Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
16 June 1921, Stuttgart
Dr. Steiner: It would be good if we could begin with your questions, with those things weighing upon you. Tomorrow’s School Association meeting will not be very long, so we can perhaps discuss things more thoroughly afterward. Today, I would like to learn about what is happening in the faculty itself.
A teacher: Saturday is the opening ceremony, but we have not yet spoken about it.
Dr. Steiner: It is difficult that the school closing and opening ceremonies are occurring so quickly one after another. Have you thought of some way you would like to begin?
A teacher: Perhaps you would say something.
Dr. Steiner: I would be happy to do that. I think it is also necessary that the class teachers once again receive the children. I am not certain if we should create a visible symbol for the beginning of school. A certain impression is made upon the children when the class teachers receive them. That is also true for those teachers of the other subjects like foreign language, eurythmy, shop, and handwork. The reception line is rather long, but it makes a certain impression upon the children when we say some warm words to them at the beginning. You will see that it makes an impression. I will give a short speech first, and then we could go on to that. Perhaps we could do something musically to receive the children, that is, play something to conclude the ceremony. It would be nice if the ceremony concluded musically.
A teacher: We could sing something.
Dr. Steiner: Yes, that is the sort of thing I mean.
A teacher asks about the teaching assignments.
Dr. Steiner: That is not an easy question. We have already determined some of the new class teachers, but others will begin later. Miss Düberg will take over the 1a class, Miss von Grunelius, the 3b class, and Mr. Ruhtenberg, 5b.
Then we have the eighth, ninth, and tenth grade classes. It will not be easy to continue what would otherwise be so desirable, namely, the system we have had until now.
(Speaking to a teacher) Could you perhaps take over mechanics and surveying and survey mapping? It would certainly be good if we had three teachers for the tenth grade. Then there would also be three teachers for the ninth grade. It would be good if we could arrange the last three grades so that they are taken care of by three teachers.
We will need to replace Dr. Schwebsch by the beginning of July. We do not have enough teachers. Mr. Englert is missing and Dr. Kolisko can come only in the fall.
How do we divide the material? Actually, I would prefer to have four teachers for these three classes, but that is not possible right now. What would you prefer to teach, Dr. Stein?
A teacher: I would prefer that you set my task.
Dr. Steiner: I think that you should remain with those things you have been doing. You should do literary history and history in the tenth grade, as well as literature and German in all three grades. I also think that Dr. X. should take over history for the eighth and ninth grades, and that you, Mr. Y., should teach mathematics, physics, and natural sciences for the three grades, as well as mechanics and surveying for the tenth grade. The only problem is that that is only one-third of the time. We will not make a lesson plan, but only determine the amount of time for each subject. I actually wanted four teachers, but that is not possible now. We could try out young Englert for teaching gymnastics.
A teacher: I had assumed I would be doing the practical work in the higher grades, or be teaching those children who have already graduated [from the eighth grade].
Dr. Steiner: The technology class begins in eleventh grade. You are an electrician. Somebody will need to teach spinning and weaving since that is a specific subject at the technical university. That is something our people from the Research Institute could do.
A teacher: I can learn that.
Dr. Steiner: (Speaking to Dr. Kolisko) When you begin in October, you could take over the Health and First Aid course in the tenth grade. That is something we need.
We now have only the problem of the 1b class. (Speaking to Mrs. Stein, who had been away for some months) You want to return to eurythmy. Could you, perhaps, take over the 1b class for six weeks or so? The only problem is your dialect [Mrs. Stein was from Hungary]. The children will pick that up. Perhaps, the best solution would be to ask Dr. Schubert to take over the 1b class.
I have sought everywhere, but have been unable to find anyone to teach religion. We need to separate the children according to grades. I want to avoid the appearance that the religious teaching is something integrated into the school.
There is a discussion of how to schedule foreign language instruction, during which mention is made that some of the Greek and Latin classes have very few children.
Dr. Steiner: If you only have one, if only one child is there, then that child needs to be taught. There is nothing to be done about it, that is what must be. Dr. Röschl is coming in the fall, and then we can take this up more forcefully. Let’s begin with the fifth grade. But we were speaking of the curriculum.
In handwork, we can add only the tenth grade, and we should make it increasingly artistic.
There is some discussion about the amount of work done by some of the teachers.
Dr. Steiner: Mr. X. has 22 hours. That is too much, and the same is true of Mr. Y. with his 24. Mr. Z. could do more, he only has 16 hours, whereas Mr. V. has sufficient with 22 hours.
A teacher asks about the connection between the various organs within the human being and the various periods of history. [Four days before, at the conclusion of the first lecture of the course on teaching adolescents, Dr. Steiner had mentioned that teachers could learn how to treat late Egyptian history by observing the function of the liver.]
Dr. Steiner: You should not do that too consciously. If you were to do it in a very conscious way, it would be forced. I would prefer the history teacher to simply acquire an understanding of the human organism. He will then discover the organ that provides the correct perspective.
There is not sufficient liveliness in the instruction. In most classes, you seem to be having difficulty working with the children. They are not all attentive, and many are not keeping up with their work. That is a problem we need to overcome.
I noticed, for example, that many of the children were very lethargic in the discussion about Jean Paul.
A teacher: That always happened when I was too abstract, that is, when I attempted to present something too strongly conceptual. When I gave examples and such things, then they were certainly interested.
Dr. Steiner: You certainly do not need to overemphasize the participation. You need to occasionally bring in some sort of “at ease!” without letting them get out of hand. You can achieve that when you have their complete attention. Then, you can slip something in by discussing some detail or making a joke or something like that. It is good for children when you bring in something that is not actually a part of the lesson so that you build a good relationship with them. Of course, you shouldn’t become a clown for the class, but it is certainly important to have a relationship to them. You should also bring in the relationships of the children to one another.
Dr. Steiner reads a letter from the medical inspector who, among other things, mentions that the children at the Waldorf School have bad teeth.
r. Steiner: That is just a bluff. That is something that could be determined only by investigating the situation. That is simply stupid. We would need to determine which children have bad teeth; how many have bad teeth and how many have good teeth. With those children who have bad teeth, we would have to find out where they come from, if they are workers’ children. We would then have to look more specifically at them. The fact that we have so many children with bad teeth is because we have so many workers’ children who are not well taken care of and thus have bad teeth. Do you have any insight into this question?
A teacher: I looked at the children in my class and saw that their teeth were not particularly bad. The worst was K. who came from America.
Dr. Steiner: It is quite common that children who come from far away have a bad tooth or sometimes more. We should look at that in more detail. It is total nonsense to say that the children at the Waldorf School have bad teeth. At the time that the good doctor looked at the children, the school had existed for not even two years. Even if demonic forces had brought all these children together, and even if they had worsened here in the Waldorf School, that would not be visible so quickly. Even if we went so far as to think that there were something in the Waldorf School that ruins teeth — we could certainly think that about the eurythmy room— that would certainly not be visible in one and three-quarters years.
The gym is really terrible. Apparently the ground underneath it is not very good. It must be moldy. The cellar is damp. It has a moldy smell to it. We will move the eurythmy into another room. How are things with the construction of the new rooms? A report is given.
Dr. Steiner: Next spring, we will have the eleventh grade and will need a number of new rooms. We most urgently need more rooms for teaching music. That is something we really need. Basically, everything we have is just a make-shift, and that is terrible, that is a real problem. We still are missing something for completing the construction, something very important. The money. Two-and-ahalf million Marks. The Waldorf School Association cannot provide that.
Emil Molt proposes that the company should do it and take out a loan.
Dr. Steiner: Isn’t that what people mean in Vienna when they say, “Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other?”
Emil Molt: People say that here, too.
The possibility of obtaining more money is discussed.