I’m in Ljubljana in Slovenia, a place that I know quite well after spending many weeks here helping the Waldorf school to develop their upper school some years ago. Now again I’m in the school. Living in their new guest apartment on top of the school building and I am being taken good care of.
Yesterday I was asked to do a main lesson in 12th class about the vikings. What do you do when you don’t have your notes, not the books or any other things to help you out? The good thing about waldorf pupils is that they are good listeners. So here we go! We have a map so I can show them where the oldest town in Norway is and where I come from. So we travel with the vikings to the west and the east on their big ships, we see where the Oseberg ship was found and I tell them that the sail is 80 m2 big. We talk about York and Staraya Ladoga and we travel all the way to Constantinopel.
The interest for the Vikings is very big these days and many of the pupils are watching the TV series which is going now. One of the girls is really exited! I tell them about Olav who became a saint and Harald Hardrade who fought in the battle of Stiklestad only 15 years old and went to Russia afterwards. How he came all the way to the Byzantine Empress and was a soldier in her army. How he married in Kiev and came back to Norway to become a king. Then I tell them how he was killed in the battle of Stamford Bridge fighting Harald Godwinson. Finishing with the battle of Hastings which the Normans won because the British were exhausted after fighting the Norwegians.
There were 25 pupils listening attentively and asking several questions on the way. I feel we managed well and that they were interested and attentive. Time for coffee. One hour later it is the choir lesson for the whole upper school. They are about 120 people from 15 to 19 years old. The choir teacher has to go with the lower classes to sing in the city because of the celebration of “Carneval”, so I’m asked to do the lesson. OK! 120 pupils whom I don’t know! OK! Thank you!
I see that the pupils are coming in and some teachers also. They take their seats in front of me. Such a big group! About ten teachers are there but the stage is mine. Maja will translate. And the theme? Michael Jackson! It’s not my suggestion. I was asked by one of the teachers who had heard me talk about him some years ago. Was I nervous? You bet!
I start off with the question about the media manipulating us if we only read the headlines. We should research better. And then I say: “I will speak to you today about Michael Jackson”. Some applaud, I hear “yes!” and see their faces of joy and expectation. I tell them my story from June 2009, how I cried and did not know why and how I started my research and what I found which said the complete opposite of what I had heard before.
I tell them how it all started in Gary, Indiana, his father, his fear, his feeling ugly and not loved being called “Big Nose” by his father. His voice from very early and pointing out him singing “Who’s lovin’ you” at 11 years old. We come to vitiligo, lupus and Neverland. But time is short, so I have to stop after 40 minutes. Concluding with telling them about some of my meetings with people who knew him and be careful with what you read in the papers! The faces in front of me gave me energy. I felt so concentrated and focused that I could go on and on. But afterwards I was completely exhausted! One girl came up to me and said that she had been listening to him the last two months and was very happy for what I told them.
Thank you for listening.
(Today a teacher told me that they had talked about it in the main lesson today and it turned out that many had listened to “Who’s lovin’ you” after School yesterday. Many had been in youtube listening to his music. They also said that they were very satisfied with the lecture. Thank you, Michael!)
The evening was spent in the big concert hall Cankarjev Dom listening to the radio orchestra and Lana Trotovsek playing Chaikovsky’s violin concerto and Sibelius’ first symphony. The conductor was George Pehlivanian, an American-Armenian.
So the day was full of history and culture, from the Vikings over Michael Jackson to Chaikovsky and Sibelius. Not a bad day!