A good part of my Montessori training was to prepare myself to become a viable and living part of the Montessori environment. We were expected to dress attractively and generally look well groomed. Children love it when you look “pretty.”
Besides our physical preparation, we were taught to observe, mentor and basically be a child’s guardian angel. Most of all we were expected to be flexible when dealing with a child’s needs.
Even though the Montessori environment needs to be clean and orderly, the most important element is the nurturing of each child’s need to grow and learn.
Here is what Miss Child said about the preparation of the teacher.
Another form of training that Dr. Motessori mentioned as giving
qualities helpful to the teacher, is that of the scientist.
The scientist is an observer and practises humility also. He
observes facts, he demonstrates them to others, he does not expect that other
people should believe what he tells them or obey his arbitary rules; he records facts and he can demonstrate them by his experiments. People believe what the scientists tell them, because they know that he only cares to discover the truth. And he discovers the
truth in the phenomena of nature, not from the ideas and theories he makes up himself.
He is objective in his attitude; that is he thinks the
actual happenings outside his are of more importance than his own
Now if the teachers could get this
detached attitude they would not only be more successful at
teaching, but they would find that by
observing the chldren they would be able to
discover a great deal about psychology.
But if they are always busy
teaching they will never discover anything,
so education will not improve.
A third way of preparing oneself to teach is through the
spiritual training of religion.
It is probably only among the members
of Religous Orders that the virtue of humility is admired and
desired as it should be. In fact people today are rather apt to forget
that it is a virtue at all. And it is especially hard for teachers
who are always with children, who know so little, not to fall into
the mistake of feeling that they know everyting and are always
right. The sure preventative of such an attitude is to allow the mind
to dwell on the greatness of God and the wonder of creation. When we
think of the child as a miracle and mystery we shall be more
inclined to wait and watch, than train and teach.
We must teach, it is true,
for our civilisation itself is one of the miracles of nature;
but we must teach in a way prepared to wait patiently like a
servant, to watch carefully like a scientist, and to understand through
love and wonder, like a saint. Nothing less will give real
education.We should not fix our minds with the 3 R’s or any assorted
oddments; our work is to help the development of the soul.
We should also rememeber we are fortunate to have this
contact with young children and remember the mysterious saying:
‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.'”