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Do you like being a Montessori teacher?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have recently left my job. I am quite happy not working for the time being but pretty soon, I have to decide what to do to earn some money. I think my career as a lawyer is done. It was fun in my twenties and early thirties but I don't travel anymore and frankly, sitting behind a desk looking at loan agreements does not interest me.

Early childhood education has always interested me so I have thought about pursuing something along that line. When I proposed this to my DH, he said something along the lines of "YOU, a KINDERGARTEN TEACHER? In a class of THIRTY KIDS? Forget it! You're too intellectual, you would be bored, it's not enough money, it's not enough status... blah blah blah". My brother has said basically the same thing to me. And my friends are all surprised that someone like me would want to hang out with small children all day (although none has seen me with small children except of course with my daughter). But basically, I don't want desk job any more and when I think of what interests me, apart from nutrition and midwifery, it is early childhood education (and it interested me a lot even pre-baby so no, not just a baby thing).

So, I am just wondering, Montessori teachers out there, do any of you find it boring being in a classroom with kids? Is someone with 2 university degrees (political science and law) going to to be bored in this environment? And what about studying it? I have seen those big binders of studies that AMI students have to prepare (there is a term of art for them but I forget what it is). It looks really hard. Is it super tedious? Did you find it all really interesting or what is just the means to an end? I guess I am thinking that it is perhaps entirely possible that I love the intellectual study of the subject but actually doing it could be an entirely different matter.

One more thing, I am assuming that the money is terrible but do you find the hours to be pretty good?
post #2 of 6
I am absolutely inspired and fulfilled working in Montessori. I also have a few other degrees and have always been an "intellectual" (read: bookworm). I have a degree in Anthropology and Education as well. The Montessori training from AMI is intellectually stimulating and also creatively fulfilling in many ways. It is a master's level program (need undergrad. degree to enroll) so you have to have good time management and organizational skills. The mornings are for lectures, afternoons for practice with materials and then you go home to write up presentations which are submitted weekly. It's important to have thorough and complete albums because this is what will guide your work in the years to come. Of course, it is important to keep up to date by attending "refresher courses" (long weekend) and by networking with other directresses.
Now for the practical aspects of being in the Children's House. It takes some time of trial and error and learning from your mistakes, like any fine art, the more you practice, the better you get. I was primary directress in an All-day children's house before giving birth, afterwards, I switched with my co-directress and am now her assistant. I can't tell you how anxious I am to get back to presenting and working directly with the children and the materials. It is also great fun setting up the environment. You can get creative with offering new lessons (esp in Prac. Life). It is a challenging and intellectually stimulating career because of the discipline needed to put the theory into practice. Caroline, I can see by your posts that you have a pretty good handle on some of the theoretical issues already.
The money is not the reason we go into this career, but it's livable. When you see the excitement and joy the children have in their work, it makes it all worthwhile. It's anything but boring (you won't have time to be bored). With your interest in nutrition and midwifery, you might be interested in the Assistants to Infancy level training. It is great to have time off at holidays and summer break to spend one on one with your children, so in this regard, it is the perfect option for moms. Good luck and keep us posted!
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply, Lilliana. It's very helpful. It sounds like you love what you do. I think that when people think kindergarten teacher, they are thinking classic schoolroom with 30 screaming kids and don't really see any intellectual side to it.

I have checked in Paris and Institut Superieur Maria Montessori offers AMI training here (in French). If we move to Rome, there is also training but this year they only offer the Assistants to Infancy course (in English), which I am considering taking. It's pretty intensive - September 7 through January 11, Monday through Saturday, 9AM to 4PM!
post #4 of 6
It's funny, I was thinking the only reason I have time to check in with this forum so much is because I am not directress this year. If you think the training is intense, just wait til you are in the classroom. There is always more to do!
I have more to post about the theory when I have more time!
post #5 of 6
CMLPSo, I am just wondering, Montessori teachers out there, do any of you find it boring being in a classroom with kids? You will definately NOT be bored in the classroom. This is not a traditional setting class, so there is always something new to see in your children, as you are following the children and are amazed by their growth. In a traditonal setting the teacher is the "centerstage", in the montessori classroom the children are.
Is someone with 2 university degrees (political science and law) going to to be bored in this environment? Same here, with university degrees. Also I was always knowledgeable about montessori before baby, and was able to pursue getting certified when the course was offered locally, so took the opportunity. The great thing was I am able to apply my degrees in this setting as well. And you will too, as a degreed teacher you have that 'background" of liberal arts, education, training, research, and the growth, confidence and all the benefits of experience in another field that you will be able to bring to the classroom. And also this will be a BIG PLUS for parents.
And what about studying it? I have seen those big binders of studies that AMI students have to prepare (there is a term of art for them but I forget what it is). It looks really hard. Is it super tedious? Did you find it all really interesting or what is just the means to an end? I loved the entire yearlong training. And I took it very seriously, not just trying to make it through, but actually "learning" it. Yes the binders are necessary, you will truly see why at the end of your training, as they are YOUR RESOURCE. I just completed my synthesis project and I a wonderful time doing it. The reading assignments were also good. In fact, I would recommend keeping them organized and ready for future reference. Also as a bookworm, you will devour all of the montessori books as well.
I guess I am thinking that it is perhaps entirely possible that I love the intellectual study of the subject but actually doing it could be an entirely different matter. Yes, if you have an innate love of learning, and believe that you can have different interest at different times in your life, than go for it !! Who says you can't have more than one career ! and you can always go back to a previous one. Take the advantage, have some fun, go for it !!
As for me, I hope to open a school of my own !!! Now that will bring in all of my educational training from over the years.
For you, think of all you can do with a law degree and a teaching degree !!!

Good luck to you, enjoy !!

One more thing, I am assuming that the money is terrible but do you find the hours to be pretty good?[/QUOTE]
post #6 of 6
One of my favorite aspects of the theory is how to balance freedom and responsibility, and believe me, it is a balancing act. This is closely tied to mistakes and their correction. When we leave the child free to act, it means that she alone must be responsible for the consequences of her actions. Each materials is designed and presented so that there is a control of error. This means that it is apparent to the child that an error has been committed and she can work to fix it. This does not mean that we expect mastery right away, it is more of being comfortable with letting the children learn from their mistakes. You cannot control everything the children do, but you have to always work to control your own reaction and what you do to help in the situation. We have to remember that all our actions are guiding the children, especially how we react to disturbing or aggressive behavior.
I have been starting to think of my training more of an "untraining". There are so many prejudices involving children's needs and abilities that need to be unlearned when entering the field of Montessori education. We need to let go of the tendency to correct the child and call attention to their problems. We need to forget about what we think the child should be interested in and observe to discover what is motivating each individual. We need to stop ourselves as we try to take over and do for a child what she can do for herself. This last is probably one of the hardest things to do, watch a child struggle without interrupting or discouraging her by offering to do it for her. Letting the child ask for help when she has exhausted her own practice.
The other aspect to freedom is responsibility (something we don't hear Pres. Bush talking about too often)...with freedom comes the responsibility of considering the needs of others. To me, this is a valuable lesson to pass on to the new generation.
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