Practical Course for Teachers
6 September 1919, Stuttgart
This ends the lectures of Rudolf Steiner on 5th September, 1919.
On the following day he sketched the teaching aims in the different subjects, at the different ages, in the different classes; he indicated the subjects which could be connected in practice.
In concluding this fortnight's work for teachers Rudolf Steiner made the following remarks:
“I should now like to bring these observations to a close by reminding you of what I should like you to take to heart: that is, to keep to four principles:
“Firstly that the teacher in general and in detail, in the general spiritualizing of his profession and in his manner of uttering individual words, of stating individual ideas, of creating every single feeling, reacts on his pupils. Remember that the teacher is a person of initiative, that he must never be slack; but must put his whole being into what he does in school, in his behaviour with the children. That is the first thing: The teacher must be an individual of initiative in general and in detail.
“The second is that as teachers we must take an interest in everything in the world and everything that concerns people and mankind. As teachers we must be interested in all worldly and all human matters. To keep ourselves aloof on any occasion from anything of possible interest to man — if we were to do this as teachers, it would be greatly to be deplored. We ought to be able to take an interest in the biggest and smallest matters that concern the individual child. That is the second thing: The teacher must be interested in every aspect of the world's life and human life.
“And the third thing is: The teacher must be an individual who never strikes a bargain with untruth. The teacher must be profoundly and inwardly true, he must never make a compromise with untruth, otherwise we should see falsehood coming into our teaching by many and devious channels, especially method. Our teaching will only bear the stamp of truth if we are ourselves unfailingly intent on aspiring to truth.
“And then something easier said than done, but which is also a golden rule for the teacher's work: The teacher must not dry up and not become soured; he must have an un-withered, fresh disposition of the soul. He must not get dry, and he must not get sour. To the very contrary is what the teacher must aspire.
“And I know that if you have absorbed properly into your souls the vision of the task which we have elucidated this last fortnight from the most various angles, what lies apparently far beyond your grasp will come very near to you in your teaching by this detour through the world of feeling and will. I have not said anything in this last fortnight which cannot be of direct practical use to your teaching if you allow it to ripen in your souls. But the Waldorf School will be dependent on your real inner response to the things which we have studied here together and to their activity in your soul.
“Remember the many things which I have tried to explain so that the human being should be understood, particularly the growing being, from a psychological point of view, and if you are at a loss how to introduce this or that point into your lessons, or at what juncture, you will always find inspiration from what has come up for discussion here, if you have remembered it sufficiently. Naturally a great many things ought to be repeated much oftener, but I have no desire to turn you into teaching machines, but into free, independent, individual teachers. It is in this sense that I have addressed you this last fortnight. The time, of course, has been so short that I have had to appeal to your generous, sympathetic participation.
“But you must think ever and again over the suggestions which have been made towards understanding man, and in particular the growing child. In all questions of method they will be useful to you.
“You see, when you and I look back on our thoughts during this last fortnight, however different our impulses have been, our thoughts have met. I myself — I can assure you — shall often look back. This Waldorf School weighs very heavily to-day on the hearts of the people concerned in initiating and organizing it. This Waldorf School must succeed. Much will depend on its success. Its success will furnish, as it were, a proof of much that we represent in spiritual development.
“If I may now say a few personal words in conclusion. I should like to say this: For me personally this Waldorf School will be a true child of care. My thoughts and cares will be continually returning to this Waldorf School. But if we realize the full gravity of our position we shall be able to work really well together. Let us be particularly faithful to the thought that fills our hearts and minds: that with the spiritual movement of the present day there are also united the spiritual powers of the living universe. If we trust in these good spiritual powers they will pervade our life and inspire it, and we shall find ourselves able to teach.”