I'm back from my tour of our partner training centers - and as always, I met some fantastic future educators. It is always an honor. I also got asked some great questions - the kind I usually don't have a ready made answer for - but alas after many hours on planes, trains and assorted other modes of conveyance ... I have responses!
1. Is Baltimore OK?
Yes, I can report that Baltimore, Maryland is fine. Baltimore like all urban centers in this country deals with its issues every day. The turmoil which caught up to Baltimore this week has subsided, however the discussion about social justice and inclusion continues - another good sign. I am proud to call Baltimore home and I enjoyed being back on the light rail Monday morning.
2. If you could take one level of Montessori training what would it be?
Since the answer is a personal one, I'll answer it only from my own perspective. I would take A to I training in a heartbeat. I spent 12 years as a Montessori Head of School and I am indebted to the people at the Toronto Montessori Institute who gave me a start. I guess I've always been fascinated with the stages of life where children deal with the most significant changes. Having spent many years working with adolescents I see the obvious parallels to the 0 - 3 age group. Or maybe it's just because my youngest child is 17 and I can now see grandfather-hood not so far on the horizon...
3. What is the best decision you made in your career?
Completing a graduate degree. It multiplied my options ten fold. It has brought me into new areas, taken me around the world and most of all allowed me to apply a different kind of thinking to my outlook as an educator. When I think of the cost and benefit, it was the most rewarding thing I have done as a professional.
4. Do you miss working with children?
I do, although I am enjoying this opportunity at Loyola because I get to teach and advise young teachers and future leaders. The one thing I am most proud of is that in the 23 years I spent in schools, I gave it all my energy every day!
5. What happens to children in a Montessori School that struggle academically?
One of the fundamental things I have noticed in Montessori Schools is that the students who do not instantly ace academics still love school. There is no disenfranchisement. Those who are not academically inclined still feel empowered. They persevere and keep trying because there is no time clock on success; there are so many areas to succeed at and they are all valuable. And the students who are subject matter whiz kids don't feel the stress of having to always be the top of the class. There is no top - it's just your journey. It is the one aspect of a Montessori education that I wish I could bring to all children.