Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Simple ways to Prepare for Teaching

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Rudolf Steiner was very specific in teachers going into a class prepared spiritually. The following quotes are from the book Balance in Teaching

"When we think of the education of the young today, we must bear in mind that we are concerned with the feelings, ideas and will impulses of the next generation; we must be clear that our present task is to prepare this next generation for definite tasks which have to be accomplished some time in the future of mankind."

"A specific kind of inward humility, the sense that we ourselves are still only becoming, is something which will give the teacher strength, for out of this feeling more arises than out of abstract principles. If we stand in our classroom, conscious of the fact that it is a good thing we do everything imperfectly - for in that way there is life in it - then we will teach well. If on the other hand we are always patting ourselves on the back over the perfection of our teaching, then it is quite certain we are doing badly."

"One thing of special importance is that we must quickly strip off our narrow, personal self like a snake skin when we enter the classroom." "As teachers, we must train ourselves to lay aside these moods and to give ourselves up entirely to the content of the subject we are going to teach. We should be able to describe a subject tragically, taking our mood from the subject, and then pass over to a humorous mood as we proceed with our lesson, surrendering ourselves completely to the subject."

"As we teach, our object is not simple to teach with and for the intellect, but rather to be able to take these various moods really into consideration. For what is tragedy, what is romance, what is a 'melancholic' mood? It is exactly the same as an in-breathing for the organism, the same as filling the organism with air..."

"When a child comes into this world, he is exposed to things from which we must protect him through our teaching. Otherwise he would flow too actively into the world. A person always has the tendency to become weak and stunted in soul, to make his limbs rachitic, to become a gnome. And in teaching and educating him, we work at forming him."

"Reverence, enthusiasm and a sense of guardianship, there three are actually the panacea, the magic remedy, in the soul of the educator and teacher. And if one wished to represent, externally, artistically, something like an embodiment of art and education in a harmonious group, one would have to create like this:

REVERENCE for what precedes the child's existence before birth;

ENTHUSIASTIC looking forward to what follows it, after death;

PROTECTING gesture for what the child experiences during life.

(Rudolf Steiner accompanied each of these sentences with a gesture. An indication for the first is missing; for the second, a guiding pointing hand; for the third, both hands raised with fingertips inclined toward each other.)

Do Your Best

"While I feel it is beneficial to recognize the importance of our role with young children, I am the first to admit shortcomings in my attitudes and actions in bringing up my own children and in being with young children in many given moments. However, we not only try to do the best we can, but we also strive to do better, for the most important work of the parent with young children is inner work on oneself. The young child accepts us as perfect and good; once he becomes older and sees our imperfections, the most important thing is that the child sees that we are striving to do better. Our desire for inner growth is perceived by the child and has a very deep effect on him." ~Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Parent/Teacher Meditation

I thank you, silent stone.
And bow myself before you:
I owe to you my plant nature.

I thank you, earth and plants,
And stood deep before you:
You help me rise to the animals.

I thank you stone, plant and animal,
And bend myself before you;
All three of you help me to become myself.

We thank you, O human child,
And lower ourselves devotedly before you;
For, because you exist, we exist.

In reply, there is thanks
From the all encompassing Godhead
In its simplicity and multiplicity;
In thanks, all that is, is intertwined.

If we, as parents as well as parent/educators, take care to instill such an attitude throughout our view of nature and godliness by permeating artistic imagination and scientific thought one with the other, then the right love and attention for animals, plants and the elements of the earth will pass over to the children.

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