I see children try new things even when they’re scared. I see children who are so proud of their work. I see children who fail, learn from it, and try again! This world is only going to be a better place because of the children and dedicated professionals that I work with every day. That is why I want to become a Montessori guide.
My journey in discovering Montessori education began when I accepted my current role as an Elementary Assistant in November of 2016. I had an interest in becoming a teacher, so I wanted to get myself into a school environment to see what it was like. I was brought up primarily through public education and I knew that was a method I didn’t need to see any more of. I was excited to experience something different, and was I experiencing something different!
Growing up, I could not wait to be an adult. I craved the independence that was not available to me in public school where my choices were so limited. At Mountain Shadows, it has been really exciting to see these children who are SO capable. They take initiative, they feel confident addressing issues with others, and are able to not only recognize, but cater to their own needs. Their ability to be independent is inspiring. It’s everything I wanted as a child – so I want to make sure I can offer this opportunity to as many children as possible.
I remember my first moments seeing the Lower Elementary classroom. Its decorations were not anything I had seen before. There was a personal touch to it. No cheesy signs that said anything like “Math is Fun!” existed on the walls. A sign like that didn’t seem necessary because the materials on the shelf actually said it instead! Then I experienced my first day with the children. They blew me away – and continue to do so. What caught my attention was how polite and friendly they were. I noticed the class guide, Brenda, was friendly, patient and understanding. I later learned more about the lens Montessori teachers are trained to look at children through. This is a lens of understanding and not judging a child based on past behaviors, rather looking at them and figuring out a way to meet them where they are in that moment. Not labeling a child’s behavior as “good” or “bad” but understanding that they are trying to meet their needs and might not have the skill set to do so in an appropriate and sustainable way.
The skills children learn here also make me want to become a Montessori guide. Learning is focused on a child’s interest and need. School isn’t just one big knowledge pill that they’re forced to swallow everyday. Students are excited to come to school. They are involved and passionate about their work. I had a student once tell me “this is fun and hard – at the same time!” It makes me sad to think that kids at traditional schools are completing worksheets in the hopes that they will enjoy it and carry the experience with them through a lifetime. The materials on our shelves actually provide that. Children manipulate the items and carry the knowledge to other classrooms where our guides continue to build on their understanding of it. The more connections you are able to make, the better able you are to embody a lesson. Some of the Montessori lessons span over the course of years! How could you forget something like that?
School should be fun and exciting. It should be a place for children to grow socially, emotionally, and academically. School should also be challenging, but most importantly it should be done in such a way that benefits the child. I see it work. I see children try new things even when they’re scared. I see children who are so proud of their work. I see children who fail, learn from it, and try again! This world is only going to be a better place because of the children and dedicated people that I work with everyday. And that is why I want to become a Montessori guide.
by Jessica Bayers, Elementary Assistant