Do You Love Your Teachers?
by Eric G. Müller
435 pages, illustrated, paperback
Adonis Press, 20017
Eric Müller has accompanied his long career as a Waldorf teacher with his vocation as a writer. His published books include Rites of Rock(Adonis 2005), Meet me at the Met(2010), Drops on the Water(2014) andThe Invisible Boat(2013), a children’s book, and four books of poetry. He currently teaches English and drama at the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School and is a director of the Alkion Teacher Training Program in Ghent, NY. He is a recipient of the Kapteyn Prize for high school teachers who exemplify excellence in “whole child teaching.”
In Do You Love Your Teachers? Eric Müller recounts his experience with education beginning with his upbringing and schooling in South Africa, his youthful searching in Switzerland and Germany and finally Emerson College in England, where he finds what he has been looking for. In short sections he leads the reader on from episode to episode from his tender childhood and youthful rebelliousness in South Africa through his stint as a rock musician and the trial of his first teaching experience, his young family’s move from Germany to Eugene, Oregon, the growth and crisis of the Eugene Waldorf School to his work as a high school music, drama, and English teacher at the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. What emerges through this wide-ranging, well-crafted narrative is what it really means to be a teacher, and how the Waldorf approach and curriculum allow the teaching profession to blossom.
Much has been written about Waldorf education, but this is the first memoir that describes the individual path and life experience of a Waldorf teacher. This book is a pleasure to read and will be of interest to other teachers, Waldorf parents, and anyone who wants to know more about education and Waldorf education in particular.
From childhood innocence, through the highs and lows of adolescence, to the sentient, vagabond adventures of early manhood, Eric G. Müller’s destiny path weaves its way towards his true calling as an educator. He casts an objective, yet tender eye over poignant events in his life and, in seeking their meaning, garners fruits that are transformed into deeds of education.
When the narrative turns to Müller’s teaching career, beginning in the early grades, into adolescence, and eventually with adults, the wisdom, breadth, and scope of Waldorf education is portrayed through the lens of real life experiences. And he does not spare us the accompanying exhilaration, drama, disappointments, and humor. A most engaging story for anyone, but a must read for anyone considering a progressive teaching profession.
Preface - 7
Part One: My First Teaching Experience in Germany - 13
Telephone Call ~ We Want an Experienced Teacher ~ First Lesson ~ Substitute Teaching
Part Two: Early Childhood - 25
Durban ~ Opa and Oma ~ Mother ~ Father ~ My First Three Years ~ Kindergarten ~ The Goetheanum and the Hermitage
Part Three: Boyhood - 43
Davos ~ First Day of School ~ Writing my Name ~ Daydreams, Truancy, Stealing ~ Summer Vacation ~ Back to School ~ Leaving Davos ~ Setting Sail ~ Grove Primary School ~ Parow ~ Empangeni ~ Getting Settled ~ Magic ~ Bicycles and Fish ~ She Cried, He Hit ~ Piano Lessons ~ Parent Initiatives ~ My Father Decides to Become a Waldorf Teacher
Part Four: Youth - 83
New Boy in the Stuttgart Waldorf School ~ Loneliness ~ Hammock ~ Goodbye Europe ~ Back on the Boat ~ Dust Storm ~ New School, New Life ~ Damelin College ~ Book Burning ~ A Kind Old Gentleman ~ Lunar Node and finding Anthroposphy ~ Travels and Poetry ~ The July Riots of ’76 ~ Painful Lesson ~ My 21st Birthday ~ Facing Expulsion from Wits University ~ My Mother’s Graduation ~ Last Trip ~ Going AWOL
Part Five: Finding my Vocation - 123
Basel ~ Evading the Army Again ~ A Lesson in Punctuality ~ Rock ’n’ Roll and Rudolf Steiner ~ Back in Basel ~ Interview in Stuttgart ~ Come Anyway ~ Limping into Emerson College ~ Utopia ~ Tina ~ People and Place ~ The Man in the Black Leather Jacket ~ The Emerson Community ~ Decisive Decisions ~ Audition ~ Eurythmy Accompanist ~ Preparing to Emigrate ~ Raising the Money ~ Taking Stock ~ Off to the USA
Part Six: Class Teaching - 173
The Welcome and the Wait ~ First Lesson ~ Inviting the Parents to a Main Lesson ~ Settling In ~ Mistakes ~ Go-Go Boy ~ Can’t Save Everyone ~ Pedagogical Stories ~ New Home, New School ~ Yes Man ~ Dynamic Balance ~ Cast from Paradise ~ Highpoints and Low-points ~ Clay Bread Oven ~ Demoted ~ Geography ~ Main Lesson Blocks ~ Adult Education ~ European Vacation ~ Entering 5th Grade ~ Year of History ~ Envisioning a High School ~ The Low Voice ~ Do You Love Your Teachers? ~ Founding the High School ~ Construction Site ~ Class Trips ~ The Octave ~ Burn Out ~ Twelfth Night ~ Graduation ~ Saying Farewell
Part Seven: Sabbatical - 249
Letting Go ~ Rejuvenation and Reorientation ~ Münchenstein ~ Returning to Upheaval ~ Assessing our Options ~ Harlemville
Part Eight: High School Teaching - 261
Adjustments ~ Tragedies ~ Inaugural Year ~ Humanities Teacher ~ Chorus ~ Finding our Place ~ Pigeons on the Gate ~ Henry and Christy Barnes ~ Teacher Development ~ Rules and Regulations ~ History through Music ~ Bali ~ Drama – the Plays ~ The Invisible Teacher ~ Tragedy & Comedy ~ Odysseus ~ Parzival ~ Faust ~ Middle of the Day Classes ~ Growing Diversity ~ Recess Duty ~ Practicums ~ Senior Trip ~ Italy Trip ~ Senioritis ~ Senior Projects ~ Senior Graduation
Part Nine: Waldorf and the World - 349
The Alkion Center ~ The Farm Store ~ The Council ~ Waldorf Education at a Turning Point ~ The Kapteyn Prize ~ Changes and Difficulties ~ South Africa ~ Singing ~ Our School
Epilogue - 385
Acknowledgments - 389
About the Author - 390