Metamorphosis Elementary School Of Monticello Inc

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

On this Labor Day I have been thinking of people who have labored intensely, in one way or another, to keep Montessori thriving and growing. And I am thrilled that now we not only have computer technology to access information, conduct research, and make the creation of materials a breeze, but also that we are connecting to each other - all around the globe! I could not have imagined this when I began those decades ago.

I've mentioned in earlier posts that I found my way to Montessori as a result of my dissatisfaction with traditional education. It was sheer good luck that I met Rita Young, who was the administrator of Champaign Montessori for 25 years. She invited me in, opened my eyes to a classroom that stunned me, and totally changed the course of my life. She put up with my daily questions when I was enrolled in my St. Nicholas training, and personally instructed me with many of the materials. When I called her, in tears, from Memphis, where I took my examinations, to tell her that I just wasn't ready - I knew I would fail the exams - she gave me no choice, telling me that the feeling was commonplace. She told me that when she took her exams, she drew cylinders, and that her hand looked as if she was ringing a bell because she was so nervous as she tried, shaking, to return each knobbed cylinder into its place. She acknowledged that the exams were completely overwhelming, but that I could do it, and I was to march right back in there. And I did, straight back in to instructors who were serious, stern, and intimidating. When I finished, I was completely exhilarated when I heard my head teacher say to the assistant, "This one's gonna fly!" I've never forgotten that moment.

Over the years I've attempted to attend as many Montessori training workshops as I could possibly fit in, or afford. I've been delighted by the opportunities to keep growing as a Montessori educator, with folks like Celma and Desmond Perry, and now, Anna Perry, and others like Eva Parucci, Karen Riggenbach, Marite Kucinas, David Kahn, Don Czerwinsky, Tim Seldin, and so, so many other great Montessorians. These are dedicated people who often had classroom jobs, but also made time to conduct classes to help others along the path.

And now I think we have what I believe is to be the first real Montessori Movement of my lifetime. We have groups like the Montessori Madmen promoting and teaching nonstop, great websites, blogs, videos that teach teachers, videos that teach parents, books -- all resulting in more publicity for Montessori education. We have this incredible tool called Facebook, with which we can connect with practically every Montessori school on the planet. Talk about sharing resources. Talk about a feeling of solidarity!

With advances in technology, we've come so far from the days of cutting sandpaper to make our own letters and numerals, or from wrestling that exasperating clear Contact paper to laminate, only to end up with a crease or a bubble! We still hear, "What is Montessori?" But we are more prepared than ever to answer that question. We are not just the only evidence-based, scientific method of education in the world. We are a method of education that meets or EXCEEDS every single goal, (and then some,) set by today's experts in the field of education and human development. But today, I want to remember that we are people. Those who carry the torch for Maria, whether we get compensated adequately or not. Those who work endless hours after class, preparing special materials for the group, or even for a specific child. People who use their holidays and weekends to give tours to parents, or set up a booth at a festival to promote Montessori understanding, or teach a workshop to teachers or parents. Dr. Montessori worked tirelessly for children and families. She labored day and night. So many other wonderful people have kept the dream and the hope and the reality alive. They have followed in her footsteps, and I'll bet they have not complained about the hard work.

So my thanks, respect and love to all of my mentors, friends, (around the cool to be able to say that,) and colleagues in Montessori on this Labor Day. I consider my work in Montessori education to be my life's greatest privilege, and I know that many of these folks feel the same. It doesn't feel like work does it guys? That's because it is a genuine Labor of Love.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder to keep pluggin' away... I've been trying to start a Montessori community in my city, trying to get parents with babies to learn more about Montessori, and it's been so difficult! Your post has renewed my energies to keep spreading the word!