Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Montessori Intern and Master Teacher – A Shared Experience

NAMC Montessori teacher and intern shared experience writing in binder
It is my belief that the thing which we should cultivate in our teachers is more the spirit than the mechanical skill of the scientist; that is, the direction of the preparation should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism.
-Maria Montessori. The Montessori Method. Dover Publications. 2002. pg 9

When I finished my 3-6 Montessori training I was excited about stepping into my new role, that of a loving and respectful guide of young children. Although I had a background in public education, I was relatively new to the Montessori method. I had enjoyed my Montessori training, and was looking forward to my first year as a Montessori educator.

During the interview process, I was pleasantly surprised to receive several job offers. This illustrated to me that Montessori-trained teachers continue to be in great demand, and it highlighted for me the importance of nurturing new Montessori teachers.

One of the tenets of the Montessori approach is a shared community for optimum learning, which applies to Montessori educators as well as their students. The first year of any teaching career is one that is rich with new experiences and learning opportunities. More and more Montessori schools are recognizing the importance of this first year by offering a collaborative approach to professional development whereby the new Montessori teacher is able to hone her/his skills by practicing the Montessori Method and procedures with the guidance and leadership of a more experienced Montessori teacher.

The Montessori Intern and Master Teacher – A Shared Experience

For the purpose of clarity in this blog, I will call the new teacher the intern teacher, and the experienced Montessori the master teacher.

Below are some thoughts on the roles of Montessori intern and master teachers:

Goals of a Montessori Intern Teacher
  • Prepare and maintain a beautiful, developmentally-appropriate classroom environment
  • Serve as a guide between the child and the prepared environment
  • Present Montessori materials and lessons to the children, demonstrating proper Montessori principles such as control of error and isolation of difficulty
  • Provide children with opportunities for choice, decision making, problem solving, independence, and responsibility
  • Plan and implement group activities
  • Effectively communicate with children, parents, staff and administration
  • Work as a team member with staff and administrators
  • Actively observe individual children, analyzing and documenting individual growth and learning, evaluating objectives and helping to prepare professional reports
  • Attend and participate in parent-teacher conferences
  • Actively participate in self-evaluation and shared inquiry with the master teacher
Goals of a Montessori Master Teacher
  • Serve as guide and role model
  • Demonstrate effective classroom procedures
  • Execute proper Montessori practices and techniques
  • Collaborate with intern in regards to planning and implementation of lessons
  • Model instruction in both individual and group settings
  • Meet on a daily and weekly basis with the intern with a view to preparation and assessment
  • Support the intern, encouraging problem-solving techniques
  • Provide growth opportunities as needed
  • Share classroom duties and responsibilities
  • Provide for the intern’s ‘basic needs’: a place to store her Montessori albums and materials, effective communication, extra practice time
  • Provide positive, constructive feedback, both informally and formally
In the spirit of this shared practice and guidance, the intern gains experience and demonstrates increased competency as a Montessori teacher. In turn, the master teacher is exposed to a “fresh” perspective on the Montessori approach, which often reinforces her/his commitment to the work and its rewards. Based on the principal that teachers learn best when supported by other teachers, the Montessori master teacher and intern explore the world of Montessori education together, with the continual goal being a deeper understanding and mastery of the Montessori Method and materials, and a more confident and inspired approach to enriching the curriculum with shared ideas and experiences. NAMC's Classroom Guides provide teachers with guidance on classroom management, the role of the teacher, and much more.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, July 14, 2009.

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