Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
8 March 1923, Stuttgart
Dr. Steiner: We want to take a look at how things should run.
They decide upon a provisional assignment of subjects for the coming school year.
Dr. Steiner: We have always divided the subjects beginning with the ninth grade, so that the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades have separate subjects. We have had some difficulties in that regard, and I would ask you to look into them. We are still missing eight hours of ancient languages since we are missing one teacher. Tittmann is coming to teach modern languages. If possible, I would like to have Dr. Lehrs teach mathematics and natural sciences for the higher grades. I think that Lehrs could also teach Latin for the lower grades. He has much goodwill and is also very capable in mathematics and physics, so I think he will do well here.
We have still not decided upon the 1a, 1b, and 3b classes. Miss Bernhardi could still take over one of the lower grades, and we are also considering two other ladies. For the upper grades, we will need to find some way of unburdening the teachers. In any event, we will still have Tittmann and Lehrs.
Now I can think about other things. In handwork, I am thinking of Miss Christern. Mrs. Baumann will not return until fall. Mrs. Fels will continue with her class. The question now is whether the one more teacher can handle remaining periods.
Marie Steiner: I would suggest Miss Wilke.
Dr. Steiner: She could teach for the time being and replace Mrs. Husemann who had been substituting for Mrs. Baumann.
Aside from the question of scheduling, I would like to know if there are any other wishes.
A teacher: The twelfth grade are anxious about their examinations.
Dr. Steiner: We still need to discuss the schedule for the twelfth grade. It would be good if someone got a description of the standard college preparatory teaching goals for the twelfth grade. I would then arrange the class plan so that we could promise people — of course, they could always fail, we cannot guarantee anything.
The difficulty is that there is much too much lecturing, and in spite of the fact that we have often discussed this, you are still not having the students participate enough. We therefore need to be certain that the students in the twelfth grade participate more. We cannot say they are incapable, but what they have learned doesn’t stick to them strongly enough for them to get past their anxiety about the upcoming examinations. They cannot get past their anxiety. Those wonderful lectures are quite nice for the students, but they do not retain them.
It would be a good idea if you gave me the standard teaching goals for the eleventh and twelfth grades when I am here tomorrow, so we can see how things actually are. We need to see if we can help the children past their anxiety.
We have no reason to have a thirteenth grade as they do in Bavaria. Imagine the problems we would have if we had to say we needed a thirteenth grade.
I don’t think the question of the examination problem will change. We will, however, have to limit our lecturing and allow the students to participate more.
A teacher asks about admitting the students to anthroposophical lectures.
Dr. Steiner: The school cannot possibly state it agrees with that. It would be difficult to keep them out according to the Society regulations, but this must not be a school question. The school could even raise an objection.
It is not a good idea that they attend Society lectures without being members. Earlier, very young members were also accepted. It is a shame the Waldorf School cannot raise an objection, since it is actually nonsense for the middle-grade students to attend the lectures.
Marie Steiner: It seems that some of the children have witnessed the self-destructiveness present in the Society. It might be possible for the Society to object to their presence.
Dr. Steiner: It would be best if such young children did not attend things not intended for them. In the Waldorf School, we assume they do not do such things, but if we forbid it, there will be a revolution. We need to assume that the children are so occupied by the Waldorf School that they could not possibly meet the learning goals if they also attended other lectures. That is an obvious perspective. We may expect that Ch. O., now in the first grade, will be listening to anthroposophical lectures. Part of the regulations of the Anthroposophical Society is that only adults are accepted, and minors are accepted only with the approval of their parents.
Marie Steiner: How can children who are not members get in? At occasions such as this, we can certainly see how idiotic that is. It is disastrous. This is impossible.
Dr. Steiner: The school should advise against it and we need to have at least enough connection with the students that that has an effect, but we cannot simply throw out those who are already members.
A religion teacher: We are introducing the 8a and 8b classes to the Youth Service. H.R. and L.F. would like to be confirmed in the Christian Community, and that is also their parents’ desire.
Dr. Steiner: That does not concern us here. Those children who participate in the Independent Religious Instruction can be confirmed there when they have reached the required age. It is, of course, also possible that they do not want that, but if they do, why shouldn’t we allow them to participate? If they do not want to, then they do not need to. But if they want to participate in both of the youth services, we can do nothing about that. There isn’t any real difference. It’s all the same to us what occurs there. In the end, what is important is whether the children want to participate in the Sunday services. We can leave it up to the children whether they want to or not. We cannot require them to go to the Youth Service. The answer to the question is obvious. We cannot discuss it. We have no reason to negotiate with the Free Religious Movement. We can do what we want, and they can do what they want. The children would then have it twice. I have always understood that we do not need to worry about it because it is a question for the Free Religious Movement. We cannot stop parents from sending their children there to be confirmed. Religious instruction is not obligatory. We cannot make any draconian rules. The children will certainly stay away if we make draconian rules. Someone might participate in the Independent Religious Instruction without going to the Youth Service, but not the other way around. That girl can certainly participate in both. If she does not do something, it would not be good if she went to our Youth Service, but perhaps the father doesn’t notice that at all. It is the parents who are responsible, not us.
A teacher: One girl occasionally faints at the Sunday service.
Dr. Steiner: We should do it twice, one for each half of the children. A teacher: The tenth and eleventh-grade children could come to the sacrament. Should the ninth-grade children also participate?
Dr. Steiner: Yes, they can. We can divide the Youth Service by class. Mr. Uehli will be the main celebrant at both.
A teacher: Should B.B. receive additional instruction? Also, N.N.?
Dr. Steiner: This all began last year. Is it possible he could be handled alone? Perhaps he would realize he is not really very nice at school. Perhaps we could give him individual instruction for the remainder of the year. It looks as if that would have a purpose, but only if we were to make it so that he realized he had done something wrong here at school, so that for the weeks until Easter, he has to attend such a class. I think that he is really a very nice boy, but he is asleep. In this way, he may wake up.
There are a lot of new bright children around. The question is whether they are really so bright when you ask them to do something. Concerning N.N., he is not very good in handling money. B. needs individual instruction. I will take another look at these two boys.
A teacher asks about two students in the fourth grade who are completely incapable in foreign languages.
Dr. Steiner: We could ask the parents if they would forego the language class. That is something we could ask parents. In fact, that is something we can generally do for the children in the remedial class.
A teacher: P.M. in the fifth grade cannot add.
Dr. Steiner: We could ask the parents if they would allow him to repeat the class.
A teacher: L.B. has been mistreated and is afraid.
Dr. Steiner: Treat her with patience.
A teacher: A girl in my eighth-grade class has only attended a country school in Silesia.
Dr. Steiner: We will need to carry her along. She should remain in the class, and she will find her way.