Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
9 June 1920, Stuttgart
Dr. Steiner: The teachers will understand their students better because each teacher will remain with his or her class. We must continue to work in this direction and use those things we discussed in the teachers’ seminar. When you can properly judge a child’s temperament, everything will come of itself. You should work toward reflecting the child’s temperament in the sound of your voice when you call the child.
The year-end report and a brochure are discussed.
Dr. Steiner: We should include something about the layout and plan of the school, as well as the curriculum, in the yearly report. We should also include something about the students and where they came from: 161 from elementary schools, 50 from middle schools, 64 from secondary schools, 12 beginning students—altogether, 287. And we should say something about the students’ religious affiliations.
Include something about the many volumes in the teachers’ library. Also, the collections and displays, but we should not discuss the individual collections, only provide a summary. Mention the students’ library, also.
Say something about eurythmy as a new subject. I would ask Mr. Baumann to report about that. We can also include something about handwork classes, perhaps including some remarks about the lack of industriousness. However, we should emphasize what is of lasting value.
The history of the school year should receive special treatment. Begin with the brochure. Later, however, we will replace the brochure with a report by a faculty member. For the present, we can simply include the brochure.
Each of you who wants to can write an autobiography to include in the yearly report. We should also have a description of each teacher, for example, what the teacher did before becoming a teacher. We can also include eulogies for those who died in the past year.
Often, we bring out things too strongly that belong behind the scenes.
A teacher remarks that Dr. Steiner’s leadership of the school should be emphasized.
Dr. Steiner: You can mention my courses and lectures as well as those that the teachers have given. We should also say something about the lecture series sponsored by the Waldorf-Astoria factory, although those lectures have less connection with the school than with the adult education school. Give a history of that school along with a list of lectures the teachers have held there. In fact, we should say something about the general educational activities at the factory. Mention also the activities and lectures by the teachers in the independent apprenticeship school, as well as the courses for social understanding given for young people. Say something about the archive also.
We need to have a separate section about the preparatory instruction for the Youth Festival. Actually, we need to discuss the activities of the Lutheran, Catholic and independent religious classes, but if we cannot have a special section for each of the religions, we should leave it out.
All the classes were then discussed. All the teachers gave a report about what they did in the course of the school year, how far they came, and what the state of the class was.
First, two teachers spoke about the main lessons in the first and second grades, and then a teacher spoke of the main lesson and foreign language in the third grade.
Dr. Steiner: In the foreign languages, you should not rely upon a dictionary and should not translate. You should also avoid giving the children the text in German. The best thing is to read the foreign language text first, and then to tell the children the content in your own words.
There is so much dust on the desks and dirt in the classrooms!
The teachers should collect information about psychological aspects, sort of an almanac about psychological abnormalities. It would be an almanac in a broad sense. From a spiritual scientific perspective, these things are quite obvious. You can talk about them, since many things have actually occurred.
Something interesting occurred today in the eighth grade. What was the boy’s name? He writes exactly like you do, Dr. Stein. He imitates your handwriting exactly. That is certainly an interesting thing. If someone has straight hair, he will learn the handwriting of the teachers. A child with curly hair would not have done that.
A teacher reports about the fourth grade. The children did not know anything about grammar, asking what it was.
Dr. Steiner: It would be good if, at the end of the main lesson, you had the children remember in reverse order everything they did that morning.
A teacher: What did you mean by the psychological “almanac”?
Dr. Steiner: It would be a collection for the faculty, and could be very important. You could include all kinds of interesting things. If you think about it, you can immediately find a barrelful of such things. Each teacher can take note of all the things observed. For the higher grades, you should provide information about what the children did not know when they came to us. You should describe the things the children were missing. If you could put that together for the first yearly report, I would be very grateful.
That the children asked, for instance, “What is German grammar?” is culturally significant. You should record observations of the children who entered the Waldorf School. You should note what the children forgot and what kinds of misbehavior they had. Then include things about the instruction. At the end of the collection, we could state that it is obvious that we did not completely realize our intentions with each of the grades in the course of the year, but only generally.
Two teachers report about the fifth and sixth grades.
Dr. Steiner: The children in the sixth grade write unbelievably horribly. They are really happy when they can write “lucky” with two “k”s. It is more important that they can write business letters and learn algebra than that they can spell “lucky” with two “k”s.
A teacher reports about the humanities in the seventh and eighth grades. It is difficult to complete the material for history. The children don’t know anything more than what they learned in religion class.
Dr. Steiner: In 1890, I went to the Goethe Archive in Weimar. The director, Mr. Suphan, had two boys and one of my tasks was to teach them. In that way, I gained some insight into the schools in Berlin. I have to admit that although history was well taught in Austria, you couldn’t detect that those children had learned any of it in Germany. Their textbooks contained nothing about it. There were thirty pages of introductory information from Adam to the Hohenzollern, then the history of the Hohenzollerns began. That is true of all Germany; there is really nothing appropriate in middle school history classes.
A teacher asks about Allah.
Dr. Steiner: It is difficult to describe that supersensible being. Mohammedism is the first manifestation of Ahriman, the first Ahrimanic revelation following the Mystery of Golgotha. Mohammed’s god, Allah, Eloha, is an Ahrimanic imitation or pale reflection of the Elohim, but comprehended monotheistically. Mohammed always refers to them as a unity. The Mohammedan culture is Ahrimanic, but the Islamic attitude is Luciferic.
A teacher: In the Templar records, a being by the name of Bafomet appears often. What is that?
Dr. Steiner: Bafomet is a being of the Ahrimanic world who appears to people when they are being tortured. That happens really cleverly, since they then bring a lot of visions back with them when they return to consciousness.
In 869 A.D., there was the Filioque Argument. History books say nothing about this, but you can read about it in Harnak’s “Dogmengeschichte” (History of dogma).
A teacher asks a question.
Dr. Steiner: The Catholic religious instruction is much further ahead, the Lutheran, very limited.
Compared to other biographies, the one on Goethe by the Jesuit priest Baumgartner is quite well written, though he complains a lot. Everything else is simply rubbish. The biography of Goethe by the Englishman Lewes is poor. Swiss folk calendar.
A teacher reports about the instruction in natural sciences in the 7th and eighth grades.
Dr. Steiner: You can interrupt the natural science instruction at any point.
The meeting continued on Saturday, June 12, 1920 at 3:00 p.m.