Today I thought I would share with you about my professional experience. Indeed, I am a teacher, a French teacher, an elementary teacher, an all-level teacher and I will always be a student, student of life, for better teaching skills, for understanding children and the human being a little better through each interaction I make inside or outside the classroom.
And also, I am passionate about what I do. So far, everyday has been a new experience and I always learn something and you know what? I love it!
I was a teacher before I could even be a certified teacher. I remember doing my homework in my mother’s classroom, in France, after class on the chalkboard, talking to my imaginary students (the empty chairs and desks in front of me); I also remember, later on, going to help her students who had difficulties with reading and writing. Years later, I became an elementary teacher myself and loved it (I even liked the hard days, the ones when parents question everything because they are looking for answers and guilt-free advice, the ones when a bipolar child threw a chair at me and then could not remember doing it…) I LOVED IT ALL and you know why ? Because I learned something every time, I am a passionate student teacher as well, because we always learn, everyday, in our classroom.
When I arrived in Canada in 2006-2007, there were many differences in the school system so it took me a few years to understand what was going on. But overall, the conventional system (bilingual or not) is the same here as it was in France: overloaded classrooms, lack of funding for teaching support and so on. It is frustrating!
And then, in 2012, I had the amazing opportunity to be hired in a Montessori school for children aged 3 to 6 years old. I was amazed at the possibility to even set foot in such a classroom with such an educational philosophy, a quite old philosophy brought by Dr Maria Montessori. Like a lot of people, I had heard about it, about her, but it seemed far from what I could do. Honestly, I just did not fully know what it was about. And since then, I have been amazed and I cannot stop searching and reading about it.
For 2 years, I was the French teacher and Montessori assistant in this school and I learned so much it is hard to describe. I also chose during my second year there, to write my Master professional thesis on how to teach French the Montessori way, to reach this goal, I spent most of that year making French material based on what I was observing and what was around me in the classroom. I learned a lot from my Montessori fellow teachers and the importance of being Montessori trained became like an obvious step on my career path.
Now that I am a mother myself, I also seek the importance of Montessori education for my own child(ren). My husband and I are opening a Montessori home daycare as I am going to take my AMI (Association Montessori International) Training at the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia.
For you to understand and maybe discover what Montessori education is about, here is a guideline I am making and that will change over time as I learn more about it and get my training:
- Happiness of the child
- Independence of the child
- Mixed age group or classroom (3 to 6 years old /6 to 9 years old / 9 to 12 years old/ 12 to 15 years old/ 15 to 18 years old)
- Freedom of movement in the classroom or house
- Instruction through a choice of activities within a range of options instead of a direct group instruction.
- Child choice of activity to play and work
- Adult does not interrupt the child/student ‘s work unless help is absolutely needed
- Specialized material developed by Maria Montessori or a certified Montessori teacher
- Respect of sensitive periods through observation of the child’s development (order, language, movement, senses, numbers, manners and courtesies, justice and moral, abstract use of imagination, science or how the world works …)
The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say,
’The children are now working as if I did not exist.’
Maria Montessori –
This list could be longer and is made for Montessori classrooms. Even if you are a parent and not a Montessori teacher, you can choose to raise your child with some of those principles at home. A lot of young parents set up their home, spaces for their child following Montessori ‘s ideas of education. Myself, I followed an online class with Simone Davies from the Montessori Notebook in order to understand and help me set up my space at home to have a Montessori space ready for our child. I am also currently reading Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three by Lillard, it is quite heavy to read but it gives you what you need; I would also read How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin, I would probably start with this one as it is easier to go through for those of you discovering Montessori.
EDIT: I have now finished my training and I am a fully certified Montessori and Early Childhood Educator. I learned a lot in the past year and I am looking forward to keep on learning as I spend time with children and parents. I am the luckiest woman ! We also decided to move back to Nova Scotia and open an in-home Montessori Preschool for children 2.5-6 years old. Best decision ever !