The Essence of Community


“A person is a person through other persons.” – Xhosa saying

Throughout our days we are connecting with people all around us whether for brief moments or extended periods of time. Within our days we build up little communities consisting of people who we encounter on a daily basis. Many times the community varies from day to day. Rudolf Steiner spoke strongly of the power and strength of community within our Waldorf School movement. We build up our school community specifically by the visits we have of our student teachers to our schools.
I absolutely love having student teachers in my classroom and have housed many since I started at Gaia in 2013. The student teachers always comment on how great it is to see what they have learnt at college being applied in the classroom. They have also seen how one has to change the learnt content to apply it to the needs of the classroom. It is a humbling experience indeed having someone observe your teaching all day, you learn so much! Not just about yourself as a teacher but also about your class.
I had the absolute pleasure of having a third year student with me for four weeks at the end of last term. It was an absolute joy watching my class as she taught them the man and animal main lesson. The wonder and excitement she brought into the classroom was seen in the beautiful poems the children wrote as well as in their paintings and drawings. Rudolf Steiner stressed how important it is to develop a love for the content you are teaching.
The way we feel towards the subjects we are teaching will ultimately define how our children will feel towards them. They experience our teaching through their feelings so much in the primary years that if we have a slight negative outlook towards a subject it is a guarantee they will develop that too. We do not even need to express in words how we feel towards our subjects, Steiner says, the children will just know.
I have come to realise that the true essence of community lies not in how many people we have in our world but rather in how we connect to those who are in our world. By connecting to the subjects we are teaching we are also connecting with others in our world through the research we are undertaking. We do need each other to build and strengthen our community; we are constantly finding ourselves and our essence through our connections with others.
Joy Dreyer
Class 4 Teacher