What's it like to be a Montessori teacher?

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by amyinohio, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. amyinohio

    amyinohio New Member

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    Mar 16, 2010

    Hi everyone. I am in the process of a career change to a Montessori teacher. I look forward to learning more about the materials and the thought behind the method in my classes, but what I'm also curious about is what it's really like to be a Montessori teacher.

    I've read several a life-in-the-day type stories about "traditional" teachers, but I have no idea how they relate to Montessori. I also am coming from a traditional desk job and am trying to see what I'm in for.

    A few questions to start off, and please add anything you think is pertinent that I may have missed.

    *Is the paperwork comparable to "traditional" teaching? I hear this as a major gripe about teaching in general. (I am looking at teaching 3-6 or 6-9, if that helps.)
    *Related to that, what kind of prep work do you have to do outside of class time? How much time does that take?
    *Do you get any breaks during the day, or is it go, go, go from the time the students come in until they leave? (I'm pretty sure I will have to give up my afternoon cup of tea!)
    *I am correct in thinking that your days off are pretty much limited to school holidays? Perhaps funerals and the like would be exceptions, but for the most part, you are there everyday the school is open, correct? What happens when a teacher is sick? In a class with two teachers, would the remaining teacher just pick up the slack? What about a class with only one teacher? (I am assuming Montessori substitute teachers do not exist...)
    *What's it like to be limited to traveling when everyone is out of school? A pain? Crowded? (My traveling is not extensive, but I do like the perks of being able to go places while everyone's in school.)

    I realize these are minor, picky issues, and they will not determine whether I become a teacher or not. I just want to make sure I am prepared for the differences as I change from one work culture to another.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. mtiroly

    mtiroly Rookie

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    Mar 16, 2010

    You should definitely observe in some Montessori schools before you begin training if you have not already. The perspective on learning (and teaching) is just so different from that of the traditional school. And then talk to the teachers afterwards if you can.

    I would say there is much more prep as a Montessori teacher, especially in the beginning. Montessori classrooms utilize a "prepared environment" that requires extra time and attention outside of school day hours. Like other teachers though, I think the longer you teach, the more efficiently you learn to use your time.

    Many of the answers to your other questions differ greatly between private and public Montessori schools. Public schools will give you a definite lunch break, private schools may each have their own way of settling breaks. You may be surprised to learn there are Montessori subs around. And more likely, people who have volunteered to be on sub lists for Montessori schools. I worked at a Montessori charter school for several years, and our parent volunteers were often helpful during absences. All schools have their own system, but their teacher/student ratios have to be within state defined limits. So you should never have to manage a classroom of 20 3-6 year olds by yourself.

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. amyinohio

    amyinohio New Member

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    Mar 17, 2010

    Thanks, Mtiroly. I guess I thought things were a little more standardized than it seems like they are.

    I have observed several Montessori classrooms as my son will start in 3-6 this fall. I guess the differences I've seen there should have tipped me off that every school handles things its own way.

    I am in the process of applying to get my MEd. and take the GRE this Friday!
     
  5. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Mar 17, 2010

    Are you going to go to Xavier by any chance? I'm also in Ohio an got my M.Ed. in Montessori from there. If you don't want to post it here, pm me. I teach at a Montessori school here in Cincinnati and would be happy to help.

    I agree with mtiroly, though. It depends upon the school. The private school where I work provides prep time during the school day for changing materials, etc. It's never enough time, but at least it's a start. Some schools have you be with children for 8 hours a day and then change materials on your own time. It depends upon the school.
     
  6. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2010

    I have just recently completed my 1st Interview for a position at a Montessori School. A little on my background I have my Bachelors in Early Childhood Educ BK/license. But for the past 2yrs I have been an assistant in a Prek classroom.

    Although I enjoyed the public school setting I'm much more hands on and I'm ready to grow and learn a lot more as a teacher.

    The school does provide the training and everything for me to recieve my Montessori Certification. SO my question is, what am I in for as far as workload and coming in to teach in a Montessori school? (certification and class routines, the prek/kindergarten combination classes etc.)
     
  7. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2010

    I think the workload depends upon he school. Honestly, though, I'm surprised a Montessori school would interview and hire someone without montessori training, unless it's for an assistants position.

    To teach, you need either AMS or AMI certification, which requires an 18 month training course and a year long internship in a classroom.

    As far as work in the classroom, the montessori philosophy is all about a "prepared environment" so most of your work is done when the children are not in the classroom. When you're with children, you're with children and not putting works together and things like that.

    Iv'e been teaching in a montessori school for for 24 years now and can't imagine doing it any other way.
     
  8. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2010

    Yes I have been visiting the site for about a week now and decided to join... even visited the blogs so I'm thoroughly impressed and excited about the loads of information that I see shared here.

    Well I'm not hired yet, I find out tomorrow. I do have my BK license and she spent a lengthy amount of time talking with the Lead Teacher that I worked with. I know that the workload would be great, but I would get trained throughout the school year and incorporate it as i learn it. But I can completely understand where you are coming from.

    I visited the classroom and saw the rooms and I feel like this is the place that I need to be. I did spend a summer working in a montessori classroom... so the prepared environment I love because you do spend so much more time with the children...

    Another question is... how do you incorporate the Kindergarten Standards with the Montessori Philosophy? How do you blend the 2 together to meet both goals?
     
  9. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2010

    You basically have to take the Montessori materials and fit them into the standards. We had to make a correlative document at our school about 7 years ago so the state knew what to look for.

    I wouldn't worry about the kids meeting the standards, though. Most of our kids, barring any sort of learning disability, far exceed kindergarten standards. In fact, most of our 4 yr olds meet the kindergarten standards in January of the year before their kindergarden year.

    If you feel inside that this is right for you and you've had some experience already, you sort of know what you're getting yourself into. And, if you know this is what you want, you'll more than likely be very successful. I've seen many people who can use the materials and "talk the talk" if you will, but don't really incorporate the philosophy with the children, and that's essential if it's to be done correctly.

    Good luck and let us know how the interview goes.
     
  10. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2010

    Thanks I will certainly keep you posted. I have already had the interview and my references have already been called. Basically waiting to hear back from her.. hopefully tomorrow. Then there will be a second round of interviews where I will meet with the team I will be working with.

    Yes I feel that this is right in my soul... and I know that sounds very deep.. but I honestly do. It's a smaller school and it seems to be like a family environment where I can truly grow, learn and prosper as a teacher.

    This has been very informative and I appreciate your speedy responses!
     
  11. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jun 28, 2010

    Anytime!
     
  12. Pattypoo

    Pattypoo Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2010

    Being a Montessori teacher is wonderful! The difficult part is dealing with administrators and politics. As with everything in life.
     

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