What makes a good Montessori teacher? Is it years of training? The gift of being a “child whisperer”? Is it dedication?
Lately I’ve been obsessing over this. My classroom is going very well – smoother lately now than it has since I’ve taken over. There’s been a few changes around the school, and in the classroom as well, but I think the biggest change I made that is helping everything along is with myself – I’m learning to relax. That’s a very difficult thing to do! I want to be up to date on childcare techniques, I think constantly about the flow of the day and what I can do to make it easier, I want each child to move on to the next lesson as soon as possible. All of this sparked that terrible downward spiral in me of not being good enough. I was starting to spend nearly all of my time at home working on things for school, which made me sad because I had things at home that I wanted to do too.
Then I thought about it in depth. The kids will not be completely ruined by waiting a day or two for that next lesson. How about the Assistants help with some of the prep work? Why exactly can’t this work wait to be put in the cabinet until tomorrow morning? I spent the two week vacation over the holidays teaching myself to relax. How silly, to have to practice something that should come naturally to me. I read books – many books. I played board games with my husband. We even took a Vacation out of town and spent some time away from home. Previously the thought of vacation was more stressful than worth it. “I can’t take time off, I haven’t made the new board for the room!” or “I don’t have time to read right now, this needs another coat of paint.” I made time for me. I think it was long overdue, because how can we really be there for our children every day if we aren’t there for ourselves first?