The Spiritual Preparation of the Montessori Teacher
The curriculum and the philosophy of Montessori are both based on her careful observation of individuals. As she watched the children develop and explore their environment she brought essentials in to the environment that would support their natural development. This action clearly supports her theory that entering a classroom and guiding a child in their development as a whole person means the teacher must be well prepared. The teachers personal preparation and commitment to the students and their paths is extremely important. Maria Montessori was the ultimate example of careful observation, preparation and honoring the spirit of the child. But, as anyone who has participated in a Montessori training program can attest to, that preparation is necessary of any Montessori teacher.
“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 the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character, it is a preparation of the spirit.” (The Absorbent Mind)
According to Montessori, to work effectively with children, we must tear out our most deeply rooted defects, especially those that would hinder our relations with our children. In true humility we must look at ourselves to identify our strengths as well as our weaknesses.
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I feel a great desire to share my own understanding of the deep and ongoing preparation that our teachers commit to in order to be present and attentive to our children. First of all, this preparation requires a moral preparation as well as a spiritual preparation. In an effort to model appropriate behavior and interactions, they must be non-judgemental and able to see a situation from many angles. A Montessori teacher is required to observe the children and attune to their needs while she acts as a natural part of their environment and presents lessons in such a way that she entices each child, each day, and in each area. Her depth of understanding the emotional status of each child must be sharp. Her ability to assess, during her presentations, what a child is understanding must be present at all times. There is no space in a classroom for judgement or prejudices.
As you know, ours is a program which teaches many practical skills. Therefore, assessing the needs of the children on a daily basis is a necessity in being prepared to follow their needs. They must let go of anger and pride as they step into the classroom each day. They learn to model peaceful conflict resolution and learn to sit on and meditate with decisions in an effort to be fair and constructive. They learn to trust the process and see even the slightest change in their students.
My experience has been, and continues to be, that these wonderful people who are drawn to the philosophy of Montessori have a special gift. Sending love and appreciation to the amazing teachers here at Montessori Community School. Your dedication to Montessori, our children, and your own personal growth does not go unnoticed or under-appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you.