I still remember the warm May afternoon when I completed my elementary training. I sat with my 10 or 11 fellow trainees, knowing I was about to take on the leadership of a well-established classroom. I was filled with thoughts of “Am I ready?”
We’d had incredible training. My guides through Montessori elementary had been mostly Bergamo-trained. They had imparted the details of the curriculum, how to carefully present the lessons, to anticipate the challenges of managing follow-up and errant students, and the value of inspiration. I felt our philosophy courses had been interwoven into the curriculum presentations, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of why we did things the way we did in Montessori.
I’d apprenticed at the school where I’d be leading a class of 9-12-year-olds, starting nearly five years before, first as a “specials” teacher, then as an assistant for a few years while I was in training. I’d been given positive feedback about my ability to relate to the students and my mentors felt that being a parent had prepared me for understanding the realities of child development.
But was I really ready to step into the role of lead teacher, responsible for the education of nearly 50 students, with a new co-teacher who’d been out of the classroom for a few years?
Truthfully, I can’t say. But I did it; we did it. Through trial and error…lots of those…we grew our program to meet the needs of the students who came before us.
Reflecting on the journey from “fresh-out-of-training” to “I’ve got this!”, I can see that the steps I took throughout those 30+ years had two key ingredients: A passion to learn and the resilience to keep learning, exactly the “thing” we want to impart to our students.
I can honestly say that even after all these years, I wake up with a fervor about this work that may be even stronger than it was in 1989 when I sat in our “graduation.” I know that, just like the students in my classes, the flames of learning have been fanned by a host of mentors, guides, inspired speakers, and children who have accompanied me on this journey.
Now, my work is to be a helpmate for you…the Montessorian who can use a bit of advice, a story to keep you going when times are tough (and goodness knows times have been unspeakably tough the last nine months!) or providing a community of like-minded Montessorians who want to contribute to the future of humanity by guiding the children of the present.
Are you ready? I suspect so. I know what you’ve been through to finish that certification and I’ve probably experienced something like what you’ll go through.
So, for the next few weeks, I’ve mapped out some key ingredients to help you in your journey. I hope they will help you feel ready and confident so you can wake up each day ready to stay on the path to “I’ve got this!”, because you do!