My Montessori journey began three years ago when I decided to return to work after being a stay-at-home mom for twelve years. Before having children, I spent over a decade as a Museum Educator, where I developed a deep appreciation for hands-on learning and providing students with opportunities to explore subjects they are passionate about. A friend suggested I consider teaching at a Montessori school, believing that my educational philosophy aligned with Montessori principles. After some research, I discovered the Montessori Center for Teacher Development (MCTD) program and decided to apply.

The Start of My Montessori Journey

The first step in the application process was observing a local Montessori school. This initial observation was eye-opening. As soon as I entered, I saw students quietly concentrating on various lessons with gentle and encouraging guidance from their teacher. I was immediately captivated. Although I knew nothing about the Montessori Method at the time, the engagement and happiness of the students convinced me that this was a teaching method worth exploring further.

Enrolling in the MCTD Program

I was thrilled to learn that the MCTD program offered certification to teach children aged 2 ½ to 6 years old. I have always been drawn to the natural curiosity and enthusiasm young children display when given the right learning environment. However, I had many questions and concerns about returning to school. Balancing academic responsibilities with my duties at home seemed daunting. Would I remember how to write a research paper? Could I confidently present lessons in class?

With the support of my family, my cohort of Adult Learners, and the wonderful MCTD staff, I successfully navigated this new chapter in my life. I began the program in the summer of 2017, intending to stay home with my children while completing the Academic Phases, then start working in the fall of 2018 when my Practicum began.

Hands-On Learning and Professional Growth

Plans changed when an opportunity arose, and I was hired as an Assistant Teacher at a local Montessori school in September. Working while taking courses was incredibly beneficial. I could immediately apply what I learned in the MCTD program to real-life classroom settings. My role as an ‘on-staff substitute assistant’ allowed me to observe various classrooms and teaching styles, reinforcing my belief in the effectiveness of hands-on learning.

The Montessori courses during the Academic Phases started with a thorough introduction to Maria Montessori and her innovative didactic materials. Understanding her background and philosophy was crucial to appreciating the Montessori classroom. Reflecting on my early days in the classroom, I realize how much I have learned about Maria Montessori’s approach and its profound impact on children’s education.

Practicum Phase: Deepening My Understanding

During the Practicum Phase, my Supervising Teacher provided endless opportunities to present lessons and develop new ones using Montessori materials. I rediscovered my passion for teaching and eagerly anticipated observing students’ “ah-ha” moments when they independently grasped a lesson they had worked hard on.

The MCTD program offers comprehensive guidance and support, ensuring Adult Learners like myself, who had no prior Montessori experience, can succeed. Beyond professional growth, I have experienced personal growth as well. Juggling numerous responsibilities has forced me to become more organized, procrastinate less, and build confidence both in and out of the classroom. I had forgotten how enjoyable learning could be, and as a Montessori Teacher, the learning never stops for both teachers and students.

Looking Forward

Admittedly, there have been many late nights writing papers and last-minute trips to find materials for lessons. However, looking back, it was all worthwhile. I now know that I have found my calling for the next phase of my career and am excited about what the future holds.

The MCTD program has been instrumental in my journey, and I am grateful for the skills and experiences it has provided. As I continue to grow and learn alongside my students, I am confident that I am prepared to contribute positively to the lives of the young children I teach. If you are considering a career in Montessori education, I highly recommend the MCTD program—it has been a transformative experience for me, both professionally and personally.

Embrace the journey, and you too may find your passion for teaching reignited, just as I have.

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