The teacher as an individual

Education as a process calls for fruitful encounters. A teacher's capability depends on how good he or she is at bringing about and guiding encounters and thus relationhsips.

Encountering a child involves meeting with someone of a particular age who belongs to a specific social environment and lives at a time which manifests certain definite characteristics. All these aspects have on goal: to help a unique being to manifest everything which he or she is at that age, in that environment and at that time. This calls on the teacher to be connected in a living way with all these aspects, i.e. he or she must endeavour to understand and keep up with the times, have a feel for social processes and an eye for what children need at different ages, and above all exercise great respect for the inviolable free being who is secreted within every child. Teachers can only do all this if they also constantly educate themselves. At the end of the foundation course which Rudolf Steiner gave in 1919 for the teachers who werre about to become the first faculty of the first Waldorf School be therefore called on them to educate themselves by being:

  • individuals full of initiative both in small and large matters;
  • individuals who are interested in every aspect of worldly and human existence;
  • individuals who are never prepared to compromise the truth;
  • individuals who do not lose their zest for life or turn sour

Asked whether a mode of education that is over 80 years old can still be up to date we are therefore able reply: It is just as up to date and contemporary as are the teachers who daily renew it by endeavouring to apply their own contemporary spiritual attitudes to the task of making encounter fruitful.

Zimmermann, Heinz: Waldorf-Pädagogik weltweit, Ed.: Freunde der Erziehungskunst, 2001.