Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
15 October 1921, Stuttgart
Dr. Steiner: Is everyone here? We have gathered today because we have a number of things to discuss, and also because Mr. S. believes there are some things he needs to say about the events of the last meeting. I am not certain whether we should do that first.
A teacher: What should we do about the parents of the children who were expelled? We think their progress reports should not include any remarks about the expulsion.
Dr. Steiner: People all over Stuttgart are talking about the school and those rumors will then conclude that the faculty did not have the courage to admit what it had done.
If something like what occurred here came up in another school, it would not be such an affair as we have here. There has been some talk about whether one thing or another corresponds to what is normal in other schools, but this situation could, under certain circumstances, bring the entire Waldorf School into discredit if it is improperly used. You speak as though you did not know Mr. von Gleich exists. If someone were expelled in some other school, no one would care. What I fear is that if we do come to agreement, but handle it the way we are now, we will soon have a repetition.
I did not say he must be removed, but that it is possible that we may have to expel him. The goal of all of the suspensions was to enable us to discuss the matter. When you came to me in Dornach with that pile of unbelievable interrogations, there was nothing more to do. There was nothing more we could do. I said that you should look into the matter, but I did not mean that you should formally interrogate the boys and girls. I wanted the suspensions because I had lost trust.
A teacher: My recollection is that you said the other students must be suspended.
Dr. Steiner: I used the conditional tense: “If G.S. really gave the injections, then it might well be necessary to expel him.” You looked into the matter only afterward.
A teacher: The situation with the injections was completely clear.
Dr. Steiner: It is clear that the boys played around. No one knows what he injected. There were some stupid pranks. The reason for the suspension was to be able to look into the matter when I got here. The problem is that the case of G.S. in connection with the others has created these difficulties. The problem that will create difficulties for the school is that the others had to be removed. The difficulty lies in the situation as a whole.
A teacher asks Dr. Steiner to say something about the lack of contact with the students.
Dr. Steiner: The contact between the faculty and the students in the upper grades has been lost. That is not something new. It was quite clear when the students in the upper grades requested a meeting with me. That fact alone speaks quite clearly about a loss of contact with the students. That is the foundation of the whole problem. As soon as such contact is genuinely present, things like this will no longer occur.
How do you think I could make a decision about such a matter over the phone, when I could not actually look at the situation? At the point when Mr. S. brought me the minutes of the interrogations containing things that should never have been discussed, a genuine conflict between the faculty and the students existed. There was nothing for me to decide, since I could not go so far as to make the students into teachers. The problem was a polarity, teachers or students. That became grotesquely apparent. Things slid so far that the students themselves spoke about the teachers speaking to them differently as teachers and as human beings. There was an open conflict between the faculty and the students, and there was, therefore, no other possibility than to make a decision. All that was left was to find the right words. What I said on the telephone was that you should look into the matter and determine the cause. Instead, you interrogated the students. It is only possible to understand “looking into the matter” as trying to determine what the problem is through observation. My understanding was that the faculty would try to find out what was behind the situation, but holding interrogations was simply impossible. I also do not believe that you held these interrogations before our first telephone conversation.
A teacher: There were no interrogations before the second telephone conversation.
Dr. Steiner: What I said could have only meant that if the suspicion were correct that G.S. had injected a student with morphine or opium, we would have to expel him.
A teacher: When a boy injects someone, it seems to me that that is such bad behavior that there is nothing else to be done other than throw him out.
Another teacher: Could we take that back?
Dr. Steiner: That would harm the movement most. You need to remember the following. I had to speak about the Waldorf School recently. I had to present the Waldorf School to the public as a model school, and in fact, it is broadly seen as such. Those people in Stuttgart who are interested in the Waldorf School need only to ask around, and they hear exactly the opposite. These are the things I am always referring to that arise from our position and make it possible to undermine the anthroposophical movement. The question is whether we want to create something that would help undermine the movement. The anthroposophical movement will not be undermined if we expel some students. It would, however, be undermined if people say things that we cannot counter. I am powerless against things that take place in discussions in which I do not participate. It is impossible for me to speak with the expelled students. There is nothing I can say when things have gone so far that the students have left. Through such events, I cannot speak at all about the school. This occurs just at the time when everyone is talking about the school.
I deeply regret that despite the fact that I have been here, I could not see everything. I did see most things, but not everything. I have to say that some aspects of the teaching in the Waldorf School are really very good and are still maintained in our old exemplary form. I really prefer, as long as it is not otherwise necessary, to say exemplary. However, there are certain points that show that the Waldorf School principles are no longer being carried out. We really need to discuss everything here in our meetings. It is an impossible situation when I come into a class, and the teacher has a book in hand and reads an arithmetic problem out of it, where the question is to compute the sum of the ages of three people and then another question is asked so that the children need to determine the sum of the ages of seven people. We are part of a movement that says that we should do only what is true to reality, and then we ask the children to compute the total ages of a group of people. What result do you expect? There is no reality in that. If such sloppiness happens in the school, then what I presented to you in our seminar course was simply for nothing.
As far as I am concerned, if that were simply one case, I would have said nothing. And if there were simply some points that were not so carefully considered, I would not be leaving with such a heavy heart. I have always tried to stress that the Waldorf School can put you above normal, everyday superficiality, but now the Waldorf School has fallen into the typical Stuttgart system. That is, for me, the most bitter thing that can occur, especially when I have to present the Waldorf School as a model. Somehow, that you have lost contact with one another must lie in the atmosphere here.
I must admit I’m really very concerned. When we founded the Waldorf School, we had to make a kind of declaration that after the students had completed three grades, they would be able to move to another school without difficulty. When I look at what we have achieved in three years — well, we just are not keeping up. It is really impossible for us to keep up.
The school inspector’s report was somewhat depressing for me. From what you told me earlier, I had thought he was ill-willed. But, the report is full of goodwill. I must admit that I found everything he wrote necessary. For example, you are not paying enough attention, so the students are always copying from one another. The things contained in the report are true, and that is so bitter. You gave me the impression he had done everything with ill intent. However, it is actually written in such a way that you can see he did not at all want to harm the school. Of course, he speaks that way when we are totally ruining the children. And of course, the result will be that things that are so good in principle become so bad when they are improperly used. We must use what is good. What we need is a certain kind of enthusiasm, a kind of inner activity, but all this has slowly disappeared. Only the lower grades have some real activity, and that is a terrible spectacle. The dead way of teaching, the indifference with which the instruction is given, the complete lack of spontaneity, must all disappear. Some things are still extraordinarily good, as I said before, but in other places there is a total loss of what should be. We need some life in the classes, real life, and then things will fall into place. You need to be able to go along with things and agree with them if you are to present them publicly, that is no longer possible for me. In many cases, people act as though they did not need to prepare before going into class.
I do not want to imply that is done elsewhere. I say it because no one wants to understand what I have been saying for years, namely, that through the habits of Stuttgart, the anthroposophical movement has been ruined. We were not able to bring forth what we need to care for, the true content of the movement. The Waldorf faculty has completely ignored the need to seek out contact. Now, the Society does not try to contact the teachers, and if you ask why, you are told that they do not want us. That is certainly the greatest criticism and a very bitter pill! Each individual needs to feel that they belong to the Society, but that feeling is no longer present. I always need to call attention to the fact that we have the movement. As long as people did not start things and then lose interest in them after a time, things went well for the movement. However, here in Stuttgart things have been founded where people have lost interest in them, and the Stuttgart system arose in that way. Every clique goes its own way, and now the Waldorf School is also taking on the same characteristic, so that it loses consciousness of its true foundation.
That is why I say it is obvious that this event will have no good end. If it were possible to guarantee that we would again try to work from the Waldorf School principle — if only such a guarantee were present! But, there is no such guarantee. There are always a lot of people who want to visit the Waldorf School. I am always sitting on pins and needles when someone comes and wants to visit. It is possible to discover a great deal when you think about things away from school. I certainly understand how difficult it is to create such classes, but on the other hand, I certainly miss the fire that should be in them. There is no fire, only indifference. There is a kind of being comfortable there. I cannot say that what was intended has in any way actually occurred.
A teacher: ... I want to leave...
Dr. Steiner: I do not want to create resentments. That is not the point. If I thought that nothing else could be done, I would have spoken differently. I am speaking from an assumption that the faculty consists of capable people. I am convinced that the problem lies in the habits of Stuttgart, and that people act with closed ears and closed eyes. They are asleep. I have not accused any teachers, but a sloppiness is moving in. There is no more diligence present. But diligence can be changed, it is simply no longer present.
A teacher: I would like to ask you to tell us what we have missed.
Dr. Steiner: This way of forcing something that has absolutely nothing to do with a mechanism into a mechanized scheme is simply child’s play in contrast to the inner process of it. This way of ignorantly putting all kinds of things together and calling it a picture when it is really not a picture is simply a method of occupying the students for a few hours. I believe it is absolutely impossible to discover an external mechanical scheme for the interaction of things connected with language. What would the children get from it when you draw a figure and then write “noun” and so forth in one corner? That is all an external mechanism that simply makes nonsense of instruction.
I hope that no animosities arise from what I am saying. Actually, our pedagogical discussions have been better than that. This fantasizing is most definitely not real. I was very happy with physical education. We should absolutely support that by finding another gymnastics teacher. The boys have become quite lazy. I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that there are also other impulses. Mr. N. has greatly misunderstood me. I did not claim that anyone was incapable of doing things the way that I would like. The problem is that we need to be colleagues in the movement.
A teacher: I have asked myself if my teaching has become worse.
Dr. Steiner: The problem you have is that you have not always followed the directive to bring what you know anthroposophically into a form you can present to little children. You have lectured the children about anthroposophy when you told them about your subject. You did not transform anthroposophy into a child’s level. That worked in the beginning because you taught with such enormous energy. It must have been closer to your heart two years ago than what you are now teaching, so that you awoke the children through your enthusiasm and fire, whereas now you are no longer really there. You have become lazy and weak, and, thus, you tire the children. Before, your personality was active. You could teach the children because your personality was active. It is possible you slipped into this monotone. The children are not coming along because they have lost their attentiveness. You no longer work with them with the necessary enthusiasm, and now they have fallen asleep. You are not any dumber than you were then, but you could do things better. It is your task to do things better, and not say that you need to be thrown out. I am saying that you are not using your full capacities. I am speaking about your not wanting to, not your not being able to.
(Speaking to a second teacher) You need only round yourself out in some areas and get away from your lecturing tone.
(Speaking to a third teacher) I have already said enough to you.
A teacher asks about more time for French and English since two hours are not sufficient in the eleventh grade.
Dr. Steiner: We can do such things only when we have developed them enough that we can allow the children to simply decide in which direction they want to be educated. We cannot increase the number of school hours. The number of school hours has reached a maximum, for both teachers and children. The children are no longer able to concentrate because of the number of hours in the classroom. We need to allow the children to decide. We need to limit Latin and Greek to those students who want to take the final examinations, and those students will also have to limit their other subjects. We already had to limit modern languages for them and allow more teaching time in Greek and Latin.
A teacher: The children come to me for Latin and Greek immediately after shop, eurythmy, and singing. I cannot properly teach them when they are so distracted.
Dr. Steiner: That may be true. Allowing the children to participate in everything cannot continue.
A teacher: We need to differentiate between those going into the humanities and those going on in business. Could we cut the third hour of main lesson short?
Dr. Steiner: Main lesson? That would be difficult. We can certainly not say that any part of the main lesson is superfluous.
A teacher: I wanted to make a similar request for modern languages in the tenth grade.
Dr. Steiner: It is certainly difficult to discuss moving forward in languages if we do not provide what the children need to have in other areas. In previous years, we did not do enough in those areas.
A teacher: If they have shop, I cannot teach Latin.
Dr. Steiner: That is a question of the class schedule and that needs to be decided by the faculty. You wrote down the class schedule for me. I will go through it to see if there is something we can do based purely upon the schedule. On the other hand, I was startled by how little the children can do. There is no active capacity for doing in the children, not even in the objective subjects. The children know so little about history. In general, the children know too little and can do too little. The problem is that an indifference has crept in, so that the things that are necessary are not done. There is no question of that in the 8b class. You need to be there for only five minutes and you can see that the children can do their arithmetic. This all depends upon the teachers’ being interested in the material. It is readily apparent how well the children in the 8b class can do arithmetic. What they can do, you do not see through examples of how they solve problems. That does not say very much. What you can see is that they were very capable in arithmetic methods. Individual cases prove that, but arithmetic is going poorly nearly everywhere.
(To a class teacher) The children know quite a lot, but you should not leave it to the children to decide when they want to say something, as those who are lazy will not speak up. You need to be careful that no one gets by without answering. Those who did speak knew quite a lot, and the history class went very well.
A teacher asks whether it would be possible to hold evening meetings where the teachers could meet together with students who were free.
Dr. Steiner: That would certainly be good. However, it is important how the teachers behave there. Such meetings must not lead to what occurred previously when the students voted for a student president.
A teacher: I thought more of lectures, music, and such things. Not a discussion.
Dr. Steiner: That might well be good, but it could also lead to a misunderstanding of the relationships.
A teacher wants to have one additional hour for each of the ancient languages.
Dr. Steiner: We cannot increase the amount of school time.
A number of teachers speak about the class schedule and increasing the amount of school time.
Dr. Steiner: An increase in the amount of school time cannot be achieved in an absolute sense. We can only increase the number of hours in one subject by decreasing them in another.
A teacher: The tenth grade has students who have forty-four hours of school per week.
Dr. Steiner: That is why many cannot do anything. I will look at the class schedule.
A teacher asks what to do for those who want a more musical education.
Dr. Steiner: If we begin allowing differences, we will have to have three different areas, the humanities, business, and art. We must look into whether that is possible without a significant increase in the size of the faculty.
A teacher: The students want to be involved in everything.
Dr. Steiner: That is perhaps a question for the faculty, and you should discuss it.
Now, to the things that are not as they should be and that have grown to cause me considerable concern. I am concerned, particularly for the upper grades, that the instruction is tending toward sensationalism. That occurs to the detriment of the liveliness in teaching. They want to have a different sensation every hour. The teaching in the upper grades has developed into a craving for sensations, and that is something that has, in fact, been cultivated. There is too little emphasis upon being able to do, and too much upon simply absorbing. That is sensational for many. When the students have so little inner activity, and they learn to feel responsibility so little, they assume that they can do whatever they want. That is often the attitude. You have copied too much from the university atmosphere. The boys think this is a university, and there is not enough of a genuine school atmosphere.
A teacher: If the students would participate energetically, I could give two hours of languages without becoming tired.
Dr. Steiner: Keeping the class active makes you more tired than when it sleeps.
A teacher asks about finding a new teacher for modern languages.
Dr. Steiner: We have been talking about a teacher for modern languages for quite some time. We could ask Tittmann, but I do not dare do that because we need to economize in every area. Try to imagine where we would get the money if we had no money for the Waldorf School. I would like to see the size of the faculty doubled, but that is not possible.
All this is something that is not directly connected with the difficulties. Most of them lie in attitude and will. For example, we must certainly stop using those cheap and sloppy student editions in our classes.
We can discuss the question of the teaching plan when I return. I would ask that you continue in the present way until the end of October. I hope that by the end of October we can move on to radical changes, but I fear they cannot be made.
A teacher asks about an explanation of the situation with the expelled students that is to appear in Anthroposophy and in the daily newspapers. Not only inaccurate, but also completely fabricated things had been reported publicly as facts.
Dr. Steiner: This explanation would refute what has already been published. The story is really going all around Stuttgart. It is a waste of time to explain things to bureaucrats, but the public should not remain unclear about it. We need to say that people could think what they want about the reasons, but we should energetically counter everything and declare them to be false. We should not forget that our concern here is not simply connected with the school, but is also a matter for the anthroposophical movement. Here I do not mean the Society, since it is asleep. But, we need to give some explanation. That would be the first thing to do. We can certainly not get by without that. When we expel some students, we also need to justify that publicly, otherwise it would just be one more nail in the coffin of the movement. We need to do it without making a big fuss, and we cannot act as though we were defending ourselves. That is why I was so surprised when you sent me the record of the interrogations while I was in Dornach. I found it mortifying to go into a “court procedure” with some students because of some dumb pranks.
A teacher: Would it be possible to write the text now?
Dr. Steiner: Well, you can make proposals. I don’t think it would be so easy to write by simply making proposals now. It needs to be written by someone with all due consideration.
A teacher asks about progress reports for these students.
Dr. Steiner: Progress reports? Giving in to someone like Mrs. X. (a mother who had written a letter to the faculty) is just nonsense. I cannot participate in the discussion because people would then complain that this is the first time they had heard about the situation. The faculty has made the most crass errors. You should have let the parents know earlier. As far as I am concerned, the reports could be phrased so that what the children are like is apparent only from the comments about their deportment, but that would only make things worse. Everyone knows they have been expelled, but then they receive a good report. Most teachers do not know that expulsions occur only rarely.
The best would be if Dr. X. would write these progress reports. Perhaps I could also look at them. Mr. Y. is too closely involved. I don’t think it would be a good idea for those most closely involved to do it. Form a committee of three, and then present me with your plans.
Concerning the parent meeting, you could do that, but without me. They might say things I could not counter, if I hear something I cannot defend. The things I say here, I could not say to the parents. We need to clear the air, and the teachers must take control of the school again. You do not need to talk about the things not going well. I think a meeting with the parents would be a good idea, but you, the faculty, would have to really be there. The things I took exception to earlier are directly connected with this matter. The school needs a new direction. You need to eliminate much of the fooling around. We need to be more serious. How are things with the student Z. who left?
A teacher gives a report.
Dr. Steiner: We need to be firm that he left the second, not the third, grade. Then we must try to show why it only seems that students are not so far along at the end of the second grade. The examples of his work we sent along show that Z. did not progress very far, that he only could write “hors” instead of “horse.” There are many such examples, but they are not particularly significant. Take another example. “He could only add by using his fingers.” That is not so bad. It is clear he could not add the number seven to another number.
The two places that could be dangerous for us lie in the following. The one is that people could claim he could do less than is possible with a calculator. To that, we can say that our goal is to develop the concept of numbers differently. We do not think that is possible with such young children. We will have to go into this business with calculators. The other thing that is dangerous for us is his poor dictation. There, we can simply say that dictation is not really a part of the second grade in our school. The situation is quite tempting for someone with a modern pedagogical understanding. That is how we can most easily be attacked. We will have to defend ourselves against that. We need to energetically and decisively defend ourselves. We need to stop the possibility of being criticized on these two points. We need to ward off this matter with a bitter humor. The report that was sent along makes things more difficult. He got a good report from us. This letter was written with good intent. For example, “I could not develop his knowledge further within the context of my class.” On the other hand, though, it is incomprehensible to a schoolmaster that he could write “horse” as “hors.”
A teacher: We have also received students who could not write.
Dr. Steiner: We should use such facts. If you can prove that, then you should include it. He wrote two-and-a-half typed pages, and then scribbled in some more. We should write just as much. We need to write back to him sarcastically. We need to develop some enthusiasm. We can certainly go that far. You need only look at Goethe’s letters, and you will also find errors of the same caliber. The faculty seems like a lifeless lump to me. You give no sign of having the strength to throw these things back into people’s faces. We need to use such things. The faculty is simply a lifeless lump. You are all sitting on the curule chairs of the Waldorf School, but we must be alive.
We need to use the resources we have. We need to write just as much, not like Mr. X. writes, but with a tone that is well-intended and not attacking.
A teacher: Do I always write such bad letters?
Dr. Steiner: Perhaps it is only this one case that I saw. A teacher asks about a student from out of town who cannot come to school when the weather is bad.
Dr. Steiner: We could give the father a binding answer. We could tell him that if the child lived in Stuttgart, we could, to the extent possible, take over the responsibility. However, when the boy has to make a longer trip, we can hardly be responsible for sending him out into bad weather when that might make him ill. We should tell the father that we understand the boy’s situation. However, we can make no decision other than to say that if the boy does not move into Stuttgart, he should leave the school. We need to take on that responsibility.
A teacher: Some students in the upper grades are taking jobs.
Dr. Steiner: That is no concern of ours if they are good students.
A teacher mentions a letter about a visit of some English teachers.
Dr. Steiner: We will have to accept their visit. However, I hope that by then there is a different atmosphere in the school. They can visit the various classes.
A teacher asks about how to treat colors in art class.
Dr. Steiner: Couldn’t you do what I said to the boys and girls yesterday? What I said today was concerned more with modern history. What I have said specifically about how to treat colors could be the subject of a number of lessons. Perhaps Miss Waller could send it to you from Dornach. I think you could go directly into the practical use of color with this class, so they become aware of what they have done in the lower grades. They should become aware of that. Of course, you must then go into the many things that must be further developed, the things you have begun, so that you also have them draw. I do not mean simply curves. You could also do the same with colors. For example, you could do it just as you did with curves to contrast a rounded and well-delineated blue spot and a curved yellow stroke. You should not do that too early. In the lower grades, the colors should live completely in seeing.
From there, you can go on to comparative anatomy; you could contrast the extremities in front and back. You could contrast the capacity of certain animals for perceiving and feeling with the wagging of a dog’s tail. That is actually the same problem. In that way, you can really get into life, you get into reality. Such things need to be brought into all areas of instruction. For many children, it is as though their heads were filled with pitch — they cannot think. They need to do such things through an inner activity, so that they genuinely participate. You can learn a great deal from the gymnastics class.
Yesterday, the boys were really very clumsy. I mean, they had a natural clumsiness and gymnastics is quite difficult for them. We need a second gymnastics teacher. The most you can teach is fourteen hours of gymnastics. If we had eighteen, we would need a second teacher. Particularly for boys, gymnastics, if it is not done pedantically, as it usually is, but, in fact, becomes a developmental force for the physical body, is really very good with eurythmy. The gymnastics teacher: I begin with the sixth grade.
Dr. Steiner: Of course, we need to begin earlier. I would find it not at all bad if Mr. Wolffhügel would see to it that our classrooms are not so plain, but that they had some artistic content also. Our school gives the impression we have no understanding of art.
A teacher: B.B. is in my seventh grade class. Could you give me some advice?
Dr. Steiner: He is in a class too high for what he knows. He is lazy? I think it is just his nature, that he is Swedish, and you will have to accept that he cannot quickly comprehend things. They grasp things slowly, but if you return to such things often, it will be all right. They love to have things repeated. That is perhaps what it is that you are observing with him.
A teacher: He is a clever swindler and a facile liar.
Dr. Steiner: He does not understand. A swindler? That cannot be true. He does the things we have often discussed, but they only indicate that you need to work with him so that he develops some feeling for authority. If he respects someone, as he does Mr. L., then things are all right. What is important is that you repeatedly discuss things with him. He is not at all impertinent. It is important that you put yourself in a position of respect.
A teacher tells about an event.
Dr. Steiner: That was an event connected with a curious concept of law. In a formal sense, it was not right, and he thought the man should be punished. He was preoccupied with that thought for a long time. Sometimes you need to find out about such things from the children and then speak about them and calm them. If such things continue to eat into them, then things will become worse, and that is the case with all of these boys. It is bad when children think the teacher does not see what is right. We cannot be indifferent in that regard. We need to take care that the children do not believe that we judge them unjustly. If they believe that, we should not be surprised if they are impertinent.
A teacher asks about languages in the seventh and eighth grades. A third of the class are beginners and two-thirds are better. The teacher asks if it would be possible to separate the beginners from the more advanced students.
Dr. Steiner: It is miserable that we do not group the children who are at the same stage. Is it so impossible to group them that way? You would need to put the fifth graders in a lower group. It has gradually developed that we are teaching language by grade, and that is a terrible waste of our energy. Couldn’t we teach according to groups and not according to grade?
A teacher: There is a time conflict.
Dr. Steiner: I am always sad that I cannot participate more in such things. I cannot believe it would not be possible. I still think it would be possible to group the students according to their capabilities, and at the same time work within the class schedule. That must certainly be possible if you have the goodwill to do it.
A teacher: It is possible with the seventh and eighth Grades.
Dr. Steiner: I think we could keep the same number of classroom hours. I cannot imagine that we cannot have specific periods for language during the week. Then we could do that.
A teacher: The problem is the religious instruction.
Dr. Steiner: Perhaps we could do it if we fixed the languages classes to specific hours during the week.
A teacher asks whether Dr. Steiner had looked at W.A. in the seventh grade.
Dr. Steiner: God! He certainly is disturbed by everything. He has gotten better, and if you ask him sometimes to say good things, he is also happy to do that. He likes some things. It would be a good idea if you gave him more serious things to write in his book. Curative eurythmy would not be much help. He needs to practice very serious things.
A teacher: Have you anything more to say about my class?
Dr. Steiner: In general, your class needs to be more involved with the material. They are not really in it. They are, what, about thirteen- year-old boys and girls. I think, of course, that enlivening arithmetic would do much to awaken them. They are not particularly awake. I do not think that they have a good understanding of what powers and exponents are. Do you do anything explain why they are called powers?
A teacher: I began with growth.
Dr. Steiner: I think you should include something like stories in the arithmetic instruction so that the process becomes clear from within. There are many ways you can do that, but you must always connect them with the material. The methods you have used with the children, where they use their fingers, are nothing more than an external contrivance with no inner connection. It tends toward being only play. If the children do not really concentrate, I do not believe the boys and girls will be able to solve the same equations a year from now that the present eighth-grade class can. It is a question whether they will be able to do that. They are not awake. They are still at the stage of thinking like a calf. In the other seventh-grade class, if we take the children’s abilities into account, they are actually more capable and more awake. Your class is not very awake. On the whole, you have a rather homogeneous class, whereas H.’s class has some who are quite capable and some who are quite dumb. Your class is more homogeneous. It is a very difficult group. You have some gifted children in your 8b class. The 8b class is made up of just about only geniuses. I think in your seventh-grade class there are quite a number who are basically dumb, and I think that you need to pull them out of their lethargy. They are covered with mildew. I am quite sorry I have not had time enough everywhere. Many things would have been easier had we not had these tremendous moral difficulties that have taken so much time. If the masters of pedagogy sitting on top of the mountain really had a more positive attitude toward the pedagogical course, I could have been more effective here. As it was, everything was very difficult. You do not need to get angry if I say that the faculty is like a heavy, dense mass sitting lazily upon their curule chairs, and because of that, we are all being ground up. We have yet to experience the worst opposition.
A teacher: Everything builds up because you are here so seldom.
Dr. Steiner: Then we have to find some way of making the year 975 days long. Recently I’ve been on the road all the time. Since November of 1921, I am almost always traveling. I cannot be here more. Things would go better if Stuttgart cliques don’t gain too strong a hold. The anthroposophical movement should never have expanded beyond what it was in 1914. That is not the right thing to think. The medical group says exactly the same thing. Mr. K., from Hamburg, thinks I need to go to Hamburg. However, I can discuss that question only when I have seen that they have done everything else. The pedagogical course I held contains everything. It only needs to be put into practice. I would never say such terrible things to the medical group if I had seen things progressing there. But they have simply left things aside. It is as though I had never held the seminar here.
A teacher mentions the difficulties that have arisen due to bad living conditions.
Dr. Steiner: Certainly, that has some effect, but there is an objection I could raise if I really wanted to complain. That has nothing to do with the fact that the school is as it is. That has nothing to do with that. It is not my intent to point my finger, I only want to say how things are. It is very difficult. I have said much that sticks in your throat, but it all came from a recognition that things must be different. The fact that, for instance, there really is no contact among you certainly has nothing to do with the problem of your housing. That everyone goes their own way is connected directly with how the school itself is. If anthroposophical life in Stuttgart were more harmonious, that would benefit the school, but recently things have become worse. In a moral sense, everyone is walling themselves off, and we will soon be at a point where we do not know one another. That is something that has become worse over time. What each individual does must affect others and become a strength in the Society. What we need is a joyful recognition and valuation of what is done by each individual, but the goodwill for that is missing. We are missing a joyful and receptive recognition of the achievements of individuals. We are simply ignoring those achievements. You should speak about what is worthy of recognition. The Stuttgart attitude, however, is non-recognition, and that curtails achievement. If I work and nothing happens, I become stymied. Negative judgments are justified only in connection with positive ones, but you have no interest in positive achievements. People become stymied when not one living soul is interested in the work they have done.
To a large extent, the contact between student and teacher has been lost and something else has developed. When there is such disinterest, I have no guarantee that such things as have happened could not be repeated again in the future.
A teacher asks about a permanent class teacher for one of the upper grades.
Dr. Steiner: Things were no different before. There was a time when the students just hung on Dr. X. That occurred until a certain time and then stopped.
A teacher: Things have become so fragmented due to the many illnesses.
Dr. Steiner: The catastrophe occurred just at that time when not so many people were away. In general, our students are not bad students. I do not want to overemphasize it, but it seems to me that there is a certain kind of indifference here. Indifference was not so prominent when the teachers had more to do. Since the teachers have had some relief, a kind of indifference has arisen.
There must be some reason factions arise. People are talking about causality, that is, cause and effect. In the world around us, the effects arise from their causes, but here in Stuttgart, the effects arise from no cause at all. There are no causes here, and if you want a cause, there is none. If you try to pin someone down to a cause, that person would give a personal explanation, but you cannot find the cause.
The effects are devastating. We have seen what they are. Due to the Stuttgart attitude, we have here an absolute contradiction of the law of causality. The reasons actually exist, but they are continually disputed so that no one becomes aware of them. We always have effects, but the causes are explained away. If you multiply zero by five, you still have nothing, and I would certainly like to know what value nothing has.
Comments concerning the Pedagogical Youth Conference held October 3 through 15 in Stuttgart.
Dr. Steiner: Had I come here and heard that all these young people are barging in and then not going away, I think I would have seen that was a situation that would have called for some words to slow it down. But, on a particular occasion when I asked why Y. was not here, I was told that people did not think there was any reason he should be here.
I do not intend to make the slightest accusation in that regard, and even if we discussed it further, there would be no reasons for it. The really sad thing about this Stuttgart attitude is that there are effects that have no causes.
You will not readily admit that you do not properly consider the matter if you say they have no trust. On the contrary, we must ask why we have not achieved what is right so that they would have had a more reasonable trust than presently exists? Many things have been neglected. The question for us is how can we win people’s trust. You have simply done nothing to allow a positive cooperation to occur. People have no reason to be distrusting. Things have not gone so far that the question could have been discussed even at a feeling level. The question did not even arise. The young people do not even notice you were there, they did not notice the spirits on top of the mountain. Had someone told me that Y. was difficult to get along with, I would have had a reason, but they said that they had not even thought about it.
The result is not that young people have no trust, but that they are given no opportunity to develop it. The great masters on the mountain are simply not there. People did not know you were there. They did not know that there was a Union for Independent Cultural Life.
A teacher: X. is among those who did not want to know that such a union exists.
Dr. Steiner: That is an effect. People would have found a way, but no one did anything to help them.
It is not good to fall into this Stuttgart attitude. I would like to see that you take the lack of cause more seriously in the future. This is a serious thing, as otherwise it will really be too late to get the situation under control.