The Life of a Primary Trainer in Training

by Michelle Becka

About one and a half years ago, I began the journey to become an AMI Primary Trainer. I had been teaching children in the Casa for the past 17 years, and I was still enjoying being in their presence, appreciating their happy and joyful energy. While working with the children, I continued to learn new things each day, particularly with regards to my spiritual self, but I had begun to long for a deeper intellectual challenge. 

Michelle acts as a student during a lesson from trainer, Ginni Sackett

Michelle acts as a student during a lesson from trainer, Ginni Sackett

Enter Training of Trainers! This journey has been such an amazing opportunity to explore Dr. Montessori’s work from a new perspective, to revisit topics that I had been putting into practice for years, but now with the intention of going deeper. The first year in Training of Trainers, one is expected to re-sit the entire course, and I was fortunate enough to have Ginni Sackett and Sarah Werner Andrews as my teachers! It was fascinating to see all of the lessons I had been showing to children over the years, but to see them again as if I were a brand new student. I learned a lot, I saw some techniques that were new to me, and I felt familiar and comfortable with the majority of the presentations. 

Alongside the practical experience of seeing presentations on the materials, I was also invited to begin writing the papers that are required for Training of Trainers, as well as creating my Trainer’s Albums. The Training of Trainers Program requires a great deal of writing on a variety of theory topics, as well as on the practical topics of how to give certain lessons. Thus far, I have been astounded at the depth of Montessori’s intelligence, and the thoroughness of her observations. Revisiting her work now, after years of classroom experience, is such a great pleasure. I understand so much more, I see so many details and nuances reading her words now, shades and distinctions that I didn’t pick up on when I first read her, or even upon later reading as a teacher during the course of my career. 

I am now in my second year of Training of Trainers, and I am continuing to work on writing the required papers and on refining my Trainer’s Albums. Under Ginni’s guidance, I am presenting portions of the curriculum to the students, reading and assessing their work, and overall being a part of the Pedagogical Primary Team here at MNW.

It is an amazing journey, and MNW is incredibly supportive of me as I learn and grow on this path of becoming a Trainer. It is a highly collaborative and functional place to work. I am surrounded by lots of extremely intelligent people who are all working towards one goal: to further Montessori education for all. I am extremely happy to be doing this work, and excited to imagine the day when I am a fully recognized Trainer here at Montessori Northwest.


Michelle Becka graduated from MNW in 1997 with a primary diploma, and also has a M.Ed. from Loyola. After 17 years as a Primary Guide, she is absolutely thrilled to be pursuing the Training of Trainers Programme at MNW. Michelle loves practicing yoga, riding her bike, reading great books, and learning new things.

Posted on January 27, 2016 and filed under From MNW Staff, Graduates, Primary.