Friday, June 20, 2014

becoming a Montessorian pt. 1

  First day of the journey!

Last week i began the Montessori training program at Westminster College. Up to that point everyone at Walden would tell me that it is definitely an intense program but completely worth it. That, along with knowing i had quite the commute ahead, had prepared me for this.


i mean, i only just finished school so i’m still in that mode. And yes, all of that knowledge and schemata has come in handy (APA formatting? Such a pro!). What i wasn’t prepared for was the transformation process.

The Montessori Method is not only an educational theory/philosophy; it’s a way of life. it’s a way of recognizing the spirituality in all things. Everything has purpose, goals, and ways of going about life (sound like Pocahontas?). it begins with the individual’s spiritual preparation by developing patience, control of the will, commitment, and humility. Maria Montessori said, “we have to watch ourselves most carefully. The real preparation for education is a study of one’s self. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than a learning of ideas. It includes the training of character, it is a preparation of the spirit”.

It starts with ‘you’; or rather, with ‘me’. in the Observation course, Paul Epstein questioned, “if we can’t even properly take care of ourselves as adults, how can we be expected to properly care for the development of children?”


Two weeks of theory, cosmic education, and personal care plans came into focus. Obviously, i’m in this program/profession to teach children. i care for children and i want to make a difference. But how can i truly care for these precious spirits, these precious individuals, and help them reach their fullest potentials if i am not in a spiritually healthy mindset myself? if i’m exhausted, cranky, rushed, crammed,…how can i honestly focus on the development of the children entrusted to me?

i can’t.

Thus, knowing oneself - one’s wholeness, being, spirit – is essential in the preparation of the teacher.

This astounded me. Not because i don’t agree with taking time for myself to be whole and healthy, but because I didn’t realize how essential it is in my professional goal. i want to make a difference, change children’s lives for the better, and save the world to the best of my ability.

On the way home from FHE on Monday, the folks in the car got into a discussion about desires to save the world and what that means. According to The Lawyer and Mattycakes, people who say they want to save the world are younger than 25; those older than 25 have moved past this illusion and continued on with their lives.

i listened to the conversation and explanations; all the while thinking inside, “but i AM going to save the world”. it’s not about donning a masked cape to flit through the skies and fight crime. it’s about guiding a child through the sensitive stages of his life; helping him develop self-regulation, concentration, and an overall thirst for knowledge; helping him navigate the societal norms set in place and the politics of the classroom culture. it’s about guiding him to understand who he is in this world; helping him understand that he plays an integral part and the world would be in a sad state without him; guiding him to find where he came from.

Now, you can take these thoughts from the religious perspective of a Mormon teacher. While my religious beliefs do influence these thoughts (there’s no way for them not to), it’s so much more than that. it’s an extension of my beliefs. My thoughts are about the knowledge that i will be playing a vital role in the lives of these children, their children, and their children’s children. Will the children in my classroom thrive? Will they become leaders, inventors, those who push beyond the expected? Well they sure have that potential. Every one of them can be ANYTHING they so choose.

What a great responsibility it is to be the teacher of these children. i’ll admit it’s slightly terrifying. But it's also exhilarating because i know i can succeed in this task; and becoming a Montessorian is a wonderful journey in becoming that teacher. 

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