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A Traditional Teacher’s Reflection on the Montessori Way

It is hard to believe that four weeks have now passed with the students in the Upper Elementary classroom. Being relatively new to the island, I find it so interesting that whenever I speak to any teacher friends back in England, they are far more interested in what life is like teaching in a Montessori classroom, as opposed to how I am actually settling into my new life on the island.

Having been a traditional teacher for fifteen years, I thought it would be insightful for parents to read some of my thoughts and reflections on the Montessori Upper Elementary environment so far. I may have referred to some of these in our recent Parent Orientation meeting, so apologies to any parents if I am repeating anything.

The Montessori way of teaching allows more time to work closely alongside each individual child. Even in the very short time in which I have had the privilege of working with the children here at MBTS, I already feel as if I know each individual student more thoroughly than what I have experienced previously in a classroom. The general format of having shorter lessons, which prove to be just the right amount of time for students to gain clear insight into key objectives, combined with allowing them the time to capture and apply this understanding to their independent follow-up work enables the students to have more ownership over their studies and strengthens their retention of the key information. Working with small groups and the work cycle each afternoon allow much more vital time as a teacher to identify any areas that each student needs to further develop and strengthen, creating a more “bespoke” learning program and productive learning environment.

The classroom and resources had me captured since my first day, and this is clearly the case for the children. Being able to choose and engage with any resources they feel will help support them further is fascinating to observe. This further develops their independence and resilience. With honesty being one of the key mantras of the room, the students work in harmony with each other. With a clear moral compass each student has plenty of opportunities to reflect and use this to help guide himself or herself – and each other – throughout the day. This is especially apparent in our Friday council meetings, which is a fabulous way to end our week. The students’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn is admirable and certainly helps inspire me further as a teacher. Allowing them to choose what they would like to study provides me with a further insight into their interests, and helps shape my teaching ideas as we go.

All of these elements of the classroom help to create a positive sense of community, and the partnership with parents is pivotal in its success. It is certainly a vibrant community, and I am thoroughly enjoying being a part of it.

– Ms. Sarah comes to MBTS from England, where she taught for over a decade, first at the primary primary level and then at the middle school level as Head of Year. From an early age, she always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Ms. Sarah is delighted to be a part of the Upper Elementary team and to be working with the children and families of MBTS. 

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