Thoughts from Montessori teachers on Common Worries...
I was most worried that the children might be able to smell fear! All jokes aside, when I began assisting I had volunteered in a Montessori classroom only a handful of times, so that was my only real point of reference. I was definitely very nervous, and my biggest concern was providing the little people in my care with the best foundation possible. I was also very concerned with developing a respectful, communicative, and amiable relationship with my lead teacher, and making sure that I was a help to her rather than a hindrance. Other worries were remembering to apply all of the many Montessori principles and fundamentals that I had worked so hard to learn and understand, and staying calm and acting appropriately in the face of all those little unexpected classroom conflicts and mishaps.
When I was a new Montessori teacher, my greatest concern was being instrumental in helping the children in my charge become the happiest and most respected citizens they could be. Montessori teachers do much more than fill a child’s mind as if it were an empty vessel, for “it is the child who makes the man.” With these iconic words of Dr. Montessori’s in mind, I considered the essential ways I could be a great and influential Montessori teacher. These are the principles I found most valuable:
• Be as kind, loving, patient, and non-judgmental as possible. Be, at all times, the very person you hope the child will one day become.
• Be passionate about what you teach. If you are not an excited learner and teacher, how can you expect the children to be excited learners?
• Understand very clearly why you teach. If it is because you love children and the art (it is an art) of Montessori teaching, you will do well.
• Be a bit of a mystery. Kind, calm, and enigmatic teachers have the greatest potential to inspire.
How did you feel when you were a new Montessori teacher? What concerns did you have? We invite you to share your stories and experiences.