company that they sent over. Thus, there was not the least justification for him to be on the faculty.
A teacher: I don’t think we can work intimately if someone is here who does not belong.
Dr. Steiner: If he is already here, we can’t do that. If he has been teaching the subject and if other difficulties did not arise, we could not say that Y. is no longer on the faculty.
A teacher: It was a mistake to let him in.
A teacher: Yes, but we were the ones who made the mistake.
Dr. Steiner: The Waldorf School will pay for it. Just as people have made mistakes in the Anthroposophical Society, and in spite of the fact that people make these same mistakes time and again, I was the one who had to suffer. I had to suffer for each person we threw out. It is clear that in this case, the Waldorf School will have to suffer, but I think it is better that it suffer outwardly rather than within.
Following further discussion:
Dr. Steiner: Well, we will just have to try to keep him if there is no other way.
[After further discussion on the next day, of which there are no notes, Y. was told that he would no longer work in the Waldorf School.]
Dr. Steiner: It is certainly not so that we will include every specialty teacher in the faculty. The intent is that the inner faculty includes the class teachers and the older specialty teachers, and that we also have an extended faculty.
A teacher: My perspective is that we should include only those whom Dr. Steiner called to the faculty, and thus that someone’s mere presence in some position does not mean that he or she will automatically be part of the faculty.
A teacher: Who should be on the faculty?
Dr. Steiner: Only the main teachers, those who are practicing, not on leave, should be on the faculty. In principle, the faculty should consist of those who originally were part of the school and those who came later but whom we wish had participated in the course last year. We have always discussed who is to be here as a real teacher. If someone is to sit with us, he or she must be practicing and must be a true teacher.
Berta Molt: Well, then, I don’t belong here, either.
Dr. Steiner: You are the school mother. That was always the intent. Mrs. Steiner is here as the head of the eurythmy department and Mr. Molt as the patron of the school, that was always the intent from the very beginning.
If we have discussed it, then there is not much to say. That was the case with Baravalle. He was here as a substitute, but we discussed that. It was also clear that he would eventually come into a relationship to the school, because he would eventually be a primary teacher.
We still have the question of whom to consider as a teacher.
A teacher: Must the new teacher be an anthroposophist, or can it be someone outside?
Dr. Steiner: That is something I do not absolutely demand, we have already discussed it.
I propose that we talk with Wolffhügel regarding the shop class and see if he wants to take it. I think that Wolffhügel would be quite appropriate. That would be really good. He is a painter and works as a furniture maker. That would be excellent.
Now we need know only which of the new teachers should attend our meetings. Of course, Wolffhügel should.
I was only in the handwork class a few times, but once I had to ask myself why a child did not have a thimble on. I have always said that we must get the children accustomed to sewing with a thimble. They should not do it without a thimble. We cannot allow that.
We cannot know ahead of time whether a teacher can keep the children quiet. Often we can know that, I think, but we can also experience some surprises. You just don’t always know.
We need two teachers for the first grade. For the 1B class, I would propose Miss Maria Uhland and for the 1A class, Killian. I think we should hire them provisionally and not bring them into the faculty meetings.
We then have Miss von Mirbach for the second grade, for the third grade, Pastor Geyer, for the fourth grade, Miss Lang, for the fifth grade, Mrs. Koegel. Dr. Schubert will have the weaker children, the remedial class, and Dr. von Heydebrand, the sixth grade.
We still need someone. Baravalle would be good for the second sixth-grade class. I think we should take him. He can also do his doctoral work here.
Dr. Kolisko will take over the whole seventh grade.
I also think we should do the eighth and ninth grades as we did the seventh and eighth. How did that work?
A teacher: We took the classes in alternating weeks. Our impression is that if we alternate it daily, we would not know the class well enough.
Dr. Steiner: Then your perspective is that it is better to teach for a week, better than alternating daily?
A teacher: The reason why we two did not know our classes very well is unclear to me. The fact is that I knew the children the least of all our colleagues. Could you perhaps say what the problem was?
Dr. Steiner: That will not be better until you are more efficient in regard to the subject matter and how you treat it. You felt under pressure. You had, in general, too little contact with the children and lectured too much.