3/12/16

10 things that will make you a better parent, teacher, person

I decided that this year I will pay more attention to my personal development that will make me a better teacher and better person in general. Recently I watched a seminar on the spiritual development of a Montessori teacher. It inspired me greatly and was a call to action.
To my mind the development of a teacher or parent  should go in two directions:
1. Professional (learning about materials, presentations, method)
2. Spiritual (understanding yourself, developing yourself)

Can you agree? It can happen that we forget about the second point and concentrate on the first. But they are equal, they are connected. And it is impossible to be a good teacher without working in both directions.

What do you think, what qualities are the main for Montessori a teacher?
To my mind there are a lot of them, to name a few:

  • Knowledge of Montessori method
  • Scientific approach
  • Spirituality
  • Patience
  • Observational skills
  • Organisation
  • Punctuality
  • Activity
  • Knowledge of child psychology
  • Love for order
  • And many others

Every Montessori teacher has these qualities. And they should be used not only in Montessori class. 
We should pay attention to them in everyday life too. We should develop and improve them. 
Look at the qualities, rate them for yourself, understand them, improve them. 
Your list of qualities of a Montessori teacher can be a guide for your own development.


So if your are not satisfied with the level of some of your qualities you need to work on them. We often say that normalisation is very important in Montessori education. We often hear this term concerning children.


But what about a normalisation of the teacher? We can treat it as teacher's preparation for work with children. Before leading child to order, you need to find order in yourself. Before teaching a child to concentrate you need to be able to concentrate yourself.

There are several steps for teacher's normalisation:

Number 1. Get to know and understand yourself

It is an interesting thing, that after finishing educating for a psychologist, this specialist needs to pass at least 350 hours of personal psychotherapy before working with clients. Otherwise, he will not help clients, but he will harm them. He will carry to them his own problems, stereotypes, fears, situations from childhood. Everything he posses inside he will transmit to the client. The same situation happens with a teacher when he works in the class with his own problems.

Also, I think it happened to everyone, when you have a bad mood or something not pleasant occurred, no matter how hard you try but you are working worse than you can.  And children feel it.

To be a good teacher you need to be happy. That is why you need to understand yourself first. You need to be honest with yourself and let go everything you don't need inside.

Number 2. Accept yourself

To accept yourself means to be able to treat yourself without evaluation. We often say that we should not rate and evaluate children, that we should not point at their mistakes because they can see them by themselves. But ask yourself how do you treat your mistakes? Do you often treat them positively?

We often eat ourselves from the inside for our mistakes, wrong actions, sad situations. But we need to understand that this is a part of our life, our development. We would not be at this point now without all these things. So you need to accept yourself as you are today and now.

By accepting yourself you make yourself happier. You treat yourself wonderfully and understand that now you are the best that you can be at this very moment, but your abilities are endless and tomorrow you can be better. Happy people make everyone around them happy. That is why to be a good teacher or parent you need to accept yourself.


Number 3. Walk the path of development

To be able to teach, educate and raise children better you need to try to be better every day. Development is a very interesting process of improving your qualities, knowledge, environment around you. The more you know, the more you are interesting for others, the more the world is interesting for you. Learning about biology, anatomy, psychology, history will help you to understand children better. Because all these things are connected to education.

I created a guide for my spiritual development with small steps that to my mind will improve my life and make me a better person. I want to share them with you, maybe if you want you can join me.

1. Use Montessori principles in everyday life

Even when there are no children around. I always try to do it, but I am not perfect, that is why I have chosen to improve myself and decided to start with bringing more order in my life. I often have order in the classroom but I have a mess at my worktable at home. With all these materials all around (and not only on the table) how can I teach a child to live in order if I personally don't have it?

Of course, it is impossible to have house always clean, it is life and different situations happen. But now I try to do it, because as it with children, I also feel that order in the environment brings me inner order and peace! I just like to see the neat world around me. Good looking space makes me feel better.

So some time ago I made complete cleaning tour at my house. I have thrown out all things that I don't like and that were unnecessary. Want to join me? We can keep it clean together. Write me about your process.

2. Learn one Montessori aspect in a month

To understand the method better I will study different aspects very deeply. There is no rush. Detailed research with making notes that is what I like from time to time.

3. Study personalities of great people

Read biographies of famous people, such as teachers, researchers, developers and scientists. Study their qualities and characters. It will inspire you, give you strength. You will see what they were doing to reach their dreams. You will notice the instruments they were using in their work. You will definitely find something interesting for yourself.

This month I am going to read about Margareth Mead. I recently understood that one of her quotes is my ever favourite but I know nothing about this person. So it would be very interesting to know more about her.

The second person that I want to read about is Yulia Faussek (1863-1943). She is Russian scientist and teacher, who was one of the first using Montessori method in Russia. She wrote a lot of amazing works and developed Montessori materials for learning Russian language.

The last person on my list for March is Ayn Rand. She is one of my favourite writers. I know she had a difficult life and I want to know more about her path.


4. Use special technique for reading

This technique will help you to train your concentration, get deeper knowledge and understanding, help you to study better and to remember information better, Also, it will help you to use received information right away.

This technique can be used for reading any genre of books, but I will use it only for educational books. Because to my mind, there should be time for study and deep research and time for rest and just reading for pleasure.

After reading every chapter or part of the book you need to answer 3 questions:

- What have I understood?
- How will I use it?
- Whom will I share it with?

You should write the answer down in some notebook, this way it works better. You need to share your knowledge with several people. By sharing information you rethink it and understand it fully.

5. Have a notebook

It is very good to have a notebook for making notes from books, articles, posts, courses. If you will only read or hear it I guarantee you will forget it. By writing it down you analyze and rethink information. You will remember it better.

I am reading a lot of blogs every day and many of them have very precious info. I am often amazed by the content, but unfortunately, I can't remember now something from my mind.

I have several notebooks. I like making notes. Writing it down makes be happier. I like using different pens and stationary. One of my notebooks is for quotes from fiction books, songs and movies. I write down the quotes that make sense to me. I then like to reread (!) them and recollect some moments from them.

The other notebook is for educational information. I write inside information from educational books, articles, webinars. I would write the info from blogs inside too if I wasn't that lazy probably. I need to change it and find strength to do it. In this book, I note the sources so I can find it later if I need. I often reread it, it inspires me.

6. Take e-course

I wanted to take some e-course long ago, but probably at that time, I was not ready for this. Now spring is influencing me and I feel that I need knowledge. This is something like a hunger for quality information that is inside me. A couple of days ago, I accidentally found this amazing site with lots of amazing courses! They are suggested by universities around the world. I am not yet completely figured out how you receive a certificate, but all is very serious, in some courses you need to make a project in the end or pass some work. Though I am not here for certificates, but for knowledge.

What courses will I take? Oh, there are so many I want to complete starting with architecture finishing psychology, anthropology and genetics. As a teacher, you need to know a lot of things just simply to be able to give children a quality education. You need to be developed in different areas. Also, all sciences about human are connected and to understand the human and child nature better you need to know about it. I decided to start with one of these courses, I still think what to choose:

-Evolution: A course for educators
-Introduction to Behavioral Genetics
-Autism Spectrum Disorder

7. Learn language

Though I was studying English in the institute I want to relearn the whole English grammar all over. Because as long as I don't speak English in everyday life I am starting to forget it. I have also found a wonderful site with rules, and exercises and I am happy to start. If you don't want to study another language improve the knowledge of your own. I need to admit that I don't know all the rules of Ukrainian and Russian and when I have time I will buy some book to be able to fill some gaps.

9. Spend time in nature

Nature brings peace and energy at the same time. It is wonderful to observe beauty. I now live in a bit remote area and every day I need to walk 20 minutes to work. I walk through some park and see wonderful views. Firstly when I moved I didn't like this walk, but now I am grateful for it. It is a wonderful start of the day. I want to change my routines slightly to have 10 extra minutes in the morning to just sit in the park and absorb the beauty.

10. Start a workout

It will help you to be healthy and happy and when you feel better - you work better, you treat others better!

I hope this list will also be useful for you. If you want to join me in the path write me and we can support each other and share our results.

16 comments:

  1. Hi there! Do you know of any e-course or video pertaining to these steps you wrote about? That would be an interested webinar/course.

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    1. Hello Heidi! I was watching the webinar about it, but it was in Russian. If I find some ecourse or webinar about teachers preparation I will definitely announce it and tell everyone about it because it is very interesting for me too!

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  2. This was a timely and such a great article. Things we tend to forget as Montessorians and sometimes adults. Thanks again

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    1. Yes, you are very right. Sometimes we need small reminders that will inspire us to continue our path of development.

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  3. Great article! This is so important to do and as teachers we concentrate so much on our precious children we sometimes forget ourselves. THANK YOU for the great reminder and great article.
    Lisa from Alaska

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    1. Thank you! I am happy you got this inspiration that I was sending with this post!

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  4. I got so much out of this article, Katherine! I've been struggling to nurture myself lately and your ideas really hit home for me! LOVE your blog.

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    1. Thank you very much Carolyn! So good to here this! Keep me with notifications about how you are doing!

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  6. Hi Katherine,
    Thank you so much for your blog, and this interesting article. I like the fact that you are making an effort to grow as a person, life long learning. I try to do this also, but it is good to have a reminder. Blessings to you fellow teacher.
    Marney

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing this article. It is an awesome reminder. A must read every so ofte .

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    1. I am happy you found it worth reading! I will reread it too!

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  8. Thank you Katherine, what a great food for thought! #5 is spot on!

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    1. Thank you very much for having time to read my article!

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  9. Inspiring article, thank you for the inspiring and encouraging words. I ama little bit curious about the quote written by Margareth Mead :-) would you share it with us? Friendly regards from the netherlands

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