“One who desires to be a teacher must have an interest in humanity that connects the observer more closely than that which joins the biologist or zoologist to nature.” –Maria Montessori
[This post was written on July 25. I didn't finish it at the time, but I am determined to get back into writing my blog, so I decided the first step is to go back and finish what I started.]
Today is the feast day of St. James the Apostle. It has been a very long time since I have written in my blog. Perhaps that demonstrates the kind of year I had last year. Very little time available for reflection. I hope to change that this year, and I hope the Feast of St. James helps me in that quest.
James walked with someone who promised him the truth. He followed someone who taught with authority but who used all sorts of creative ways to teach. He spent time with a storyteller who enthralled his listeners. He lived with a person of compassion whose integrity inspired greatness. Because of his exposure to this unique person, James was inspired to continue the work even after the charismatic leader was gone.
James was inspired by the teacher and the teacher in return loved the student. The teacher most likely didn’t make James memorize facts and figures, but the teacher allowed him to grasp new concepts by walking alongside the student and providing an environment wherein James could thrive.
The path is ours, together. The idea that the teacher is the only one in the room with something to contribute is, of course, not the case; the teacher is a member of a learning community whose particular task it is to inspire and entice the student to greatness. Maria Montessori didn’t expect (and didn’t desire) teachers to be the one and only resourcce for knowledge, opening up brains and inserting facts and figures. She intended the teacher to be a lover of humanity who desires to create an environment that is life-giving and allows the child to thrive.
St. James was lucky to be able to spend time with such a compassionate teacher. It is my hope that our children may experience even a fraction of that compassion so they may be inspired to a greatness of their own.