The role of a teacher in a Montessori classroom is played by a fully trained Montessori directress. The Montessori directress usually has the qualification of a normal teacher but she also has the qualification of a one year teacher education diploma. The directress is a guide for the children during the process of self-development. She makes the child comfortable with the environment and helps the child to discover ways of survival in any particular environment. The directress should be a calm, intelligent and helpful person to set a good example for the children.
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The Montessori Directress is a teacher, who guides the children towards the path that leads them to self-awareness and maturity. She not only provides them the academic knowledge but also teaches them about the world and how to work effectively in the everyday life. The Montessori Directress is more of an observer than a teacher that allows the child to learn and develop on his or her own instead of interfering in every issue. (Asrani, 2009)
Characteristic of a Directress
The Montessori directress should have the characteristic of a good teacher to make the children admire and trust her as a person who leads them to the path of success.
The Montessori directress should be trained in performs different roles at the same time have the observation of every child to know. She should about their needs and to understand their learning style. She should then set the Montessori environment according to the learning style of the children to help them feel comfortable. She must have knowledge in particular fields like philosophy, child development and psychology. She should have excellent working and social skills, for maintaining a good working relationship with other teachers as well as the parents. At the same time, she must not let go of her self-respect and needs. The physically characteristics of the directress like her appearance, her voice and her dressing style should be a source of inspiration for the children.
The Montessori directress should be a good observer. She should have an awareness of the likes and dislikes of the children, their attitude towards other people and comfort level in a particular environment. She should be observant enough to know how the child handles different tasks and what are the activities or skills that the child is expert at. The directress should motivate the child towards a skill that he or she is good at. She should look for the strengths and weaknesses of the child to guide him or her towards the right path.
The directress should be aware of the classroom environment and should make sure that the children are comfortable in the class atmosphere. She should be careful about the layout of the classroom that the child should not get hurt by any object or there should not be anything as a source of disturbance for the child. The directress should be aware of all the activities of the children in the classroom. She should be careful that there is no place for the child to hide or disappear in the classroom. Very important characteristics of a good directress in that she should record everything she observes and later on take guidance from these notes for dealing with the children.
The word directress is used for the Montessori teacher because the role of the teacher is to direct the child towards the educational path. She guides the child towards the right path and then leaves the child to explore it and learn from his or her experience. She creates an environment in the class to help the child understand about his or her goals and how to accomplish them. She plans innovative activities for the child to make the process of learning adventurous for the child. She serves as guidance for the child for how to have self-control and develop good behavior. (Conventry, 2012)
Role of Montessori Directress
There are some specific roles that the Montessori Directress has to play as a teacher. Some of the roles performed by the Directress include:
The Montessori Directress acts as a link between the children and the environment. She helps them get accomplished with their surrounding and adapt to the changes in the environment.
A directress is an interpreter and an observer of the moves of the children. By observing the attitude, behavior of the child she understands his or her needs.
She experiments by assigning different tasks to the children and judges them from the results derived from the tasks.
The directress acts as a manager. She prepares and manages the environment by keeping it in perfect condition.
She acts as an evaluator by evaluating the environment and its effects on the children. She also evaluates the progress of the children.
She gives respect and protection to the children. She gives the child space to make his or her own decisions. She sets her own limitations and work according to them.
The directress offers support, affection and warmth to the children and provides complete security to them.
She encourages the child to communicate with other children and provides the progress report of the child to the parents.
She provides the children with clear and relevant lessons to make them follow her instructions.
The directress acts as a trend- setter of the children by exhibiting grace and good manner and respects.
She teaches the children how to cope with their anger and resolve their conflicts without getting violent and aggressive.
Dr.Montessori believed that the directress should focus more on the child rather than the daily lessons. She must be aware about the changes taking place in the behavior, attitude, interest and progress of the children. (Burke, 1996)
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Personal Preparation and Development of the Montessori Directress
The spiritual preparation of a directress is more important than the academic training. It is necessary for the directress to educate themselves about the normal behavior. It is essential for the directress to deal with her own limitations and drawbacks before interacting with the children as the children can easily identify these negative characteristics of the teacher.
The technically training of the directress is also very important. The directress should have full knowledge of the development stages of the child so that she could understand the needs of the child. The part of the technical training of the directress is to control word errors, using minimum words during lesson, making firm rules and maintaining the interest of the students.
The Montessori directress should also have scientific training. The directress should observe the children and environment and make notes of these observations that help while working with the children. Observing the child helps to better understand his or her state of mind and makes it easier to deal with him or her. (Irinyi, 2010)
One of the major differences between a Montessori Directress and a traditional teacher is the level of trust that the Montessori directress has in the developmental capabilities of the children. It is much easier for a teacher to tell the child to do what she says rather than put her faith in the child and let him or her choose his or her own path. Nevertheless, the Montessori directress do keep track of the direction that the child is taking and guides him or her throughout his or her journey to success. This is what makes a Montessori directress special for the child.
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