Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In A Nutshell

OK, you know what we're doing here. And today, we are down to:

57. My favorite mentor-role model in college was:

My master teacher, Eileen Mills. Eileen had been in Montessori for about ten years when I did my student teaching, and she was a model Montessorian. She supervised her student teachers with the same kindness that she taught the children. She was an adventurous teacher and her classroom was full of innovation and delight.

The year before I met her, Eileen had lost two children. One was killed by a hit and run driver just two weeks before the other died of cancer. Eileen continued to teach, saying that without her work she didn't know how she could have survived. Her son had collected snakes, and after his death she brought them into the classroom and shared them with the children. Many the day a teacher or child would be busy and have a garter snake wrapped around an arm. I loved the little things, so soft and, when attached to a person, warm.

Eileen was a model of how to teach both children and adults and of how to deal with the hard blows that life delivers. When I was teaching in Fairbanks I sent her some fur samples to put in her sensorial activities. About six years later, I was again living and working in California and took a course from her on teaching evolution to preschoolers. She brought out the furs I had sent to show the rest of the class as an example of how the Montessori curriculum can be expanded and the environment of the given school highlighted.

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