Maria Speth’s small crew spent months being a fly on the wall in 6B, the class of Dieter Bachmann, a teacher at the Gerhard Büchnerschool in Stadtalendorf, Germany. From hundreds of hours of filming, Speth edited a monumental portrait of a natural educator at work. With endless patience and humor, Herr Bachmann teaches his 12 to 14-year-old students how to live life together. Lessons include lots of music and a little juggling now and again. And if the students get tired, they can just take a break on the sofa.
Herr Bachmann sometimes wonders whether he should be paying a little more attention to German and mathematics. The viewer, totally absorbed in the fascinating microcosm of 6B, has long since realized that what he offers his students is much more important. He encourages self-reflection, has them talk through their conflicts, and teaches them that there are some rules you really have to abide by.
In the meantime, he helps them steadily build their self-confidence. And this is certainly not an unnecessary luxury for these children, who are often vulnerable and largely come from multicultural backgrounds.