The Preparation of the Teacher: A Ramble on Pancakes & Smiles

I am a very lucky person.  Day and night, I'm surrounded by beautiful, creative, energetic children.  I teach at a Montessori School, and work with my own children with Montessori Principles and Materials.  It is a lot of work, and a careful balance.  I realize that I do have to take care of my own needs, to be ready to support the children at school and at home.  Sometimes, my time alone consists of reading or singing in the car to silly old rap songs.  When I feel stress getting at me, I make this time for myself.  I have to be ready.  My goal in life is to always be spiritually ready for children.  The teacher (and Mom!) can work herself to exhaustion, preparing the classroom or home painstakingly:  and then end up cranky and not ready to receive the children.  For whom we work tirelessly for?  It can't be.

One of the teachers I had at training talked at length about the Preparation of the Teacher, and I think about that talk every day.  If we don't have a good attitude, what message does that send?  I smile a lot at school, and at home.  I feel that it sends a message that the children are safe, in kind hands, and supported by me at any task. Today I overheard a conversation between two children at school that warmed my heart.  A little boy was talking to a little girl, saying that they love me because I smile and I smell like pancakes.  The point is just that.  They didn't mention that they like me because I put out new work, help them make friends, or taught them a continent song.  It was a smile, and my home-like scent.

I think about home.  I know in my heart that my girls need me ready.  It's not the things we provide or prepare in life, it's how you make them feel.  Moms and teachers have the power to do this :)  How wonderful!


Sheila said…
So true, Jessie! Kids will not remember all the things we taught them, but remember the feeling of being loved. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.
Ewa said…
Thank you so much for this beautiful post ;-) You sent the tears down my cheeks as I was reading it. Thank you for reminding us that it is not what we say and do, but how we make others feel the most important aspect of our Montessori mission.
I was nearly at the verge of a nervous breakdown trying to find a balance and your wise words were just like a light in the tunnel for me ;-)
I will keep this message close to my heart

Love from Poland
Stephanie said…
Great post Jessie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have been feeling very stressed and it seems like trying to change all of me is too hard. I have been cranky and yelling alot. But I can smile more! Maybe I will just offer more smiles and it will help the rest of my attiude! :) Thanks for sharing!
Lori said…
Beautiful post. Thanks for making me smile and reminding me about the little things that make children feel loved and comfortable. You always have a wonderful perspective that pushes me to think in a new way. Thank you for that.
Deb Chitwood said…
Absolutely beautiful, Jessie! What important ideas for any parent and/or teacher! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:
Kierna C said…
What a beautiful post, Jessie - and something to really make me think. What is the point of me being stressed out & cranky with the very 'people' I am there to help find their way through this world. Thanks Kierna
sue g said…
Love this thanks for the reminder.
Leslie said…
Thanks for sharing! So true and its great to hear the words spoken as a reminder and an encouragement!
Amy said…
Thank you! We can get so busy thinking they need a purposeful activity or to perfect a skill but the true need is the "sense of endless time" in order to feel that sense of fulfillment of whatever that sensitive period is at the moment. They can be so easily lead away from perfecting themselves by stressful environments or stressed out adults in their lives! "It's not the things we provide or prepare in life, it's how you make them feel" So simple yet so powerful!

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