In Praise of Montessori Teachers: Artists, Alchemists and Advocates
When we speak of the fabric of our society, no one besides a child's family has the power and potential to transform a child's life like a teacher does. Teachers perform the essential role of weaving together social mores, cultural practices and multiple ways of understanding to create a tapestry that tells our story. This work is an ever-expanding creation, made newly rich and complex as each one of us - students all - contributes our experiences and perspectives.
Montessori teachers are artists. They express their love for life and living through the content that they teach - in both the method and materials they share. In an ever increasing search to meet the needs of each child, they transform the classroom environment and the content they study so that everyone might have a personal and meaningful relationship with learning.
Montessori teachers are alchemists. They constantly balance the needs of one child with the needs of another; they cater to each individual, in service of all. Throughout the day, opportunities are made available, and prescriptions are given. In each action resides the scaffolding for more and more complex educational options. Their compass is the warmth and growing light of excitement which we all feel when working with passion and delight.
Montessori teachers are advocates. They greet children with their hearts before they do so with their minds. To move too quickly, to rush head-long into the delivery of content, is to create a space where the teacher is merely performing - dispensing information, regardless of its relevance to or resonance with the children. They work to know both the head and heart of each child. This connection allows for the deep and purposeful exploration of our universe, powered by a trust and faith in each other.
A Montessori teacher's work, and the work of their students, is not static or passive. Rather, theirs is a rich and vibrant world, one where originality and creativity put young thinkers on the edge of new understandings. They are champions of joy and engagement.