Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Worried Me Most as a New Montessori Teacher: Record Keeping

One of the biggest worries I faced as a new Montessori teacher was how to keep track of student lessons and progress. The idea of having 30 lower elementary students all working individually and independently was daunting. How would I make plans? How could I monitor progress? How was I going to keep up with correcting all that individual work?

NAMC montessori teacher with student world map puzzle worries as new teacher

How I handled these common Montessori teacher worries...

I will admit the first few weeks were rough. However, I eventually got the hang of it. I started managing student journals better. I realized that the students needed to be in charge of their own work journals; having a teacher prescribed work plan was NOT Montessori! Even my first year students knew what they needed to work on and what lessons they wanted. Soon, they even learned how to figure out how much time they would need for activities. Some students needed more help and monitoring, and I set aside 5–10 minutes each morning to do that. However, with proper modeling, they all gained independence over their daily and weekly work.

NAMC’s Mastery Checklists were also useful in documenting student progress and planning the next set of lessons. I also quickly realized that if you have self-correcting Montessori materials and works, the teacher does not need to check every piece of work — the students do it themselves! This greatly cut back on the amount of correcting I was doing.

Soon, my students and I had established a routine. They made daily plans in their journal, asking me for help if the needed it. On Fridays, I met with the students individually, reviewing their work journals and asking how they felt about the week. It was also a great time for them to start making plans for the week ahead!
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, June 26, 2012.


  1. Thanks for a great post! I am a Montessori teacher in training, and I worry about exactly the stuff you describe. It's so good to hear how you found a way to manage it! :-)


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