The Teacher – part II

  • The elementary teacher should have a conversation with the primary teacher to get as much information about the children that will enter his class. Any information the teacher can give about the children’s interests and strengths will be helpful for the elementary teacher.
  • This can also give the elementary teacher insights on the where about of the children coming up, regarding the curriculum. If there is any lacking, the elementary teacher can plan to augment those areas.
  • Taking into consideration the interests and abilities of the children and any gasps they may have
  • Elementary teacher’s can make detailed plans for each child until they have taken off independently.
  • It is always good to have a flexible plan. The teacher needs to be prepared but has to take in consideration that he may have to abandon his plans, regarding children working from interest on another topic or area.
  • A teacher’s preparation for lessons should include reviewing the album and practicing with the materials so the lessons will be given accurately and with confidence.
  • Elementary children need to have constructive, organized and constructive work. The teacher has to insist that the children come to the understanding that it is important to accept the responsibility for the learning hat is required by the society they are living in.
  • Children in an elementary class are not free to not work
  • All the children who have difficulties in concentration and the ability to work through a whole work cycle need the help of the teacher to achieve those aspects.
  • The elementary teacher should monitor the work in Language and mathematics without overemphasizing these areas.
  • The emphasis should be on challenging aspects. The critical reasoning nature of the mind should be triggered. The teacher should avoid insisting that math has to be done daily.
  • New children should be introduced to the classroom in a way that they feel secure. They need to know where everything is, the material, the bathroom, the kitchen, etc. these are to be drawn out from discussions with the children.
  • On the first day, the children should be given a notebook and introduced to keep record of the work they have done each day. At the beginning they eventually will need some help to get into the routine of writing in their diaries. It will as well show them that the elementary environment is a place to work. To point that out a bit more, a weekly meeting is helpful with every child, individual, to talk about the work they have accomplished.
  • The children need to be introduced to a system how they can store their work and unfinished work. That will give them the opportunity to establish a system for themselves to see what they have done and what they eventually still have to finish.
  • Once the teacher has introduced a variety of lessons, materials, the children who are able to work and choose on their own can work freely. Those who are not working should be given limited choices until they are able to make choices on their own. Children who have no well-established work habits should remain in the teacher’s territory until they have developed greater independence and responsibility.
  • There are some points that should be taken into consideration in planning and evaluating a class
    • The work of the children and how it is to be organized
    • The great lessons are to be used to “open the door”
    • Following the great lessons there is further exploration
    • The public school curriculum is to be consulted as a guide for the requested work of the class
    • The four planes of development and the characteristics of the second plane child guide the way of working in the class
    • Parent education
    • Imagination can only work in freedom. Obstacles such as workbooks, assignments, contracts, schedules are to be avoided
    • The children assume responsibility for keeping a record of their work and planning their work. In consultation with the teacher.
    • The materials in the classroom need to be limited in order to encourage independent exploration by the children. This means that the teacher does not include any unnecessary materials – either purchased or handmade – in the classroom.
    • The children are prepared for “going out” and encouraged to extend their explorations outside of the classroom
    • The teacher teaches a little that is vital and exciting that will spark the imagination and then leave the children free to follow their own interests
    • The task of the teacher is to make the intellect restless

 

      • Take five or ten minutes a day to sit and write down observations in the class. Special attention should be given to the work not done or completed. The teacher will know what lessons have to be presented or focused on again.
      • Use the following questions
  • Are the children free to construct themselves
  • What kind of opportunities am I giving for the operation of the tendencies
  • What opportunities am I giving for the operation of the tendencies
  • How am I helping children to make use of the tendencies
  • Which are not evident and why are they missing
  • Are the psychological characteristics being freed or frustrated
  • How much work is going on in this classroom
  • How long does any one piece of work last
  • How much concentration is there in the work
  • How is the work started (chide initiated or teacher initiated)
  • How am I developing choice
  • Do children go to work immediately when they come into class
  • What is the balance of fulfilling the public school standards while also developing a wider and deeper knowledge
  • Am I working all the time
  • Am I conscious that my role must change consciously depending on the child or group of children I am with (the role changes from being active and giving keys, too being passive when the children can take over)

 

The teacher keeps a daily brief record of the observations and the lessons given that day

  • During the first three weeks the teacher gives lessons almost non-stop
  • A lot of interest shall be awaken and a lot of possibilities shown
  • The teachers responsibility is to give a broad variety of lessons
  • It is the teachers responsibility to make sure children learn specific things
  • The teacher must not wait until a child has mastered a topic. He should continue presenting. Often, the child is able to figure out a way to learn what is necessary.
  • As long as the children are interested in what is presented the teacher usually does not have to concern. These children will continue doing their work. The teacher has to be concerned about those children who do not work.

 

  • Ideas for the first few days of class
    • Especially for new children in the class
      • Introduction to each other and the teacher
      • Introduction to the environment, including the plants and animals
      • Presentation of the great lesson, the god with no hands, on the first day to be give an overview and spark the children’s interest
      • Give word study, compound words, grammar box introductions to small groups
      • Begin remedial work after the first few days
      • Presentation of the great lessons, the story of communication in signs
      • Tell stories animals and their needs
      • Tell history stories centering on an historical person
      • Read poetry and prose aloud
      • Include music, especially rhythm and movement
      • Introduce beginning geometry work

It is important to create the feeling that this class is different from the casa dei bambini. The teacher needs to create excitement and eagerness

  • Ideas for handwork in the early days of the class
    • Designing with metal insets, using the various metal materials in the class
    • Designing with compass and ruler
    • Practice in decorating
    • Making life like drawings of plants and animals
    • Making table mats
    • Making pen wipers
    • Making doilies to go under plants
    • Re-potting plants
    • Arranging flowers
    • Making book markers

The Teacher

There needs to be a profound change in the character of the adult to successfully fulfill the role of a Montessori teacher. The adult has to put aside adjectives like omnipotence, power, authority, pride and vanity.

Another aspect to put aside is the idea that the teacher, the adult can create interest. As an adult you cannot create interest, you can only awaken it and try to keep the interest alive. In other words, the interest arises from within and needs to be fanned, like the flames of a fire, to keep it burning.

Therefore the teacher must keep the ability to observe and to keep an open mind. This means that the teacher has to be able to accept to be proved to be wrong. An idea, a conviction or belief, can now and then proved to be wrong. Than, the adult, the teacher shall take it for granted and see how, where and eventually when, something went ‘wrong’.

It is only with fresh, clear minds that children may be observed as they truly are. This helps the adult, the teacher to respond to the real needs of children rather than to preconceived ideas.

The adult should be able to consciously be ready to change character to be able to serve the child in the appropriate way. When the adult allows to get trained in the technique of observation, there will come a natural help in place; “…the adult feels interest and such interest is the motive power which creates the spirit of the scientist”.

In addition to having the precision of a scientist, the teacher should also posses the spiritual qualities of a saint.

These qualities together bring joy and serenity which characterize the next teacher. When she feels herself, aflame with interest, “seeing” the spiritual phenomena of the child, and experiences a serene joy and an insatiable eagerness in observing them, then she will know that she is “initiated”. Then she will begin to become a “teacher”.”

 (1971, p. 140-141)