Bliss Despite My Mistakes

Is there anything greater than looking up from what you are doing, and seeing the entire classroom of children quietly working on independent projects? Today was one of those very perfect days. No one needed to be asked to work, no massive social disruptions…just gears turning and thoughts crunching away!  There were several children writing stories, a few Movable Alphabets being done, a duo working on the 100’s board, some Geometric Cabinet lessons, and some quiet puzzle work. Really beautiful to see everything so seamless and quiet! I’ve been a bit passive with my camera lately, and I realize this is pretty boring with no pictures, so I will fix this ASAP.

And now, a confession. I caught myself doing something bad during a lesson the other day. Worst part is, I caught myself doing it several times throughout the day after that too! I have this horrible habit of correcting small things on the child’s work while they are working. In my mind, I justify it by saying that I’m trying to maximize their success, but I realized this is actually impeding them! With one child doing the Bow Tying frame, I kept moving the bow one row up while the child was tying the next bow. In my head, I was thinking “It’s pretty confusing that this bow is blocking some of their view, I’ll just move it.” Of course as soon as I did that, I realized “Oh, now she’s watching my hand instead. Crud.” I can’t believe I did it again later too with a completely different work…I feel like such a failure at Montessori. Watching a child do the Color Matching tablets, I see some aren’t lined up just right and instead of letting the child correct it for himself, I moved it. What’s funny, is I found that at the split second I went to move something into line, or into the correct order, the child makes a move to do it themselves. In that second, I went from thinking how helpful I was feeling, to feeling guilty for not trusting the child to do it independently. I know better now, and I’m making a conscious effort to let them do it alone. Part of their exploration of the materials is learning placement / trial and error. Montessori works are so well designed that the child has the ultimate level of success provided the lesson was given correctly. My interference with the child’s concentration is not optimal for them to see the dynamics of the activity. It’s a lesson learned for myself, for sure. Perhaps after demonstrating the lesson, I should try sitting on my hands to ensure I won’t fidget with their work! 🙂


5 thoughts on “Bliss Despite My Mistakes

  1. I too struggle with the urge to correct the children while they work. You are right, it does impede their learning. It is hard sometimes not to reach in, and yet, if we step back and let them figure it out they learn so much more. I like your suggestion of sitting on your hands, I think I will have to try that too!

  2. We had “Sit on your hands” written on our white board for a while. One day one of the better readers in the room read it and asked why he had to sit on his hands. I explained it was to stop the teachers from interrupting children at work and he went away and made cardboard notices saying “Child at work. Teachers sit on your hands”! Children still use those signs when they want to work something out without help.

  3. Where was it I saw the quote about teaching children: it’s the way adults learn. We have to practoce to learn things too. Keep working on it. 😉

    On a side note, this is one thing I’ve learned from Montessori that has helped me in dealing with adults too, especially my husband. I try to think twice before interfering in something he’s doing or pointing out some little mistake, and decide whether I really need to say or do it. It helps!

  4. Alright, you guys are making me feel better about doing this, haha. I’m glad I’m not the only one! That cracks me up, Annicles, that your children chose to do that. Actually listening to the children around us is very useful – If I forget sometimes where a child is on a lesson, they’re often the ones to remind me. “Miss Nena, I’ve done this before.”

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