For example, Mohamed, an Arabic translator of Steiner's works, who looks after street children in Egypt and who, by introducing a daily rhythm and a tidy classroom, makes restless children more capable of concentration.
There is the school founder, Santhya from South India, with a school library in her own railway carriage, who honours the cleaning staff, - a group of workers often despised in India - through shared school festivals and school cleaning campaigns, helping her students to rethink.
And Marisa, a class teacher from Argentina, who notices great difficulties in the language development of some of her pupils at the beginning of their time together and who achieves great progress with her pupils by speaking the individual verses adapted for each child, using gestures and movements according to the needs of each one.
Then there is Wang from China - her fourth graders recite an ancient poem week after week and suddenly, a student sees pictures in the landscape. By repeating and internalizing the moods and feelings, Wang helps inspire the children to grasp the poem thoroughly and bring it to life.
The "First Teachers' Course" of 1919 is the basis of Waldorf education. It comprises 14 days of courses by Rudolf Steiner on “The Foundations of Human Experience” (formerly Study of Man), “Practical Advice to Teachers” and “Discussions with Teachers".
One hundred years later, during the conference, "The First Teachers' Course", held in 2019 at the Goetheanum, core questions arose - for example, healthy school rhythms, the relationship between thinking and will, the nourishment of the senses and questions about living thinking. Over the course of the conference, participants worked to give their individual answers to these questions.
These are messages for Waldorf Education! The 14 educators portray their work and how they themselves learn to act in a pedagogically meaningful way, at any time and in completely unusual situations, from the understanding of the educational activity. What becomes clear is their love for the children, in the midst of pursuing the important tasks of rethinking curricula, the classroom, the school community and child development. It is their wish to enable children to learn in a lively way.
The pen-portraits will soon be published on www.waldorf-resources.org.
translated by Trevor Mepham