Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
16 October 1923, Stuttgart
Following the three lectures of Deeper Insights into Education.
Dr. Steiner: This morning we created the third fifth-grade class, 5c. You all know Dr. Häbler, their new teacher.
There is something weighing heavily on my heart, which I would like to discuss first. That is all the events surrounding the very disturbing letter Mr. X. wrote me, saying he no longer wants to be active in the administrative committee. He does not think there is enough of the trust he assumed existed between himself and the faculty. I know the faculty has asked him not to leave, but as I told him, it is really very important in our faculty that not only the external forms of interaction, but also the basis of those interactions, be healthy. It will be impossible for us, as I just discussed in the lecture, if all the underlying principles of the faculty are not healthy, that is, if everyone will not work together, both inwardly and outwardly. We need to pay much more attention to that in our school. If you go to a teacher in another class, you should always be able to know and feel what that teacher is doing. Sometimes when I visit one or another class, I have to admit that such and such could not occur if the right things were being done in another class. If all of you go your own way and do what you want, we will never be able to fulfill our task. So, this is not a solution. Instead, I would ask each of you connected with the matter to state clearly what, from your perspective, happened, both inwardly and outwardly.
The current administrator: I do not think I am so much personally responsible as it is that the position itself undermines trust. It would be good if something happened that would really guarantee our forward movement. That is more important than what is connected with my own person.
Another teacher: You (the teacher who just spoke) said that our meetings were not as you would like them. You did not think you were able to enliven our meetings. But, that is something none of us could achieve. Due to its size, the faculty has become somewhat unresponsive.
Dr. Steiner: I do not quite agree that enthusiasm should suffer as the faculty grows. That would be a sad thing. New teachers should become a source of new enthusiasm. If you want it brighter in a room, you do not turn out the lamps. Instead, you turn on more. Have any significant things occurred?
There are shouts of “No!”
Dr. Steiner: Well, I do not understand why you would resign if there is no real reason. Resigning cannot be right if you say nothing important has happened. We need to take things seriously. The current administrator: I have lost trust in the will of the faculty and in the cooperation within the meetings. They proceed in such a way that I had to admit to one faculty member that he was right when he said he would not attend because nothing would be accomplished anyway.
A teacher: You need to tell us why you are not satisfied with our meetings.
Dr. Steiner: I wanted to ask that also, namely, to what extent you feel the meetings are not fruitful.
The current administrator and a number of teachers speak about things that have happened.
Dr. Steiner: You can either discuss or not discuss things like those you have mentioned. During such a discussion, it is possible that people might shake their heads, as happened in the situation concerning Miss A. However, discussing them shows that differing but complementary feelings can lead to a conversation. It might be a good idea to discover why such things are discussed at all. I think much has resulted from misunderstandings, but all those come from being for or against one another.
A teacher: I have tried to create a picture. The current administrator feels responsible for creating a certain kind of discipline within the faculty, and, given people’s temperaments, that has created misunderstandings.
Dr. Steiner: There you have touched upon something I would like to discuss with you. In my lecture today, I mentioned that we need to find our way past the temperaments. The goal of my lecture was to show how to come to an inner understanding that lies beyond people’s temperaments. I would like to hear about how these misunderstandings due to temperaments arose. If I were to restate what you just described, I might say that you think the administrator wanted to create a thirteenth grade within the faculty. The faculty, however, was not pleased by that and rejected the pedagogical method of that desire.
A teacher describes some of the events.
Dr. Steiner: I can see such things only as sparks falling on a powder keg. What I wanted to hear was more about what lies behind such events.
A number of people give their impressions.
Dr. Steiner: The question has only been put off, not resolved. The present administrator is resigning at the end of his period of activity. The other two members of the committee will have the position for the next four months. The question is whether we can live in such a difficult time with this thorn in our sides, which is what putting things off would be. During this next period of time, which will be so difficult because we do not know if we can create a truly lively relationship between Dornach and Stuttgart, we really do need a solution. It would not be good to have only a provisional decision during these difficult times.
A teacher reports about the previous meeting.
Dr. Steiner: It is clear that things have come to such a pass as a result of the last faculty meeting; otherwise the administrator would have simply finished out the remaining two weeks of his activity, and then thought about whether he wanted to take it up next time. The current administrator speaks about how the situation has now changed and the possibilities he sees of continuing. He wants to see how the next two weeks go.
Dr. Steiner: It seems to me that you have given a certain indication of agreement regarding the thirteenth grade.
A teacher: We decided to trust the current administrator in spite of the thirteenth grade.
Many teachers comment about that.
Dr. Steiner: Now that I have listened to the discussion for some time, it still seems to me that there are some underlying reasons. I understand neither the objective starting point nor how it could lead to such results. I can only believe that the real problem lies in more personal things that could not be brought up here, where we need to remain objective.
The current administrator is asked to continue and he agrees.
A teacher: Which subjects should we drop in the twelfth grade so that we can prepare the students for their final examinations?
Dr. Steiner: Sadly, technology and shop, as well as gymnastics and singing. We cannot drop eurythmy or drawing. Religion will have to be limited to one hour, but in the morning. The twelfth grade will take religion for one hour with the eleventh grade.