Teachers are an essential part of schools. Although current educational thought focuses on the learning, rather than the curriculum, it is the teacher who sets the tone, models the behavior she wants students to exemplify and works to establish the relationships that allow learning to flourish. We can each remember a teacher we loved and perhaps one who was best forgotten. Teachers have a huge influence and impact on the students they see each day.
In Montessori classrooms, the role of the teacher is carefully defined. The teacher prepares the environment for learning to occur. She makes certain that children are able to act independently within the classroom and that they know where materials are kept, how to remove them and the procedures for returning each item to its proper place. The Montessori teacher carefully and thoughtfully observes the children in her care, noting how they move throughout the space and which materials they are drawn to, which they may avoid and how they use them. She knows which lessons will ignite the curiosity and wonder within each child, giving the lessons when the child is ready… not when the curriculum demands.
Perhaps best of all, the Montessori teacher has three years to spend with the children in the classroom. Multi-age classrooms allow the children and the teacher to know and understand one another more fully than can occur in a single-age classroom. Relationships are formed. Though the teacher plays a huge role, influencing children today and well into the future, the wonder of a Montessori classroom is multi-faceted.