Here are three ways to be the best teacher you can be, even if your classroom is closed.
As a teacher, do you relish your school breaks? Or do you spend them missing your students and wondering what you’re going to do with yourself and all that time off?
It can be a little of both for me. So when schools started closing and open dates started getting pushed back, I had to think about how to spend this time intentionally.
(To fill you in if you’re reading this at a later date, I wrote this in the midst of the 2020 COVID 19 pandemic. Schools are closed around the world.)
For those of you still teaching, but online, I’m cheering you on.
And for all you Primary teachers out there whose efforts just got abruptly cut short, this is for you.
Take Time to Recharge
Teaching is hard work, and, like it or not, you just got a little break. Whatever your other obligations may be, try to take some of this time away from the classroom to recharge.
And by recharge, I don’t mean tackle your to-do list.
While you might find time for that too, it doesn’t count as recharging. (At least not for me.)
- Swap your travel mug for a pretty mug and enjoy your morning coffee/tea/chaga on the couch, in comfy clothes.
- Go for a long walk. Or a short walk. I’ve been walking pretty much every day, and it’s amazing. Where I live, there aren’t too many others out walking, but you might want to time your walks to avoid larger crowds.
- Read a book for fun.
- Go sensorial. It’s good for us too! Baking, gardening, bird watching, playing an instrument…
Revisit Your Training
“Stay close to your training.” I used to hear this a lot, and when I started putting it into practice, I understood why. It’s amazing how many little things that seemed so important during training I forgot just a few days into real life teaching.
When I started writing my weekly newsletter, I began reading a chapter per week of The Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori. Though I had read it before, I was reminded of important aspects of the method, and new things stood out to me as well. This was just what I needed to help keep me close to my training.
After you get good and recharged, this time away from the classroom could be great for revisiting and reflecting on your training.
- Choose a favorite or frequently-given lesson and review it in your training manual. How do your notes line up with they way you typically give this lesson? Is there anything you can practice to make the lesson even more effective?
- Go over your observation notes. What’s been working? What hasn’t? Take some time to brainstorm ideas for struggling students, or to reflect on how much growth has happened.
- Re-read, or read for the first time, Maria Montessori’s books. I’d start with The Absorbent Mind or The Discovery of the Child. Read with a pen in hand to underline and double underline new gems as they pop out. If you’d like, you can join our free book club of Montessorians across the globe. Each week in my newsletter, I focus on one or two pieces of wisdom from Maria’s books as we go through a chapter a week. Join us here!
Continue Your Education
There is always more to learn, and more to understand.
Did you know there is a wealth of quality education online, courtesy of Montessori masters such as Dr. Silvia Dubuvoy? Most of it is available for free.
Go deeper into the concepts of Freedom and Obedience, or into the connection between Montessori and Neuroscience, in these free videos.
I hope these ideas help you stay positive during these days away from school.
And I’d love to hear from you.
How is this time going for you? Any thoughts, tips, or stories that could help or inspire other teachers? Drop a comment below.
~ Jean Marie