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10/01/2002

Reflections From A Montessori Teacher

"Unless their biz is show biz, people who must get phone calls at their restaurant tables shouldn’t be dining publicly." —Malcolm Forbes



REFLECTIONS FROM A MONTESSORI TEACHER


Every year we try to spend some time relaxing at the beach in Cannon Beach, Oregon. At the end of our walk one morning we stopped in at a new coffee and ice cream shop, "Cone 'n Beach". On the wall we found the following letter -- it turns out that the shop owner, Helene Hall operated a Montessori school in our hometown of Redmond for 30 years. 


"Many people have asked how I am feeling as I finish the school year...for a final time. 
I love being a teacher and my discoveries are many.

I learned that the classroom has to be a kind environment.
The first lesson to be learned is to respect each other.

I learned that respect comes from knowing how another person feels
and having empathy when needed and enthusiasm when needed.

I learned the advantage to teaching in a mixed-aged grouping where children come in at 3 years old receiving help and leave at 6 years knowing the importance of giving help.

I learned that children strive to be independent and that
it is usually adult time restrictions that hamper that ability.

I learned that the teacher must be enthusiastic about the subject matter.
It is then that learning will be contagious.

I learned that children love to sing are forgiving of the teacher's voice.

I learned that children can listen for longer than you think.
The conversation needs to be pertinent to them and they need to know
that what they have to say is important to you.

I learned that I am bigger than the children, but I am not a power figure.
My stature in the classroom is a result of my wisdom.

I learned that children need to have predictability, consistency,
and the expectation that they will succeed.

I learned that a teacher should be a child's friend.
To be a friend, you must get to know about the other person and care about them.

I learned the importance of reality-based imagination. 
The more children know about people and places around the world,
animals and plants, the richer their play will be.

I learned that the young child needs a garden area.
The exploration and discoveries made outside are equal to the subject matter inside.

I guess in sharing my discoveries, I have revealed myself.
I hope to keep these lessons in my head and apply them in new situations."



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