Thursday, July 12, 2012

Assistant's Album

I have finally put together an album for each of my assistants in the classroom!  It has only taken me six years to figure out that the best place to assemble my thoughts and wishes for how I want my classroom to run is in a separate album for my assistants... (We are always learning, right?! ) ;-)

This Fall, I will have two Assistants working with me - one who has been with me for several years and another who will be new to my staff.  In contemplating ways to effectively share information and ideas, I thought this would be the perfect time to compile what I want my Assistants to know in their own albums.

The following is a list of material in each album.  I have no doubt that additional items will be added throughout the school year, but here is a start:
  • Montessori Quote: "Montessori teachers are not servants of the child's body, to wash, dress and feed him--they know that he needs to do these things for himself in developing independence.  We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit."
  • A brief History of Montessori Education from the AMS website.
  • Important Montessori Terminology, also from the AMS website.
  • "The Role of the Teacher in the Early Childhood Montessori Class" written by me.
  • "The Sensitive Periods" written by me.
  • Another paper I wrote, "The Planes of Development."
  • An article entitled, "Teach Peace to Have Peace" by Maren Stark Schmidt.
  • Polli Soholt's, "Montessorians and Assistants:  A Partnership in the Prepared Environment."
  • I also created a document outlining specific information as it pertains to my classroom and school called, "Assistant Teacher Duties."  Here, I have written exactly which lessons the Assistant may present (which can be added to or changed as needed), among other pertinent information.
  • General schedule of the day.  
  • School information including student names and ages, important dates, etc.
It is my hope that by creating this album, my Assistants and I will have a springboard for clear, consistent communication.  One of my (many) goals is to establish a clear understanding of roles in the classroom and I do not ever want any of my Assistants to feel as if they don't know what to do or where to be.  I think this album is a step in the right direction! :)


  1. Dear Sasha, This is such an interesting topic. The relationship between lead teacher and assistant(s) is vital to the peace and smooth running of the classroom! Although I am a certified teacher, I am working in the role of assistant in a classroom with a wonderful, very experienced lead teacher. I see how critical my role is to the functioning of the classroom in a way I did not fully appreciate when I was a lead teacher. Both adults are so important in 1) keeping the environment ready for the children, 2) preparing materials, 3) observing the children, 4) presenting new lessons. I have also realized that it takes time to fulfill a role in the classroom; it doesn't happen by November. Maybe by June it's starting to come together! Just as the children spend their first year absorbing and observing, so too does the adult need at least two years to be ready to fully occupy her/his role in the classroom. Happily, though, a willingness to be humble and learn,to find joy in each day, is - on some days - the most important tool of all!

  2. Well said, Laura! Thank you for your insightful comment - I might add it to the album for my assistants to keep in mind as we progress through the year. And I love your comment at the end about finding joy in each day is so true - thank you for reminding us all! :)

  3. Now all you have to do is get them to read it! I've used something similar to this for several years, I finally had to get them to initial each page as they read it, so that when they say "you never told me that..." we can look it up in the book, and say, yes I did, right here, and you initialed it". I finally have a great assistant who is starting her 3rd year with me, but I had to go through a lot before I got her! It also is helpful to go over the book with them so they can answer questions along the way (but they still may say "I never knew this..."!) Good luk with you new assistant!

  4. I am fortunate to have a dedicated pair who demonstrate sincere interest! It's a learning process for everyone! :)

  5. I must say that I love your blog. And this idea is so great! I have been inspired to make such an album for my own assistant this weekend! Genius!

  6. Thank you, Abby Jo! I'm so glad to hear of how much you enjoy my blog - it gives me much inspiration and motivation knowing that people enjoy and can gain from the ideas shared here. I'm sure your assistant will appreciate the new album! ;)

  7. I love all of your posts--but this one so inspired me! I am thrilled at the idea of having something so comprehensive to offer my Assistant. I'm including a piece I did on Freedom and Discipline, too-- I find it is the area in which my Assistants tend to have the most questions.

  8. One more thing: I can't seem to find that Polli Soholt article on Montessorians and Assistants. Do you have a suggested resource for it?

  9. Hi Kari,
    I'm so glad to have shared and am happy knowing that other teachers find use in my ideas! The Polli Soholt article was given to me during my training as a handout - I know it is from an AMI periodical, just not sure which one. I wish I could be of more help.

  10. I am also building a folder for my assistant, and included many of the things you had suggested! I did wonder what lessons you included for your assistant to learn. I've highlighted quite a few Practical Life lessons, as well as some in Language (sound games, etc.)

    Any others you thought particularly important in general, as well as Sensorial and Math?


  11. Hi Sasha

    I absolutely love the idea of an 'Assistant Teacher Album!'
    Would you mind sharing the various lessons you have included in the album for your Assistant Teachers?

    This would really help.

    Thank you.

  12. Hi Shiree,
    The list will vary depending on the experience of the assistant, but to start I have included various sound games, geography lessons - maps and globes; Land, Air, Water Sorting; some Practical Life exercises; snack/food prep; art lessons... These ideas will change depending on your assistant's training, what lessons you decide she can present, and how comfortable she is presenting them.