Best Part of My Job
One of the best parts of my job is going out to visit our interns. My colleagues and I observe them several times during the year during full mornings of their teaching. We have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with them and with their lead teachers. I just returned from a trip visiting interns in another state. It is such a joy to spend a morning with our interns and with some of our nation’s beautiful three-, four- and five-year-old children!
We discuss the joys and the concerns of being in a Montessori classroom and how the rubber meets the road, so to speak. We discuss the difficulty, the subtlety and the sublimity of learning how to apply each facet of the amazing and wondrous philosophy and practice from Maria Montessori. The reality sets in that before long, they will soon be responsible for the early education and well-being of an entire classroom of children. I see so many happy faces, still faces, engaged faces… and I am honored to be a guest in these classrooms.
Montessori training is very personal
The most interesting details of students’ lives come to the fore. I learn more about each student. I learn about their spouses and their children and they learn about mine. I learn about the children in their classrooms and how much they love our reading materials, and I share how much passion we have for helping America’s children learn to read. I learn what the Age of Montessori MACTE Accredited certification course means to these adult learners and they learn what it means to me to be their instructor and mentor.
I learn about the internal changes many of the students experience as they work their way through the teacher education program. I try to make sure they realize they are not alone in their doubts and fears, their rejoicings and their feelings of inadequacy at the size of the job and the responsibilities that being a Montessori teacher entail. I reassure them that we have all been there, and sometimes I even share my own experience of sitting in my car and weeping before I went into a classroom to give my first group presentation. I was terrified! That was 45 years ago, and now I present lessons to any child anywhere, and give presentations to hundreds and sometimes thousands at venues around the world. There is hope!
Meaning of community
Communication has to be both ways. I had a friend who once said that community means “come ye into unity.” And communication means “come ye into unity in action.” Wow! I love that idea. Whether in a marriage, a friendship or as co-teachers, we have to be able to communicate and begin to try to comprehend the other person’s point of view to be able to truly understand. With the children we teach, we need to learn to observe and hear both what they are saying and what their behavior communicates.
Students are finding their way
I have had students tell me that in Montessori they have found the path they have been looking for, over many years and sometimes decades. I hear heart-warming stories of children they have been able to help and heart-rending stories of children they cannot seem to reach. A student recently told me how much it meant to her to meet me after seeing so many videotapes and webinars with me. I told her it couldn’t mean any more to her than it did to me, to meet her!
So many way to make Montessori work!
I have the opportunity to see so many different environments and schools that have so much heart even if they may be a little short on materials. I see schools which seem to be absolutely perfect in every way and I see school where our interns are struggling to meet the requirements each day because their lead teachers don’t really believe in giving children free choice and have things highly programmed. When I see folks who really love Montessori, and they are trying to make it work in their particular circumstance, I rejoice! As with everything else in life, there is not just one way to do it right!
Those of us who parent children and teach children are all in this together. I have wanted to write a regular blog for some time, but life has been very busy. Getting Age of Montessori’s early childhood and elementary courses up and running and accredited through the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), writing our monthly newsletter “The Heart of Montessori,” writing my book, Nurturing Your Child’s Inner Life, delivering webinars, course residencies across the US and Australia, as well as visiting interns have taken up the bulk of my time.
And now, I am going to be posting regular blogs. I will publish them every Tuesday. I hope you join me and let your friends know!