Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Having Your Own Child in Your Montessori Environment

namc montessori having your own child in your classroom mother and son sitting

I became a Montessori teacher when my son was in the lower elementary environment. It was wonderful because we were able to go to work together each day. He would then go to his class and I would go to the upper elementary class in which I was teaching. I knew his teachers and knew he was in a safe and loving environment. Then, one day, one of my upper elementary parents came to me and said “What are you going to do when your son is in your upper elementary classroom next year?”

Being Your Child’s Teacher - The Transition from Montessori Parent

Having your own child in your Montessori classroom often presents its own unique set of challenges and concerns. Parents of other children may wonder if you can remain objective while you may worry if you will be too hard on your own child.

The key to having your own child in your classroom is to have clear and defined roles. My son and I discussed our roles and expectations before he began in the upper elementary classroom, and we agreed that he could call me Mom instead of Miss Michelle. Just as being a mom and a teacher were the roles I had, he too, was son and student. It was actually fun to watch him make that transition each day. He would help in my classroom before school, but once school started, he was with his friends and doing his work.

I thought that I may find it hard to discipline him in a balanced and objective manner. As a mom, I have certain expectations of his behavior and academics. Like all children, he pushed the limits to see how much he could get away with. He soon realized that if he came to lessons without his work, I would ask him redo it, just as I would any other child in class. If he was chatting with his friends or unfocused, I would ask him to make better choices, at times having to separate him and his friends.

It was tough at times when I knew he could do better, try harder, or choose more difficult work, but as I did with the rest of my students, I trusted that he would come into his own as he gained confidence. All I could do was follow his lead and present those lessons that were most interesting and appropriate for him. Being a Montessori mom and teacher allowed me to respect his need for independence and individuality.

As time went by, the parents in my room saw that my son was treated the same as the other students. He was held to the same standards and there was no favoritism. His friends knew that they received no special treatment from me either.

namc montessori having your own child in your classroom mother and son hugging

I can honestly say being my son’s teacher was one of my greatest joys. I experienced first-hand his excitement and enthusiasm for learning. I watched him grow and mature over the years. And being at school together with him strengthened our family bond. It was a very sad time for me when it came time for him to transition to the next level. Although we were still in the same school (and he still stopped by for the occasional hug), I missed having him with me all day. My son will graduate from high school this year and I am happy to reflect on his education knowing that I, too, was one of his teachers.
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, November 26, 2013.


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