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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Guilt Over Leaving
Lissa Kristine 08:14 PM 10-21-2017
Let me preface this by stating that I am leaving this position for this and other reasons (including violations of state law and incidents between teachers and students that I have reported to the local authorities because I feel they cross the line).

When I started my job at a "Montessori" school, I was pretty excited. Everything I have ever seen about Montessori shows kids taking an active role in learning.

Instead, I go into work and see 3 and 4 year olds reciting "One and one is two. Two and two is four." I know that they have no idea what it means. They are like robots reciting that the earth has seven continents and four oceans (my boss and coworkers refuse to listen to me when I tell them that there are FIVE oceans- since I was in elementary school, we've lost a planet, gained an ocean, and about 600 Pokemon).

There's no learning about counting by sorting through small items and SEEING that two and two is four. Students are made to sit down and trace or write words and letters. If a four year old writes a letter backwards, she is yelled at and told to "Do it the right way." If a child is not ready to write on his own, his hand is held and the teacher moves it to trace the letters. Two and three year olds who are still in the process of learning their letters are drilled on sight words.

When a three year old is misbehaving, she is threatened with a lie that the owner/director is going to take her to JEI. The terror in the child's eyes breaks my heart. What is going to happen when she starts kindergarten in two years? Sure, she might be ahead of her classmates in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but she's going to HATE school.

When the teachers don't want to deal with the kids- instead of allowing them to take out an "activity" (almost no toys- the room is full of homemade "flashcards" on different trays), the teacher will just put on a cartoon. Occasionally, it's some weird, trippy, thing on youtube that teaches shapes or letters, but the teachers will also put on Dora, PJ Masks, or even a movie like Trolls. This is their approach to restless preschoolers- make them sit and watch a movie. Often, the kids are watching a screen for an hour a day or longer.

Maybe I'm just overreacting or something. I just see a classroom of preschoolers who are learning nothing except to hate learning. And even though I know I need to get out of there because the job is also putting me and my career as an educator at risk, I also feel guilty about leaving the kids there knowing that they won't have any more "dance parties" or opportunities to learn sign language through fun songs (mostly from Signing Time). There won't be anybody taking sticks and showing them that two and two is four. There won't be anyone gently showing them with little rhymes how to make a "5" or an "S".

Am I crazy for feeling guilty about leaving?
Josiegirl 03:12 AM 10-22-2017
Oh hon, I understand your guilt and can only imagine how you're feeling. Is there anyone you could contact about this 'school' and the situation, to have them check it out?? Although, I bet when someone shows up all tactics change. In the time you've been there, has it been inspected? In order to maintain a Montessori standing do they have to be inspected by certain Montessori bigwigs or anyone? I feel it is sooo sad when parents are being misled as to what's being done in a program. Everybody is all 'oooh cool, Montessori, it's gotta be great!' but then it's like any other program out there, it's only as great as what's actually done with the kids.
I think you're doing the right thing by leaving. And my heart goes out to you for caring enough about the children to try to change their way of doing things. I know it's not possible but in situations such as this, I wish there was a way to have a big pow wow with the parents who are all being misled by the name Montessori. I highly doubt it's what they were expecting.
Josiegirl 03:20 AM 10-22-2017
I wonder if you could write a letter to your local newspaper, not naming the school but advising parents to check out their schools' qualifications deeply, because they're not always what you think they are. Parents might see enough information to recognize it might be their school being described and also know your name. Just a thought and probably not a good one being so early in the a.m. Are parents allowed to drop-in as in pick up unannounced, things like that? I believe one of the best ways to get a feel for how a program is run, is show up unexpectedly kind of a 'caught in the act' type of thing, KWIM? Also for parents to get a sense of how the children are interacting with each other and the teacher.
I understand your guilt. The whole thing would bother me. BUT you are not the one doing these developmentally inappropriate things and cannot take it all upon yourself. You did what you could to change their ways of doing things.
Tags:bad teacher, montessori
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