A. LeGrand Richards, Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014), 1–32.
A true teacher is a teacher because he cannot help being one.
—Karl G. Maeser
On May 20, 1848, Karl Gottfried Maeser graduated from the Friedrichstadt Teacher College in a suburb of Dresden in the Kingdom of Saxony. This was the culmination of his very intense formal education and the beginning of his very intense informal education. He knew he must yet complete a two- to three-year apprenticeship and an examination before he could become a completely certified teacher (Oberlehrer) in the schools of Saxony. In addressing the first baccalaureates of the Brigham Young Academy exactly forty-five years after his own graduation, Dr. Maeser reflected on the speech that one of his professors had delivered and the thoughts that had run through his mind at that earlier time. What a vast difference between his dreams of the future and the events of his life as they turned out! At the time, he had supposed that he would live the simple life of a dedicated schoolmaster in his beloved Germany. He would have been relatively comfortable and would have risen in respect among his colleagues. He could not have anticipated how the Lord might have had a different plan for his life. At another graduation at which he spoke, he wryly noted that he would never know half as much as he thought he knew when he graduated. He could not have anticipated how his unique training and a series of profound experiences would yet send him on a journey in a very unexpected direction. It might be argued that the education Karl received was the finest available in the world for one who desired to become a teacher. It culminated in one of the most exciting periods of European political and educational enlightenment.
Born January 16, 1828, in Meissen, Saxony (Germany), Karl Gottfried Maeser was the oldest of four sons, two of whom died as infants. His parents were Johann Gottfried Maeser, a master painter in the famous Meissen Porzellan factory, and Fredericka Zocher Maeser. For over fifty years, Johann would make his daily trek down the hill from the family home, cross the Elbe on the Altstadtbrücke (Old City Bridge) to Meissen, and hike up the other side to the Albrechtsburg Castle where the factory was housed at the time. Karl’s parents believed that education was a key to his future. His father regretted that he had given up his own schooling in order to start working at a young age. He knew he had talent, but as he later told Karl, “The creations of my mind and brush might have adorned the great art galleries of the world, and my name might have been written with the great artists of my time, but Karl, I painted for bread too soon.”
This story helped sustain Karl in his early studies, because his earliest teachers were not examples of love and encouragement. In 1893, Karl described that as a child he was beaten many times by a teacher for things that should have brought praise. He believed his teacher at that time did not intend to do wrong but was not able to read his heart accurately. Like most Saxon children, he attended his local parish elementary school (Volksschule) a few blocks from his home at Johannes Kirche in Cölln, a neighborhood of Meissen. Karl was a diligent student; as an eleven-year-old he went blind for eight months, but after his recovery he returned to his studies with renewed energy, completing his elementary training in 1842 at the age of fourteen. Records indicated that he graduated with vorzüglicher Befähigung (excellent ability) and was confirmed a Lutheran two days later. At the time, Volksschulen had developed an excellent reputation, but the quality of the experience differed greatly from school to school. Karl’s father did not want him to lose the opportunity further schooling could provide, so he encouraged him to continue even if it meant that he would have to move away from home. With the proper schooling, Karl could rise to higher social status and greater opportunities.
German Education in Karl’s Time
At the time, Germany was a land splintered into dozens of states, each with its own privileged class of royalty and aristocracy and its own underclass of peasants and farmers. Prussia was the largest of these and tended to set the trends for the other German states. For centuries, Austria and Prussia contended against each other, and Saxony was caught in between them, most often siding with Austria. The schools in Saxony and Prussia, however, became the most advanced in Europe and shared a great deal in policy and practice. Both had established compulsory elementary schooling for all young people. Because of this, the literacy rates in these countries were the highest in Europe. Wealthy families typically hired private tutors to groom their children for entrance into an elite preparatory school, a Gymnasium. University education was only available to the top graduates of a Gymnasium.
Lower- and middle-class families sent their children to the Volksschule, where they received the basics of an elementary education. After this primary schooling, they typically took up a trade and went to work. This arrangement helped maintain and justify the hierarchical social class structure, but powerful, new educational ideas were beginning to gain a footing in the country. Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), the founder of the University of Berlin, for example, had been introducing a concept of general education, allgemeine Bildung. His theory included the idea of a lifelong general education that would be available not only to the wealthy but to all. He believed that all citizens should receive a broad basic education based upon the self-determination of the individual within their social context. Von Humboldt’s educational system was deeply influenced by the educational philosophy of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827).
Horace Mann, the founder of the American public school system, spent his six-month honeymoon visiting the schools of Europe. He returned singing the praises of the Prussian and Saxon schools as the best he had observed anywhere. No matter how strong the animosity between Saxony and Prussia may have been, Mann believed that they both had adopted the same basic principles of education. As it turns out, his description of these teachers is not unlike the descriptions that the students of Maeser would later give of him as a teacher.
Mann was most impressed with the dignified quality of the teachers: “They were alike free from arrogant pretension and from the affectation of humility.” Such a teacher was not dependent upon a textbook but rather taught “from a full mind.” Adapting his instruction “both in quality and amount,” he knew how to raise questions and provoke inquiry. Always prepared to demonstrate “of what use such knowledge [could] be,” he probed and prodded, inspired and guided the students to discover for themselves the connected nature of ideas and their “relations to the every-day duties and business of life.” “When a teacher knows much and is master of his whole subject, he can afford to be modest and unpretending.”
Mann observed that Prussian and Saxon teachers ruled by love, not by fear. Compulsion was unnecessary in such schools. “The children are delighted. Their perceptive powers are exercised. Their reflecting faculties are developed. Their moral sentiments are cultivated.” The art of teaching resided in the zeal of the teacher to “enkindle the scholars.” Mann noted that this kind of teacher “charges them with his own electricity to the point of explosion. Such a teacher has no idle, mischievous, whispering children around him, nor any occasion for the rod. He does not make desolation of all the active and playful impulses of childhood and call it peace; nor, to ride them with the nightmare of fear.” He spoke of these teachers having “the expression and vivacity of an actor in a play.” They did not sit aloof at the front of the room but rather “mingled with their pupils, passing rapidly from one side of the class to the other, animating, encouraging, sympathizing, breathing life into less active natures, assuring the timid, distributing encouragement and endearment to all.” In gestures, posture, and facial expressions, they demonstrated a keen interest that inspired a “glowing” excitement by the end of the hour, “though he might have been teaching the same lesson for the hundredth or five hundredth time.”
Mann was particularly impressed by the genuine concern and affection the Prussian and Saxon teachers exhibited toward the students, in contrast with teachers he had observed in both Europe and the United States. “I never saw a blow struck, I never heard a sharp rebuke given, I never saw a child in tears, nor arraigned at the teacher’s bar for any alleged misconduct.” Rather, the teacher showed the tenderness of a vigilant parent more likely to reveal grief or disappointment from a student’s failure than to ridicule, sneer at, or scold a child for his or her mistake. “No child was disconcerted, disabled, or bereft of his senses, through fear.”
Of course, the unified portrayal of the Pestalozzian teachers in Prussia and Saxony described by Mann was not a generalizable reality, but his praise of it continued for more than 150 pages in his annual report. It was so positive that a group of principals in Boston wrote a rejoinder. Other American observers had also traveled to Germany and were deeply impressed by the results of the Pestalozzian influence described by Mann. The ability to read and write was developed much faster in these schools, but even more impressive was the flexibility of the teacher’s “sovereignty” and the emphasis on the student’s “ability to think independently.” These descriptions belie the militaristic stereotype often used to label Prussian education. Clark reported that visitors often expressed “surprise that such a ‘despotic’ political arrangement should have produced such a progressive and open-minded educational system.” In reality as the next chapter will show, the authoritarian rigidity of later Prussian schools was a direct political counterreaction to overcome the democratic implications of Pestalozzian theory and practice.
Karl’s Gymnasium Education: The Kreuzschule
At the age of fourteen, upon completion of his studies in Meissen, Karl did not enter the workforce; instead he followed his father’s advice by attending the famous Kreuzschule, a prestigious preparatory school (Gymnasium) in Dresden, some fifteen miles up the river from Meissen. Douglas F. Tobler suggests that Karl stayed with relatives in Dresden who lived near the school. A person with Karl’s social status would not have normally been allowed to attend a Gymnasium, but the Kreuzschule had recently broadened its admissions policy. The academically prepared and financially advantaged sons of pastors, nobles, and aristocrats had always been admitted, but now the less-financially-advantaged sons of school principals, businessmen, and influential craftsmen were also allowed to attend. These newcomers were given the chance to climb to a higher social status if they could prove themselves through their aptitude and diligence at the Gymnasium. Graduation from the Kreuzschule, then, could have been a gateway to a life of university training and a prestigious career. However, the forces brewing in the Kreuzschule were beginning to raise serious questions about the practical value of traditional university preparation.
The Kreuzschule in Dresden had developed an outstanding reputation that dated back to the 1300s. For example, the great musical composer Richard Wagner had attended only a few years before Karl enrolled. For centuries, the school had been directly tied to the Church of the Cross (Kreuzkirche) and its choir. Its methods and curriculum had been developed over centuries and were accepted as the standard way to prepare university students. At the same time, however, the Kreuzschule’s great reputation was based upon a philosophy and practice antithetical to the Pestalozzian approach that had impressed Mann so much and that Karl would eventually adopt. The Kreuzschule was elitist, abstract and disconnected from practical experience. In fact, during the time Karl attended this Gymnasium, a new vision of college preparation was brewing in the country, and the Kreuzschule became the stimulus for the vision. The tension that developed at the Kreuzschule because of this conflict left an indelible influence on Karl’s life and on his beliefs about education.
The rector of the school, Christian Ernst August Gröbel (1783–1854), was a theologian and a strong advocate of a traditional, classical education. He had been the director since 1816 and was very set in his ways. During Gröbel’s three decades of leadership, attendance had almost tripled by 1828 (when the school had 430 students), but from that point the enrollment steadily declined. By Easter of 1843, 304 students were attending, divided into six grades. By 1848, the enrollment at the Kreuzschule had declined to 279 students. The Kreuzschule met in an old, dark building near the center of Dresden, with narrow rooms, poor lighting, and a musty courtyard. Like any traditional Gymnasium, Latin and Greek dominated the curriculum. Karl would have had ten hours per week of Latin, six to eight hours of Greek, and the rest of the time between the other subjects. Classes met Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. with a two-hour midday break. Gröbel saw mathematics as a marginal subject; natural science was almost totally absent from the curriculum; and history and geography were barely mentioned. Even the classics of German literature were given little emphasis. Religion, however, was of course a required part of the curriculum; church attendance was required on Sundays and Thursdays.
Each grade was divided into smaller units, and each week a student monitor, or “prefect,” was selected to help keep order and to report any violations of the rules. The rules of the school were to apply both on and off the campus. Students were not to swim in the Elbe, and they were not to be disruptive in the streets. Because it was a Latin school, earlier students were not even to be caught speaking German in public. The director also forbade the students from attending the theater “because it endangered the moral education of the boys.” At the conclusion of each academic year, the students faced a three-day examination.
Gröbel’s students described the director as a man small in stature, with a high-pitched but melodious voice. His speech was curt and determined, without dialect, and extraordinarily articulate. When necessary, he was sharp and cutting, and he commanded respect. The cardinal virtues he insisted on cultivating in his students were piety, diligence, obedience, and meekness. A colleague described him as “a competent teacher, but without a heart for youth, hard, rough, who one obeyed, but without joy.” The theology he taught was doctrinally sound and rational, but it lacked a spirit of Christian kindness and love.
Karl’s Greek and Latin teacher at the Kreuzschule (with whom he spent the most significant amount of time) was Hermann Köchly (1815–1876). Köchly was a contrast to Gröbel: he was young and enthusiastic and had become dissatisfied with the fundamental assumptions of the German Gymnasium and its detached, elitist spirit. He began calling for reform, but the aging Gröbel opposed it. The year after Karl left the Kreuzschule, Köchly even founded a professional association to revolutionize and unify the efforts of Gymnasien throughout the German states.
Köchly argued for a much cleaner demarcation between preparations in the arts (Geisteswissenschaften) and the sciences (Naturwissenschaften). He wanted to spare the scientists the classical training in Latin grammar, translation, and memorized recitations. They would have their own preparatory training in a Realgymnasium, which would be given the same status as other Gymnasien. Success in medicine, chemistry, or physics did not require a deep appreciation for Greek and Latin literature; it needed to explore and discover new vistas.
Köchly had a fiery personality and a deep love of Greek drama. He carried a disdain for the formal relationship between teacher and student that typified German institutions of higher learning, with their rigid, elitist nature. Köchly was a gifted teacher who drew students to him and began to divide the faculty into two opposing groups. He criticized the typical way of teaching Greek and Latin because it tended to be merely a superficial language course devoid of the spirit that moved the Greek writers. He believed that literary passages should be taught with all the passion of the original writers. He wanted his students to feel the emotions of Livius, Xenophon, and Caesar—to display the emotion of Pericles’ funeral oration, Cicero’s address to Pompeii, and Goethe’s poetry. Karl might have developed some of his later love of oratory from Köchly’s enthusiastic performances. As a teacher, Maeser insisted that recitations were not simply to be memorized and recited; they were to be delivered with zeal. On Friday evenings, Köchly and a few of his colleagues sponsored open readings of some of the latest German literature or one of the most recent translations of a Latin or Greek work.
Köchly’s disappointment with the approach at the Kreuzschule led him to complain that the instruction in Germany’s Gymnasien was too arbitrary and mechanical. He disliked the formal parliamentary procedure that Gröbel required of his faculty, and he was against the oppressive relationship between teachers and students. The climax of the tension between Köchly and Gröbel took place after Maeser left the Kreuzschule, but as a keen observer of human nature, Maeser would have noticed the growing discord. At an 1845 gathering of Gymnasium rectors, Köchly would declare that no simple changes would be sufficient for the Gymnasien; rather, a complete reformation was necessary (not an insignificant claim to make in the land of Luther). Gröbel published his criticism of Köchly’s proposals, but ultimately the debate culminated in a major reform of the German Gymnasien and the premature retirement of Gröbel (1848).
Karl’s Decision to Become a Teacher
After successfully graduating from the Kreuzschule, Karl could have joined with the brightest of his fellow students and enrolled in the University of Dresden or Leipzig. This would have provided him with a much higher social status and security, but records at the Kreuzschule, show that Karl attended the Gymnasium for only two years. Karl took the Latin exam at the Kreuzschule in April 1843 (the conclusion of his first year) and was listed in the fourth class. The system there was in a reverse order from the American system—students progressed from the sixth to the first grade—so Karl would have had at least three more years until graduation. But in 1845 he chose to switch to a far less prestigious route: the Friedrichstadt Teacher College (Lehrerseminar). His decision to become a teacher, which would eliminate his potential to improve his social status, might seem surprising, but Karl was not in school for social status.
Karl did not find the intellectual rigor of the Kreuzschule to be too difficult for him, but the elitism built into the experience, as well as the impracticality of its emphasis on Latin and Greek when the world was becoming more alive to scientific inquiry, might have seemed unbearable. He felt that his own power to learn was being curtailed by the stodgy experience at the Kreuzschule under Gröbel’s authoritarian leadership as a hypocritical splash of cold water.
But to become a teacher at a Volksschule would mean a major drop in social prestige. Teachers in German Volksschulen were not well paid, and the typical class size was eighty students. The status of teachers was not particularly high, and the career options outside of schools for those with a teaching certificate were severely limited. However, there was a growing sense that the schools could make a difference in society. Despite the social disadvantages, Karl chose to prepare to become a teacher.
It is not exactly clear why Karl chose to transfer to the Teacher College. Perhaps finances played a role—an annual scholarship was offered at the Teacher College specifically for two students from Meissen. However, it seems likely that Köchly had a very direct impact on Karl’s decision. Köchly regularly told his students, “I’m not upset by what you don’t know, but by what you don’t apply.” He wanted his students to demand that their education become practically useful. I believe that Köchly convinced Karl that the elitism of the Gymnasium was not for him and that the extraordinary emphasis they placed on Latin and Greek was not something he felt he should apply. In November 1846, while Karl was attending the Teacher College, Köchly convened a conference of science teachers to discuss how the Gymnasium should be reformed to place greater emphasis on science. Karl’s current science teacher at the Teacher College, Gelf F. Reinicke, was a major panel participant. He made an interesting statement that might have directly reflected Karl’s decision. He had observed that recently they had admitted transfer students to the Teacher College—specifically, from the Kreuzschule—because these students were forced to take “some subjects they just didn’t want to take any more.” To make matters worse, boys from the farms were quickly being left behind and could never catch up because the general curriculum of the Gymnasium was so disconnected from life. He believed that the curriculum itself was partially responsible for creating an “antagonistic spirit.” Perhaps, then, Karl believed his talents and interests should be engaged in a more useful direction.
Karl had a deep love for his fatherland; maybe he was convinced that he could do more good for it by helping to educate the poor than by perpetuating elitism of the existing system. Perhaps he wanted the richest exposure (both in theory and in practice) to new educational ideas, which were not found in the universities.
Perhaps Karl’s decision in 1845 was influenced by a touching story he related in 1866. Karl said he accompanied his father to the fiftieth jubilee of a grand old teacher who was lauded by former students and social dignitaries from surrounding villages; he was even given a silver medal from a government official who was there to represent the king. During the service, the old teacher listened with tearful appreciation. He was holding his Bible, which contained a little folded paper that Karl observed him take out and press to his lips at one point. He rose to speak, and, “thanking, in a few deep feeling words, all for the expression of their love, he broke out into a flood of tears, and retired amidst the blessings of the people to his home, where love and gratitude had provided a sumptuous dinner for him and invited guests.”
Because of his father’s close relationship with the venerable teacher, Karl was invited to the dinner, where the teacher explained the treasure he had in the folded paper. Fifty years earlier, the old teacher had received his first appointment. He had done well in school, and his “imagination held out to him pictures of glory and fame, to which his intelligence, integrity and noble soul entitled him, more, perhaps than many others.” Just before the old teacher entered the village, however, he knelt in silent prayer “to Him, who had been the friend of the fatherless boy from childhood. When he arose, his eye fell upon a little violet growing on the very spot on which he had been praying.” It seemed to deliver a divine message to him that he must curb his grand ambitions and to serve where he was planted. Gently plucking the flower, he made a sacred promise: “By this voice from nature Thou hast commanded me to labor in simplicity and truth, and I will keep this little violet as a token of a holy covenant with Thee to work for Thee and not for the praise of man.” He had placed the violet in his Bible and treasured it to that very day as a symbol of the covenant he had made with the Lord. To Karl, the teacher’s words “lay like a seed in my soul. . . . That man had kept his covenant. What was all the praise of the multitude, what was the king’s medal in comparison with the testimony that little violet bore in his behalf!” The teacher continued, “My name may not have gone far beyond our parish, and may be forgotten when I am gone, but what I have planted in my Father’s name will grow until the great harvest day!” Karl left feeling that he enjoyed the presence of “a greater man than the king himself.”
Sixteen years later, Karl returned to the village, now as a newly appointed teacher himself, and visited the grave of “the great and good man, who had faithfully stood to his post until the Lord called him away.” Some “angel hand” had planted violets at the head of the grave and, though it felt a sacrilege, Karl couldn’t help picking one as a reminder to himself. Later in his life, Maeser said, when “I went through bitter trials, when temptation was held out to me to desert my holy calling for mere lucrative positions, when people frowned down upon me and my calling, when often, I found nowhere encouragement but in my own heart, then I remembered with hope and confidence the little violets that grew on the old teacher’s grave.”
Education at the Teacher College
Karl’s experience at the Friedrichstadt Teacher College brought him in practical contact with the ideas and methods of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. These ideas were quickly spreading throughout Europe, especially in the teacher colleges in both Prussia and Saxony and subsequently in the Volksschulen, where their graduates were sent to teach. The establishment of teacher colleges in Prussia had received a great deal of attention. No lesser philosophical giants than Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte had called upon the king of Prussia to broaden education to the entire population. Fichte, in particular, had met Pestalozzi in 1793 and was captivated by his educational principles. In a highly influential address, Fichte argued that such an education was “the only possible means of saving German independence” and should therefore be extended to the whole nation “without excepting any of its individual members.” Acting on Fichte’s cry, the Prussian king authorized Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), founder of the University of Berlin and Prussian minister of education, to send nineteen of their best and brightest young men to Ifferton in Switzerland to study for three years with Pestalozzi at the government’s expense. As these Pestalozzian converts returned to Prussia, they established new teacher colleges and reformed existing ones to prepare teachers for the Prussian Volksschulen in the ideas, methods, and dispositions of Pestalozzian education.
Decades before this advancement was developing in Prussia, however, Saxony had established the Friedrichstadt Teacher College. It was founded in 1787, the first of its kind in Saxony. Established by Friedrich Augustus III, it began with eight teacher candidates who conducted an elementary school on their campus. The intention was to begin a unified preparation of teachers for all the elementary schools in Saxony. The first director of the college was the Deacon Johann Gottlieb Feigenhauer, but the most influential director was probably Gustav Dinter (director from 1797 to 1807), who has often been called the Saxon Pestalozzi.
As a great advocate of Pestalozzian practices, Dinter transformed the spirit, the methods, and the reputation of the Teacher College. Laughter, kindness, and love undergirded his approach to learning, and his graduates carried this approach to their assignments. To the chagrin of some parents, corporal punishment was banned from the institution. He became known as Father Dinter because his approach was so devoid of tyrannical control. Dinter became a fierce defender of the idea of qualified teachers. At the time it was common to hire retired military officers as teachers. Dinter argued that no one would suppose it to be a good idea to hire an orchestra conductor who knew nothing about music, even if he were a strong disciplinarian. Likewise good moral character or commanding discipline would not be sufficient reason for hiring someone as an educator.
Dinter taught a Socratic method of asking students provocative questions, and he established a practice-oriented approach. A garden was planted to be cared for by the students, and teachers made a special effort to reach the children of the poor. After leaving the Teacher College in Dresden, Dinter accepted a position as a school consulate in Prussia with this oath: “I promised God that I would look upon every Prussian peasant child as a being who could complain of me before God, if I did not provide for him the best education, as a man and a Christian, which it was possible for me to provide.” For him, the preparation of teachers required “freedom, work, love and a religious sense.” Therefore, he taught that his students were not to be treated as boys but as future teachers. Practical experience was provided on campus at the ongoing lab school in which nearly one half of the students were poor. Dinter also taught, “You will make a child lazy, if you do for him what he can do for himself.” For models of his methodology, Pestalozzi was the king of lower grade levels, while Socrates was the king of the upper ones. Dinter’s influence on the college lasted long after he left.
While pursuing a theoretical preparation, the candidates at the Friedrichstadt Teacher College were introduced to the practical experience of running a school from a Pestalozzian foundation. The lab school at the college offered eight classes, three of which were dedicated specifically to teaching children from poor families. In 1842 the school was serving 655 children with 70 teacher candidates.
Karl’s program at the Teacher College was academically rigorous and physically demanding, but not harsh or elitist. Students were awakened at 5:00 a.m. sharp and were assembled for morning prayer by 5:30. Breakfast followed and instruction began promptly at 6:00 in the summer and 7:00 in the winter. “Free time” was given from noon until 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.—during this time they could exercise, practice the organ, read, receive private instruction, or spend time in the city. Instruction continued from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The rest of the time students had assignments with the lab school, the grounds, the garden, the upkeep of the building, homework, and so forth, until they were gathered for evening prayer at 10:00 p.m. Students followed this routine six days per week. Students had thirty-two hours of instruction and nineteen hours of work per week in the summer semester and twentyfour and sixteen hours per week, respectively, in the winter semester.
Textbooks were a rarity, so writing took up a large part of the day. Teacher candidates also wrote their own choral books for later use. The director regularly reviewed their teaching outlines and books. They also spent significant time tutoring students in small groups of about five. This training was conducted in cramped study rooms with glass doors for regular observations. On Sundays and holidays, half of the teacher candidates would accompany the director to the worship service in the Katholische Hofkirche in Dresden, while the other half attended the Protestant service held at the Friedrichstadt church under the supervision of the cantor. After church on Sundays, the candidates often spent time in the city or explored the region around Dresden. Dresden was a cultural center, alive to great music, theater, and the excitement of a large city. Karl would have been there during the great flood of the Elbe River in 1845 that must have severely affected the school.
The teacher candidates (mostly fourteen- to sixteen-year-olds) slept in one large room on the campus that was kept locked during the day. Except during free time, no one was allowed to leave the campus without the director’s permission, by penalty of a fine. Smoking in the yard or on the public streets was also strictly prohibited. Each year at Easter, all the candidates faced a public examination by the royal examination commission. Teacher candidates were required to pass written examinations in “readiness in thinking, German language, orthography (handwriting), composition, history, geography, natural science and drawing calligraphy”; they were also required to pass an oral examination in “religion, bible, natural science, arithmetic, singing, music performance, and public speaking.” Mann noted that only two-thirds of the candidates were considered eligible to continue after their initial three years of study.
At the Teacher College, Karl met the kind of teachers that Mann had described, who were committed to implementing a more humane and practical experience. The most influential of these was the director, Christian Traugott Otto (1791–1874), who served as director from 1818 to 1862. He had been trained as a pastor and he published a magazine for children entitled Kinderfreund (the Children’s Friend), which was filled with teaching ideas and examples for teachers. In the great hall, Otto combined all the classes of teacher candidates at the school for his courses in religion, history, geography, and Pädagogik. Described as a large, dignified man, “with penetrating eyes as though he wanted to see the foundation of our souls” and with an astounding memory, Otto paced back and forth slowly at the front of the lecture hall with a commanding presence. Each week he would review six chapters from the Bible with the students—he sought a lively discussion for a practical understanding. One of his students recalled as an eighty-five-year-old, “Unforgettable is for me today his interpretation of the Lord’s parables.” Otto respected much of Dinter’s previous work but paid “no homage to his flat, rationalistic theology.”
A former teacher candidate listed only as R. Herrmann suggested that Otto earned the students’ respect because of his practical example “in his resilient power and zeal for work, in his meticulous care and orderliness, in his strict punctuality! However more than anything else we cherished him because of his love of his students and his engagement in the weal and woe of their lives. Long after we had outgrown his fatherly oversight and care, he visited us also in our positions in the field.” Karl had found a teacher worth emulating in both theory and practice.
Karl would have also found much to admire in the vice director of the Teacher College, Ernst Adolf Eduard Calinich (1806–?). Calinich had a broad educational background. He published books and articles on a wide range of topics, including religious conversion, language instruction, philosophy, education, and reading. It is likely that he taught some of Karl’s classes regarding teaching technique and method. He taught that true education could not be something fully predetermined. “The true education of man must aim only at striving to promote the divinely human life,” and this task can never be a predefined, required outcome of a state curriculum.
For Calinich, religion had to be experienced personally. Though religious education was almost universally required, Calinich believed teacher colleges often took one of two erroneous paths to proper religious instruction. Some treated it as merely another secular subject with unique biblical content; this would ignore the experience of religion. Just as serious, however, were those who treated it as a mere aesthetic, emotional experience. This ignored the rational aspect of religion. “Religion does not overshadow the head and the heart of man; it is a light from heaven given to man and, as the sun enlightens and warms the earthly world with its friendly light, so the spiritual world of man should liberate him from superstition and ignite in him the feeling of love and contentment.” Later Karl would make these distinctions himself.
As mentioned earlier, G. F. Reinicke was probably Karl’s teacher in the natural sciences: physics, botany, math, and natural history. Reinicke felt particularly obligated to help his students overcome the widespread superstitions built into their culture. Karl’s interest and proficiency in science was probably developed under Reinicke’s tutelage. At Köchly’s previously mentioned 1846 conference to reform Gymnasium science, Reinicke offered strong ideas for teaching science in higher education. He openly advocated the application of Pestalozzian pedagogy to the preparation of science teachers. He was pleased that Pestalozzi’s ideas and methods had been widely adopted in the cities, but they had not been so well accepted in the outlying areas. With coaching, however, he had seen from his own experience how the development of the powers of observation could be enhanced through natural science instruction.
Karl’s literature teacher was probably Ernst Fischer. He too had a Pestalozzian emphasis; in fact, in 1852 he published a book of literature entitled Pestalozzi Album. It contained original contributions from more than twenty-eight members of the Pestalozzi Association (Pestalozziverein). The association was dedicated to the financial support of the orphans of former teachers.
The instruction at the Teacher College included little time for the theoretical and abstract; rather, it was rich with concrete examples and practical applications in all subject areas. In addition to those subject areas already mentioned, teacher candidates received technical training in drawing, penmanship, gymnastics, fencing, and music. Teacher candidates at the college had significant experience in engaging students at the lab school and had received positive feedback on their efforts. In the upper class, two hours of catechism practice was held per week. From time to time the director himself would conduct a class with young students as a demonstration to his teacher candidates. This was a technique Karl would later use in his “normal class” (teacher preparation class) and on his tours to Sunday schools. Teacher candidates regularly held practice classes, and at the conclusion of the practice a question-and-answer period was held. The children were then released and a critique of the instruction was held among the teacher candidates. The director would conclude the practice session by adding his own impressions of the effort. Teacher candidates were also required to prepare sermons for Sunday services; these would include memorized poems, scriptural references, and stories that could be given should the pastor be unavailable or should the need arise in the future. Upon graduation, teacher candidates were then rigorously prepared to bring the tender ideals of a Pestalozzian education to the concrete practice of Saxon schools.
Pestalozzian Thought during Karl’s Lifetime
The discontentment Karl had witnessed among the divided parties at the Gymnasium was reflected dramatically in the politics of the intellectuals throughout Dresden and beyond. Even as a teenager, Karl recognized the political maneuverings and the growing intellectual tensions. During Karl’s early life, a new spirit was not only affecting the schools, it was also affecting all of the provinces in Germany and Europe. Numerous forces were eroding the traditional institutions that had been so effective in preserving social class structure. The visible contrast between rich and poor, aristocrat and peasant, and urban and rural life was painfully obvious. In many ways, Pestalozzi gave voice to some of the most influential and revolutionary ideas of Karl’s time.
As a very young man, Pestalozzi became deeply troubled by the deplorable conditions of the poor in Switzerland. He felt driven to do something to make a difference and eventually came to believe that education for all was the most powerful answer. He therefore decided to become a schoolmaster. As a young student, Pestalozzi was provoked by the new and revolutionary ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau. When Rousseau’s books were banned in Switzerland, Pestalozzi found himself drawn ever more closely to them. Suspicious of society, Rousseau believed in the natural development and growth of the individual. His educational ideas were powerful but impractical. In his book Emile, Rousseau described how he might raise an imaginary boy in accordance with the laws of nature, but in doing this, he insisted that it would be impossible to raise more than one boy per lifetime. Pestalozzi, however, began to find ways in which Rousseau’s ideas could be practically applied to a classroom setting.
None of Pestalozzi’s formal attempts to establish schools for orphans were considered very successful in the long run, but his massive corpus of writings began to influence educators all over the world. He offered a tender alternative to traditional schooling, which tended to be cold, brutal, and disconnected from the relevance of living. Pestalozzi’s idea was not based on a concept of man as a depraved, fallen creature ever seeking to violate the laws of God, but on a fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature and the conviction that each person has unlimited potential. His methods encouraged teachers to treat their students with this potential ever in mind. He encouraged teachers to begin with the concrete and then go to the abstract—from the simple to the complex. Pestalozzian thought also required teachers to never do for students what they could learn to do for themselves. He taught that a whole education required the proper development of the head (rational powers), the hand (physical capacities), and the heart (moral dispositions). And, as an important change from traditional teaching, love was to replace fear as the motivating and disciplining factor.
Pestalozzian education did not intend to promote insurrection, but was based upon a fundamental belief in the goodness of people and the potential of each individual to develop through his or her own choices and self-activity. It carried with it the trust in the nature of man that is the essence of a democratic spirit. Its highest objective sought to empower the child to become the chief agent of his own development. In de Guimps’s words, “It would give true liberty of heart and mind, without which no other liberty can be enjoyed; it would tend to re-establish in every citizen that independence of development and character which teaches a man to observe and judge for himself, without allowing himself to be absorbed by party or sect, and made a mere puppet in the hands of others.”
Horace Mann claimed that this Pestalozzian approach to education as delivered by the German teacher colleges was responsible for developing the character of the German people to progress “more rapidly than other people in the world.” Mann had actually visited the Friedrichstadt Teacher College in July of 1843. In his report, he prophesied that this educational approach would plow the ground for dissatisfaction with any form of tyranny: “No one who witnesses that quiet, noiseless development of mind which is now going forward, in Prussia, through the agency of its educational institutions, can hesitate to predict, that the time is not far distant when the people will assert their right to a participation in their own government.”
Teaching Assignment in Bohemia
When candidates were admitted to the Friedrichstadt Teacher College, in accordance with an 1842 law they were asked to take an oath that upon graduation they would accept, without complaint, an assignment to serve two years in any position assigned them by the area administrator. Fourteen young men passed their final examinations at the Teacher College in spring 1848, including Karl; however, two of the students who had passed died of tuberculosis just prior to graduation. Given the close quarters and relationships of the students, Karl was fortunate not to have contracted the disease also. Each of these graduates was placed in an educational post, only two of which were in Dresden.
Following his graduation from the Teacher College in May 1848, Karl left Saxony to fulfill his required apprenticeship. La Vopa contended that “the graduates were bound to accept any assignment during the first three teaching years, on pain of recompensing the state for the entire cost of Seminar instruction.” Karl was originally assigned to be a Hauslehrer (family tutor) in Goerkau (a town in Bohemia). In reality, he became the tutor to the children of Baron Rüdt von Collenberg in Komotau (now spelled Chomutov), a town not far from Goerkau. This was a typical way of fulfilling the required probationary internship of two to three years following the formal training to become a teacher.
Thus, as a twenty-year-old, by deciding to become a common teacher rather than an elite university graduate, Karl had already made a major trajectory change in the course of his life. He completed his formal training and left the comforts of friends and family, filled with the ideas and methods of teaching given to him at the Teacher College. He also carried with him the dissatisfaction he had experienced with the elitism of the Kreuzschule and the traditional university preparation. As a Protestant from Saxony, he left the excitement and tension brewing in the big city of Dresden and headed for a small town in the Catholic-dominated area of Bohemia. He had been inflamed with the ideas of a unified Germany with a common constitution and a democratically elected parliament. The family he was assigned to teach had also been caught up in the political tensions of the times, but they represented the most conservative political elements of the day. He had had a front row seat to observe the forces of dissatisfaction that were brewing among the intellectuals in Dresden, but he was now being required to use his energies in a dramatically different cultural setting.
 Karl G. Maeser, “The Teacher,” Juvenile Instructor, July 1, 1891, 414.
 See “BY Academy: Principal’s Report,” Utah Enquirer, May 29, 1888, 1: “Holy Day of Rest,” Daily Enquirer, May 22, 1893, 4.
 For more detail of this story see Alma Burton, Karl G. Maeser: Mormon Educator (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1953), 1.
 Pestalozzi strongly opposed corporal punishment.
 “Holy Day of Rest,” Daily Enquirer, May 22, 1893.
 What is now called the Johannes Kirche in Cölln is not the church where Karl attended school but is a newer building; the school he attended is now referred to as St. Urbanskirche.
 Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 11.
 BYU has a certificate showing his graduation in 1842 from the local parish school in Meissen, (actually in Cölln, a small town across the river that was annexed to Meissen). It certifies that he attended this school for three and a half years. MSS 1841, box 1, folder 8, item 1, LTPSC.
 For a good review of the political forces forming Maeser’s early education, see Douglas F. Tobler, “Karl G. Maeser’s German Background, 1828–1856: The Making of Zion’s Teacher,” BYU Studies 17, no. 2 (1977): 155–75.
 Hans-Martin Moderow, Volksschule zwischen Staat und Kirche (Köln: Böhlau Verlag, 2007), 461, claimed that the literacy rate in Saxony in 1830 was 95 percent. Chapter 2 will examine German education during this volatile time period. For further reading, see also Karl A. Schleunes, Schooling and Society (New York: St. Martin’s, 1989); and Albert Reble, Geschichte der Pädagogik (Frankfurt: Klett-Cott, 1981).
 Mann arrived in Dresden on July 29, 1843. It is not clear whether he visited the Kreuzschule during the trip or whether, in fact, it was even open, but he does mention that he visited the seminary for teachers that became the school from which Karl graduated in 1848. He noted the admirable qualities in Dresden that he praised so openly in Prussia. See Mann Papers, MS N-1620, reel 34, July 29, 1843, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
 Mann wrote, “The Prussian and Saxon schools are all conducted substantially upon the same plan, and taught in the same manner.” Horace Mann, Seventh Annual Report of the Board of Education (Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1844), 85.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 127.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 123.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 127.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 135.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 134.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 135.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 137.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 137.
 See Remarks of the Association of Boston Masters upon His Seventh Annual Report (Boston, 1844).
 See Karl-Ernst Jeismann, “American Observations Concerning the Prussian Educational System in the Nineteenth Century,” in Henry Geitz, Jürgen Heideking, and Jurgen Herbst, German Influences on Education in the United States to 1917 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 31.
 Christopher Clark, Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), 407.
 The dramatic shift in educational spirit and practice is illustrated between Horace Mann’s description of Prussian and Saxon schools (1843) and Ingmar Winter’s description of the Saxon system in the 1850s. See Ingmar Winter, “Der Unterricht war kalt, streng, hart: das Abbild zeitgenössischer Pädagogik bei Karl May,” in Jahrbuch der Karl-May Gesellschaft, ed. Bernhard Kosciuszko and Martin Lowsky (Hamburg: Karl-May-Gesellschaft, 1988), 292–321.
 Douglas F. Tobler, “Karl G. Maeser’s German Background,” 160. Tobler claims that Karl moved in with the Draches in 1837 or 1838; however, Karl did not spend that long in the Kreuzschule and did not begin attending until at least 1842.
 Karlheinz Blaschke and others, Dresden: Kreuzkirche, Kreuzschule, Kreuzchor, Musikalische und humanistische Tradition in 775 Jahren (Dresden: Treuleben, Kurth, 1991), 68.
 Blaschke, Dresden, 68.
 The Kreuzschule had 176 students when Gröbel accepted his appointment. Friedrich Hultsch, Zur Erinnerung an Dr. Christian Ernst August Gröbel: Rector der Kreuzschule. Gedächtnißrede in der Aula der Kreuzschule gehalten am 28. Januar 1884 (Dresden: V. Zahn & Jaensch, 1884), 12.
 Franz Eduard Gehe, Die Unterrichts—und Erziehungs—Anstalten in Dresden (Dresden: Arnoldischen Buchhandlung, 1845), 8, 11.
 Hultz, Zur Erinnerung an Dr. Christian Ernst August Gröbel, 28.
 Ernst Boeckel, Hermann Köchly: ein Bild seines Lebens und seiner Persönlichkeit (Heidelberg: Carl Winter’s Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1904), 31–32.
 Blaschke, Dresden, 64. See also Gehe, Die Unterrichts—und Erziehungs—Anstalten, 10.
 Hultsch, Zur Erinnerung an Dr. Christian Ernst August Gröbel, 19.
 Blaschke, Dresden, 64–65.
 Blaschke, Dresden, 68.
 Some of his students referred to him as “shorty” (Der Kleine).
 Hultsch, Zur Erinnerung an Dr. Christian Ernst August Gröbel, 18.
 Boeckel, Hermann Köchly: Ein Bild seines Lebens und seiner Persönlichkeit, 32–33.
 See ad Examen Publicum: diebus III—V. mens. April, A. MDCCCXLIII actumque declamatorium die x. ejusd. Mens. In Gymnasio Dresdensi concelebrandum humanissime et observantissime invitant Rector et magistri—praemissa est armini Koechly de lacunis in Quinto smyrnaeo quaestio. Dresdae, 1843, 38. (This record is kept in the Kreuzschule archives.) Tobler suggests that Karl was greatly influenced by Köchly as the director of his former school. See Douglas F. Tobler, “Karl G. Maeser’s German Background, 1828–1856: The Making of Zion’s Teacher,” BYU Studies 17, no. 2 (1977): 170. However, though Köchly taught at the Kreuzschule until he was elected to the national assembly in February 1849, he was never the director. Gröbel was the director from 1816 to 1848. In 1845, Köchly published a critique of the Gymnasium, and Gröbel published a rejoinder in 1846.
 Hermann August Theodor Köchly, Zur Gymnasialreform: theoretisches und praktisches (Leipzig: Arnoldische Buchhandlung, 1846).
 Arnold Hug, Hermann Köchly (Basel: Schweighauserische Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1878), 17–18.
 Boeckel, Hermann Köchly: Ein Bild seines Lebens und seiner Persönlichkeit, 31.
 Hug, Hermann Köchly, 49.
 Gröbel’s replacement at the Kreuzschule was Julius Ludwig Klee, who served as Rektor from 1848 to 1867. Klee implemented Köchly’s proposed changes (see Blaschke, Dresden, 69–71).
 Hug, Hermann Köchly, 69.
 Ludwig Herman Eberhardt Richter Reichenbach, Der naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht auf Gymnasien (Dresden, 1847), 119–20.
 Karl G. Maeser, “The Old Teacher’s Grave,” Juvenile Instructor, November 15, 1866, 86.
 Maeser, “The Old Teacher’s Grave,” 86.
 Maeser, “The Old Teacher’s Grave,” 86.
 See for example, Frederick Eby and Charles Flinn Arrowood, The Development of Modern Education (New York: Prentice Hall, 1946); Karl A Schleunes, Schooling and Society (New York: St. Martin’s, 1989); Thomas Nipperdey, “Volksschule und Revolution,” in Kurt Kluxen and Wolfgang J. Mommsen, Politische Ideologien und Nationalstaatliche Ordnung (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1968); Friedrich Paulsen, Geschichte des Gelehrten Unterrichts, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1921); and Ellwood Cubberly, Public Education in the United States (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1919).
 Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Address to the German Nation, trans. R. F. Jones & G. H. Turnbull (Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1922), 154.
 Frederick Eby and Charles Flinn Arrowood, The Development of Modern Education, 667.
 Otto claimed that Carl Heinrich Nicolai was the first director, but he was Feigenhauer’s replacement. Christian Traugott Otto, Die Schule und das Schullehrer—Seminar zu Friedrichstadt Dresden von 1785–1835 (Dresden and Leipzig: Aronoldischen Buchhandlung, 1836).
 When he was given charge of the school, Dinter was told, “I’m giving you a gravely ill child. See if you can bring it back to life.” Gustav Dinter, Dinter’s Leben (Neustadt an der Orla: Johann Karl Gottfried Wagner, 1829), 182.
 Henry Barnard says of Dinter, “No avowed Pestalozzian ever labored more devotedly in the spirit, and with the aims and methods of Pestalozzi.” American Journal of Education 7, 287. It should also be noted that Moderow has argued that it would be wrong to call Dinter the Saxon Pestalozzi because Dinter was much more of a practitioner and Pestalozzi more of a theoretician. Though no extant copy can be found, he also claimed that Dinter published a taunting pamphlet against Pestalozzi. Hans-Martin Moderow, Volksschule zwischen Staat und Kirche, 73. If Dinter were a critic of Pestalozzi, it would have been in small details and not in his overarching principles. The practices Dinter introduced into the Teacher College had many more commonalities with Pestalozzi’s ideas than they did differences.
 Dinter published a nine-volume work for training teachers that he named the “Schullehrerbibel” (School Teachers’ Bible).
 After serving as the director of the teachers’ college in Dresden, Dinter took a position in Prussia. American Journal of Education 7 (1859): 153. See also Dinter’s Leben, 243.
 Dinter’s Leben, 184.
 Dinter’s Leben, 184.
 Dinter’s Leben, 192.
 Dinter’s Leben, 193.
 By 1828, thirty-six teacher candidates were supervising four hundred children at their lab school, and between 1830 and 1835 a school for the deaf was added. See Otto, Die Schule und das Schullehrer.
 Gehe, Die Unterrichts—und Erziehungs—Anstalten, 65–66.
 Otto, Die Schule und das Schullehrer, 61. In the winter months it was an hour later.
 Otto, Die Schule und das Schullehrer, 68.
 Life in the Friedrichstadt Teacher College is described very well in R. Herrmann, “Aus den Erinnerungen eines Fünfundachtzigjährigen,” Pädagogische Studien 26 (1905): 385–424. He attended from 1836 to 1839 (p. 398).
 Gehe, Die Unterrichts—und Erziehungs—Anstalten, 68.
 Otto, Die Schule und das Schullehrer, 5.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 130.
 To interpret this word as “pedagogy” would give the impression that it concerns teaching methods or techniques; In German it has much more to do with the theory of education than with the method.
 Herrmann, “Erinnerungen,” 401.
 Herrmann, “Erinnerungen,” 402.
 Dinter was a founder of “rationalistic theology,” but he had such a flamboyant personality that it is hard to imagine that an experience with him was ever “flat.”
 Herrmann, “Errinnerungen,” 403.
 E. A. E. Calinich, Die Bedeutung der Schule in Deutschland (Leipzig: Verlag von Bernh. Tauchnitz, 1844), 41. He develops his ideas about the education of the soul more fully the year after Karl graduates, in Seelenlehre für Lehrer und Erzieher (Dresden: Arnoldische Buchhandlung, 1849).
 Calinich, Die Bedeutung der Schule in Deutschland, 46.
 Herrmann, “Errinnerungen,” 400.
 Ludwig Reichenbach and Herman Eberhardt Richter, Der naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht auf Gymnasien (Dresden: Arnoldische Buchhandlung, 1847), 128.
 Ernst Fischer, Pestalozzi Album (Dresden: G. G. Meinhold und Söhne, 1852).
 Herrmann, “Errinnerungen,” 399.
 See, for example, Amy Brown Lyman, “Karl G. Maeser” (speech given to the BYU Emeritus Club), 1956, LTPSC, MS 1070, 8–9: “We ourselves were required by him to present so-called model lessons, which he would discuss, analyze, criticize, and, when he could give us some commendation, I can hear him say, ‘Do not ask questions that can be answered by yes and no; do not wander away from your subject—no more than two steps aside and then back.”
 See, for example, Rousseau’s most important educational work: Emile, or On Education (1762).
 Roger De Guimps, Pestalozzi: His Life & Work, trans. J. Russell (London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1890), 420.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 128.
 Mann, Seventh Annual Report, 159.
 Gehe, Die Unterrichts—und Erziehungs—Anstalten, 70.
 Christian Traugott Otto, “Seminar Bericht auf des Jahr 1848,” Ministerium des Kultus Dresden, Aktennummer 192, 99a, Staatsarchiv Dresden, Germany.
 Otto, “Seminar Bericht,” 99a.
 Lindeman mentioned that Karl taught the children of an Aristocratic family “Ein sächsischer Schulmeister im MormonenLande,” Die Gartenlaube, no. 48 (1873): 795. An even better source, however, is Der Bote des evangelischen Vereins der Gustav-Adolf-Stiftung, April/May 1850, 91. This magazine documented the efforts of the Gustavus Adolphus Union, which was a financial foundation designed to help support Protestants in non-Protestant areas.
 The family was likely that of Baron Ludwig Rüdt von Collenberg, who came from a line of nobility and had served in government positions in Baden since he had attended the universities of Heidelberg and Göttingen. He had helped clarify the borders between Würtemberg and Baden and had then been sent to Munich as an ambassador. In 1848, because of the March Revolution, he was forced to retire. In 1850, Rüdt was called back into service as the minister of state and, “as a determined advocate of bureaucratic absolutism,” implemented the conservative Reaktion in Baden. The people may have resented his policies, but they were too tired to resist them. Michael Kotulla, Deutsches Verfassungsrecht, 1806–1918, Eine Dokumenten sammlung nebst Einführungen, vol. 1 (Berlin: Springer, 2006), 432.