Saturday, July 26, 2008

I got a job!

Beginning on August 26, I will be an assistant teacher in a pre-primary/kindergarten classroom at a local Montessori school. Since I moved to Chicago in October, I have been working through a temp agency, doing office work that I turn out not to be very suited for. In addition to being an assistant teacher during the mornings, I will teach a few short sessions of Spanish language to kindergarteners each week as a head teacher. Since this still leaves me with an 80% time job, I'm hoping to fill out the rest of my annual income teaching voice lessons and getting jazz gigs with my piano-playing friend from college who's moved here to go to CTS with David.

Needless to say, I am very, very excited about this wonderful new development in my life here in Chicago. No longer will I commute 2 hours a day back and forth from office jobs which range from "just fine" to "depressing". I will bike 10-15 minutes to work, interact with children, speak Spanish, and develop my skills teaching and performing music. I feel very grateful and look forward to the coming year.

Here are some edited-down highlights from the Wikipedia article on the Montessori method:

"In the elementary, middle, and upper school years, Montessori schools ideally adhere to the three-year age range of pupils to encourage an interactive social and learning environment. This system allows flexibility in learning pace and allowing older children to become teachers by sharing what they have learned."

"The premises of a Montessori approach to teaching and learning include the following:
* That children are capable of self-directed learning.
* That it is critically important for the teacher to be an "observer" of the child instead of a lecturer.
* That there are numerous "sensitive periods" of development (periods of a few months or even weeks), during which skills are learned effortlessly and joyfully.
* That the school room environment is prepared to encourage independence by giving students the tools and responsibility to manage its upkeep.
* That children learn through discovery... Through the use of specifically designed toys, blocks, sets of letters, science experiments, etc., children learn to instinctually correct their own mistakes instead of rely on a teacher to give them the correct answer.
* That children most often learn alone during periods of intense concentration. During these self-chosen and spontaneous periods, the child is not to be interrupted by the teacher.
* That children must actually touch the shapes, letters, temperatures, etc. that they are learning about."

In Nicaragua, children were often yelled at or smacked. I am really looking forward to working in an environment where children are treated with respect and spoken to calmly.

1 comment:

cbroadwe said...

I'm glad, Rachael! This is what I have hoped for you.