Monday, October 22, 2012

Observe

Vacation, day one. Lest I go through child-withdrawal, I opted to spend the morning observing V in action at her internship classroom. I've met the faculty and staff there once, when I helped out with a work day, but by my reception this morning, you would've thought I'd known them all for years. Big hugs, everyone excited to see me...

It was an awesome feeling to be introduced as V's wife. I talk more, and am more open about us, so I'm frequently introducing her as my wife, or introducing myself as her wife. But at her school, she's both awesomely comfortable and proud of me. And everyone is excited to meet the wife that they've heard her talk about!

The 3-6 room in a Montessori school is chaotic. It's a controlled chaos, mostly, but my stress level was definitely up at first, waiting for an explosion or collapse. (This may be due to spending every day with Lilly.) I chatted with the program director (awesome, unexpected opportunity) about intervening, and how the teachers really don't: she said if a child is harming themselves or others, or disturbing friends, the teachers will intervene, but they really try to let the child/children resolve it alone. I would love to do more of that with Patrick and Lilly, but since we aren't in a classroom with rules, there is less formality...and sometimes more hitting and pulling and biting.

The 6-9 room, which I was also able to see from the observation room, fascinated me. I wasn't familiar with the materials in it or what exactly the kids were doing, but there was something about it that drew me. I watched a wonderful eighty-something woman who learned from a direct disciple of Montessori, and who now comes in to work in the classroom every Monday, teach a lesson with farm animals that ranged from different prepositions to word forms to spatial relations. All in her Scottish accent.

It was a neat opportunity. Teaching isn't for me (too many kids!), but I like watching it happen successfully. I understand now why V comes home tired and worn out. I get why she says the group at work feels like a family. I can picture the kids, when she rants about this or that misbehavior. I'm more a part of her world, and that always makes me happy.

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