Steiner as an educator and home teacher (3 of 3)

My young charge was successfully guided through the Gymnasium; I continued with him even to the Unter-Prima. By that time he had made such progress that he no longer needed me. After completing the Gymnasium he entered the school of medicine, became a physician, and in this capacity he was later a victim of the World War. The mother, who had become a true friend of mine because of what I had done for her boy, and who clung to this child of sorrow with the most devoted love, soon followed him in death. The father had already gone from this world.

A good portion of my youthful life was bound up with the task which had grown so close to me. For a number of years I went during the summer with the family of the children whom I had to tutor to the Attersee in the Salzkammergut, and there became familiar with the noble Alpine nature of Upper Austria. I was gradually able to eliminate the private lessons I had continued to give to others even after beginning this tutoring, and thus I had time left for prosecuting my own studies.

In the life I led before coming into this family I had little opportunity for sharing in the play of children. In this way it came about that my “play-time” came after my twentieth year. I had then to learn also how to play, for I had to direct the play, and this I did with great enjoyment. To be sure, I think I have not played any less in my life than other men. Only in my case what is usually done in this direction before the tenth year I repeated from the twenty-third to the twenty-eighth year.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter VI

Pauline_Specht

Pauline Specht – Mother of Otto

Previously posted on April 30, 2018

Steiner as an educator and home teacher (1 of 3)

In the field of pedagogy fate gave me an unusual task. I was employed as tutor in a family where there were four boys. To three I had to give only the preparatory instruction for the Volkschule and then assistance in the work of the Mittelschule. The fourth (Otto Specht), who was almost ten years old, was at first entrusted to me for all his education. He was the child of sorrow to his parents, especially to his mother. When I went to live in the home, he had scarcely learned the most rudimentary elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic. He was considered so subnormal in his physical and mental development that the family had doubts as to his capacity for being educated. His thinking was slow and dull. Even the slightest mental exertion caused a headache, lowering of vital functions, pallor, and alarming mental symptoms. After I had come to know the child, I formed the opinion that the sort of education required by such a bodily and mental organism must be one that would awaken the sleeping faculties, and I proposed to the parents that they should leave the child’s training to me. The mother had enough confidence to accept this proposal, and I was thus able to set myself this unusual educational task.

I had to find access to a soul which was, as it were, in a sleeping state, and which must gradually be enabled to gain the mastery over the bodily manifestations. In a certain sense one had first to draw the soul within the body. I was thoroughly convinced that the boy really had great mental capacities, though they were then buried. This made my task a profoundly satisfying one. I was soon able to bring the child into a loving dependence upon me. This condition caused the mere intercourse between us to awaken his sleeping faculties of soul. For his instruction I had to feel my way to special methods. Every fifteen minutes beyond a certain time allotted to instruction caused injury to his health. To many subjects of instruction the boy had great difficulty in relating himself.

To be continued


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter VI

Otto_Specht

Otto Specht

Previously posted on April 28, 2018

Taking into consideration the whole earthly life

For the educator and the teacher, it is necessary to keep the whole earthly life in mind. Because what we put into a child in the eighth or ninth year of life works through into the forty-fifth or fiftieth year of the adult human being, as we will discuss. So, what I do as a teacher during the primary school age with the child, penetrates deeply into the physical, psychic and spiritual nature of the human being.

It often lives under the surface for many years, strangely coming to light after decades, sometimes even at the end of life, because at the beginning of life, it was laid in the child as a germ. One can only work in the right direction at this age when you do not only consider the present age of the child but keep in mind the whole future life from out of true knowledge of the human being.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 308 – Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens – Stuttgart, April 8, 1924 (page 12)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on January 16, 2019

Taking into consideration the whole earthly life

For the educator and the teacher, it is necessary to keep the whole earthly life in mind; Because what we put into a child in the eighth or ninth year of life works through into the forty-fifth or fiftieth year of the adult human being, as we will discuss. So, what I do as a teacher during the primary school age with the child, penetrates deeply into the physical, psychic and spiritual nature of the human being. It often lives under the surface for many years, strangely coming to light after decades, sometimes even at the end of life, because at the beginning of life, it was laid in the child as a germ. One can only work in the right direction at this age when you do not only consider the present age of the child but keep in mind the whole future life from out of true knowledge of the human being.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 308 – Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens – Stuttgart, April 8, 1924 (page 12)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

As a child, Steiner did not play

A good portion of my youthful life was bound up with the task which had grown so close to me (from 1884 to 1890 Steiner worked in a merchant family in Vienna as an educator and teacher of the four sons). For a number of years I went during the summer with the family of the children whom I had to tutor to the Attersee in the Salzkammergut, and there became familiar with the noble Alpine nature of Upper Austria. I was gradually able to eliminate the private lessons I had continued to give to others even after beginning this tutoring, and thus I had time left for prosecuting my own studies.

In the life I led before coming into this family I had little opportunity for sharing in the play of children. In this way it came about that my “play-time” came after my twentieth year. I had then to learn also how to play, for I had to direct the play, and this I did with great enjoyment. To be sure, I think I have not played any less in my life than other men. Only in my case what is usually done in this direction before the tenth year I repeated from the twenty-third to the twenty-eighth year.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter VI

Previously posted on November 30, 2013