The greatest sign of a success for a teacher…is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist. Maria Montessori
I choose this quote of Maria Montessori because, to me, students should work their way to independence. As a future teacher I believe it is my job not to impart random facts for the children/students to memorize but to teach my students how to learn anything they want to learn.
In the early years that includes learning to read, to write, to do math equations and now how to use technology. These are necessary to learn and yes, to be able to function in the world as adults.
However, I also whole heartedly believe that when children are learning what interests them, those necessities take care of themselves, with some coaching or facilitating from the teacher. When children are passionate and interested in the material, they don’t need a teacher standing over them telling them what they should be learning about the topic. Often, they will take the topic they are interested in many different directions, directions the teacher does not have time to delve into or even thought of the connection. I often, think of my oldest son during our homeschooling experience. He was interested in airplanes so being the good mom and dutiful teacher I planned a unit on airplanes. We did that unit, but my son was not content to finish when the planned unit was. I let him continue with airplanes figuring it would fizzle out after a couple of weeks. He was after all reading, writing, making charts. What happened was that this unit took him the whole year. He went down paths I never would have thought of. We started with modern planes and he went to WW I & II aircraft and then into the battles, and countries involved. When he tired of that, he studied birds and compared birds and airplanes. He carried on with his schooling as if I didn’t exist, until he needed a little guidance. He is 29 years old now and he can still tell you most of what he learned that year. What I saw was that his reading levels improved dramatically, his ability to write and make notes increased, and even his math abilities increased. It was, without a doubt in my mind, our most successfully homeschooling year.
As I move through the education classes and learn about the different theories and methods, I always come back to how can I let my students learn what they are passionate about, and still satisfy the quantitative need that schools and parents want. I hope before I am done teaching, I do find away to let my students follow their passion so that they too can learn as if I didn’t exist.