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You are about to graduate from the UMA Teacher Certification Program. What are you immediate plans and goals? Well yeah!!! I am going to graduate from UMA Teacher Certification Program and my plans are to further study for Elementary Teaching Certificate and am enrolled with The College of New Jersey for summer course 2010 in Bangkok and from March 1st 2010 I have taken up for my 3 credit courses in Thomas Edison State College, beginning with English. It is a busy schedule for me for a year and a half and my goal is to achieve my target to be a recognized international teacher. Apart from that, my immediate plan is to apply here in international schools to work as a pre-school teacher and end my career working as teaching assistant.
What are your long-range plans and goals?
My husband's job is transferable and I have to follow him wherever he is been put up and my long term goals are to get settled as a teacher especially for 3 to 4 year old in international schools or even in India. Internationally recognizable is more beneficial because I want to be different from my mom and my other family members who are teachers in local schools in India. Right now in china, I do have a lot of scope to work as Montessori teacher and I will start applying in different schools after I receive my UMA certificate, so am anticipating it with great anxiety. My goals are to nurture each child's desire to learn by himself, learn steadiness, teamwork, encourage positive feelings about oneself and help a child in developing his/her social skills, expressive growth and physical management.
How has the Montessori training experience changed your views, outlook, and/or life in general?
Montessori studies do have a great impact on my personal behavior and attitude towards children. I have learned how to be patience and loving and caring towards children. I feel myself being prepared spiritually and I do experience these changes in my classroom here where I allow my children free choice with limits. I observe them and try to find out how much they have been upgraded being in class since the day one. I plan a lot of stuffs for each and every child to make them work independently. My dressing style has changed a lot. I used to be a Disney fan and wear a character t -shirt and now I have changed to simple and sober clothes. I place activities on the tables in one corner of my classroom and observe how children perform it and how they take interest in it though I work in a traditional pre-school. I do take these activities during center time and observe children and their joy into learning the activity. I can provide a well prepared environment that meets the developmental need of a child. I can help each child realize his/her potential and nurture a life long love for learning in a child.
What do you believe are your strengths as a Montessorian?
My strengths are patience and friendliness. I am very organized and have a passion for learning. I am creative and love art and music. I am a good communicator and above all I love children a lot. As a Montessorian, I can exhibit my strength in having a thorough knowledge in each activity and show interest in every child through a detailed observation.
What do you believe are your weaknesses as a Montessorian?
I personally donâ€™t find any weakness in me as such but am a strict teacher and much disciplined person in my life. I would love things to be in the right place and love a clean and neat environment. My greatest weakness is running towards perfection. I love everything to be perfect and also expect everyone near me to be perfect as well. Also I would think that a child should understand when taught once about a topic and should not make us teachers repeat things again and again. I sometimes get on my nerves when things have to be repeated many times to the same child like writing the letters neatly on a 4 lines sheet. My stern looks at times which I think I need to stop and try to be lenient.
What aspect of the program do you consider to be the most significant in your personal estimation? Why?
The most significant aspect of the program was the Skype calls because my doubts were all cleared so very clearly and patiently and I really liked the amount of dedication it was through my tutor Trudy, which can never be forgotten. Initially I was scared of a Skype call to clear doubts, but it was a great way to learn online and clear doubts and mistakes. I appreciate the efforts taken by my tutor to simplify all my doubts in a short span of chat and very clearly and precisely. Also my evaluations were never harsh or badly evaluated Evaluations were always fair and encouraging in all aspects. Encouraging words were always used that motivated me to dedicate myself to study calmly and now finishing my course on time.
Other than having the physical hands-on experience with the materials, do you feel that you are prepared to be an affective Montessori teacher? Why or why not?
I am prepared to consider myself as an affective Montessori teacher because I know the basics of what are the qualities and roles of a Montessori teacher and I am anxious to use my potentials for having my own classroom with Montessori materials and then watch the children perform the activities and observe the environment as an eye of a teacher, because till now I have been observing as a Montessori student. I am confident that I can be a better teacher and am willing to learn more and this can be done by experiencing the Montessori environment and so I would love to work as a Montessori teacher if I get a chance to.
What final comments do you have for UMA?
Thanks. My expectations were exceeded. UMA definitely did so much for me, I can say it helped me get where I am now. UMA nurtured me with so many strengths and taught me so many new things to brighten my future and foresee a new world in front of me. I appreciate UMAâ€™s reputation for academic excellence and educational integrity. UMA provided a flexible and high quality learning opportunity. My tutor was very friendly, helpful and approachable. She was very good, considerate, and sort of shepherded me through my whole course. UMA provided Montessori lessons that provided applicable experience and education. I could work in my own space and pace. I could manage work, home and studies. The education I received from UMA was worth my time and money.
How do you foresee UMA being a continued benefit to you in the future?
Finishing my Montessori Certificate is like a tremendous leg up for me in terms of marketability. The online studying experience was pleasant and enlightening. I feel validated. I feel qualified. UMA fostered me with a bright career which am sure is going to be very beneficial in my career. The experience was very fulfilling and has given me a lot of strength and a lot more self-esteem. I feel am a step ahead in my career academically and professionally.