A little about you:
I'm a former Montessori student and the child of a Montessori teacher, but it wasn't until I returned to my business degree after 8 months out of school as a full time assistant that I ever considered Montessori for myself. I took a number of management classes that stressed the importance of autonomy, feedback, intrinsic motivation, and self-efficacy (a firm belief in one's ability to overcome obstacles and achieve objectives, best developed through experience) for optimal performance and motivation. I recognized these elements as the methods and results of Montessori education and made my decision there.
Describe the course workload:
We created our own reference albums which ended up being a lot more work than I expected and sometimes more than I wanted it to be. But none of the work felt arbitrary. We observed and took notes on presentations, typed our notes, made illustrations to accompany the text and then organized them into albums. In addition to forcing a deeper connection with the material than we would have gained from buying and reading textbooks each of these steps served as preparation for character traits necessary work as a Montessori teacher. .
How well did the course prepare you to be a Montessori teacher?
While the course was great academic preparation for the technical knowledge we need before entering the classroom I feel it comes secondary to what Montessori called "the spiritual preparation of the teacher." In modern language that comes down to separating identity from performance, embracing the call to personal discipline, and cultivating perseverance. Between the workload and the incredible modeling of the staff there are so many opportunities to work on these character traits, which set us up to enter our careers with humility, patience, acceptance, and the knowledge that as long as we keep trying we'll keep growing.
Did you enjoy your training at MNW?
For Montessori children there isn't really a distinction between work and play. They come to the classroom every day and play "division" or "the verb game" and the MNW staff bring that spirit to the training. Plus, we sing. Like, a lot!
What were some unexpected challenges?
I struggled with the illustration requirement, mostly because I wasn't expecting the "attention to detail" requirement to be so literal. There are a lot of details and they all required attention.
What were some unexpected highlights?
The community that developed in our course. There were runs, knitting nights, study parties, group expeditions, a parade, and a musical at graduation. Sort of "brotherhood in the trenches" kinda thing.
Would you recommend this course to others? If so, why?
Unequivocally, the course is both rigorous and supportive which is rare in general but almost unheard of conventional higher education.
Any advice for incoming students?
Buy a printer that uses inexpensive ink, keep a spare cartridge, and either set aside plenty of time for finishing (pagination, headings, page protectors, etc) or do it weekly because that always seemed to be the thing that kept people up the night before a deadline!