I was recently observed by my Field Supervising teacher as a requirement for my Montessori training class. As nerve-wracking as my first Observation was, I learned A TON from it. I’ve focused for a long time on the major things I’ve been changing in order to be a great teacher, but this visit gave me the opportunity to examine the small things.
- Positioning when talking to a child
I’m sure many people have heard that kneeling to talk to a child is better than leaning over to talk to them. It’s about respecting the child by giving them the opportunity to look you in the eye. You’re showing them that what they say matters to you by being on their level. I try to do this often, but I do notice I don’t do it if the child is seated.
- Eye Contact
This goes along with your positioning when you’re responding to the child. I try to always look people in the eyes when they are speaking to me, and I notice this is something that seems to be less prevalent as I meet people in life. It’s sometimes quite hard for me to focus on what someone is saying unless I’m looking directly at them. As a part of Grace and Courtesy in the classroom I try to always turn to the child and look at them while answering their question. I’ve noticed that if I am not looking at the child and answer their question without making eye contact, they don’t seem to realize I’m speaking to them. Perhaps children actually NEED to have eye contact to successfully communicate?
- Tone of Voice
There are those times when you know you’re at the point where you need a few moments alone, but that won’t always happen. It’s hard to remain cool and composed at this level. When I feel myself getting upset, I try to step back for a moment and think “How would I want someone to talk to me right now?” It’s hard sometimes. However I have noticed I’m getting better at not carrying my attitude towards a different child. Little steps!
I am finally starting to see the product of an independent child. I’ve been in the same classroom now for going on 3 years, so I’ve seen the full cycle of several children coming into our classroom and leaving at 6 years old. What a wondrous and beautiful change it is! From the 3 year old who needed lessons on everything in their reach to the 6 year old working independently for hours at a time making fully colored and labeled World Map. Every little step of independence we give these children leads to a magnificently self-confident child. It’s very tempting sometimes to constantly assist the youngest children in the class because they’re making a large mess, or not doing something in the most efficient manner. However if we don’t interfere and instead let the child see things on their own, they blossom into self-aware and self-confident children.
Of course knowing that you’re being watched causes you to focus on your every move. “Did I use my left hand instead of my right hand? ” I found myself turning to see if she was watching me sometimes to find that of course, she was. I want to do as great as I am capable! No more silly mistakes! “Oh man I should have knelt down with that child. ” Being a teacher is a work in progress – what a ride!
Have a Happy Halloween!