Many of you are familiar with aspects of Montessori philosophy such as:
- Sense of order
- Need for repetition
- Development of self-discipline through work
…and so on.
How often have we discussed the spiritual preparation of the teacher in the same context?
We are all striving day after day, year after year to enrich the little souls at our school or at home.
Have we ever stopped to delve deeper into ourselves?
Have we attempted to discover our inner spirit and taken efforts to prepare ourselves as educators?
Maria Montessori emphasized ‘The spiritual preparation of the teacher’ during her lectures and talks. She said that:
- Study alone would not prepare teachers for the mission of education.
- Teachers have to rightly prepare for this task.
How then, we, as educators can prepare ourselves for this journey?
Here are some pointers that could help you to get started.
1. Systematically and periodically study yourself
- Start by keeping a journal to write your actions during the week
- Reflect on those actions: what did you do? How can you improve?
- Use your reflections to plan
- Try to eliminate or work on those actions that have a negative impact on children.
2. See yourself through another’s eyes
Think about …
- How does my co-teacher or my administrator approach me?
- Is there something in me that inhibits the action of people around me?
By asking these questions, we discover our own weaknesses before uncovering the child’s’.
3. Remember its okay to have faults and weaknesses
By this, we become open to suggestions and guidance and that will help us to become effective teachers.
If we consider ourselves perfect or keep seeking perfection, we may often be clouded and misunderstand the child.
4. Reflect upon child’s dilemma
If we are angry or too proud to accept our weakness and if the same reflects in our actions, it is the child who is affected.
For example, when you shout or raise your voice against a child, the child feels suppressed to express himself or herself. This will lead to negatively impact the child’s behavior.
Always think of the receiver of your actions – the child!
5. Stay humble
Staying humble will open you up to learning new things.
By humble, it also means we strive against our deep-rooted prejudices and assumptions and adapt to the existing environment.
If we have certain strong beliefs and assumptions and do not let them go, can we truly understand the child?
6. Be self-aware
Through daily practices, mindfulness, meditative or otherwise, be aware of your own self, your actions and your thoughts.
This not only lets you be present in the moment but also makes you sensitive to the people and surroundings around you. Being self-aware helps you slow down and observe children with calm and composure.
I would like to end this article with a quote by Maria Montessori for reflection by all of us.
“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.”
(Aarthi is currently pursuing her Masters in Montessori Integrative Learning from The Institute of Educational Studies, Endicott College, USA. She is enthusiastic and passionate about the Montessori method and aspires to go beyond and extend it into holistic and integrative learning for children and teachers alike. )
The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori