Lead teacher, co-teacher, assistant....

Discussion in 'Montessori Archives' started by Pattypoo, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Pattypoo

    Pattypoo Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2006

    Are you the lead teacher, co-teacher, or assistant in the classroom? Have you been one or the other? Have you been all three? What role does the assistant have in your classroom. Does she write conference reports? Does she sit in on parent-conferences? Just curious.
     
  2.  
  3. carriescandles

    carriescandles Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2006

    I have been all three, I was assistant my first year of training and I sat in on everything and gave input ahead of time which was included in the conferences, however, I left questions and direct communication with parents to the Lead Teacher. When I was co-teaching we divided conference forms and then switched and added our comments. We both did the conferences together. We usually both answered questions after speaking about them and agreeing. Some parents had a better relationship with one more so than the other and we just worked with it. As the Lead I handled parents and communications, however with classroom decisions we talked and made those together whenever possible as long as it followed Montessori philosophy. Hope this helps.
     
  4. wendi

    wendi Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2006

    Patti, I've also been all 3. As a first/second year assistant, I wasn't allowed to attend conferences; I was busy cleaning the environment on those days! And my director was also the head teacher, so she handled them herself. As she gained trust in me, I was allowed to "participate," but I would never say anything subjective, even if I totally disagreed with my director! As a co-teacher, I pretty much did what Carrie did sometimes, and other times I actually wrote the reports with my co-teacher. We handled conferences together, but unlike Carrie, we didn't always agree on things (usually non-academic things) beforehand, so we voiced our own perspectives on the subject and simply viewed our conferences as a conversation. This is one of the best pieces of advice I ever got from my director - the parent is the expert on his/her own child, so we don't have to have all the answers! I never saw it as a problem if my co-teacher and I had different points of view on a behavior, situation, etc.
    As a head teacher, however, I did once have an assistant who just didn't get Montessori and sometimes said something at conferences that just wasn't in accordance with Montessori philosophy. (Needless to say, it was a hard year, but anyway...) In these instances, I tried to handle it similarly to what I said above, like there is more than one way to think about it, and that's okay. For instance, when my assistant said something about stopping a child who is repeating an activity several times, I interjected with something like, "It depends on what he's doing, though. If his activity is productive, I won't interrupt it. In fact, Montessori viewed repetition to be a vital part of a child's learning. Sometimes the child returns again and again to the same exercise because he is trying to conquer a skill or figure out how something is working." This way, I didn't have to "correct" my assistant; I just "tweaked" what she had said, and hopefully taught both she and the parent something about the philosophy.
    I did ask my assistants to help in writing the report cards. In my school, we write anecdotal, paragraph-form reports. Mine are often three pages long, and I am not a fast writer (which is why this is the first time I ever wrote in a forum before!) I did all the academic parts of the report, and my assistant did the social part and practical life, since it's the easiest part of the curriculum to teach to an aide. Then I'd edit them, which is easier for me than starting from scratch. This past year, I gathered up my best "practical life sentences" from past report cards, sorted them under headings like "returning child," "needs more fine-motor," "longer exercises," etc. and gave them to my aide before she wrote her reports. She said it was really helpful. In fact, I liked the idea so much, I made one for each area included on the report card, and it did help! Too bad it took me about ten years of writing these report cards to finally figure it out!
    I guess all in all, if you're the head teacher or a co-teacher, and your school doesn't have a steadfast rule about writing reports and giving conferences, I think it depends on with whom you're working. Having had some trouble with one of my previous aides, I'd do it differently next time. I think I'd ask her to listen in during the first set of conferences, maybe even ask her to take notes to be filed or just do other paper work nearby so she can be in earshot but that it wouldn't be too awkward if she didn't contribute to the conversation (I'd have to think about how exactly I'd handle it.) This way, by the second set of conferences, I haven't set the standard that we'll both attend, and I'll have more time to get to know my aide first.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 351 (members: 1, guests: 330, robots: 20)
test