Feature a Teacher Friday presents a lovely, mindful and passionate Montessori school teacher from Perth. Sam shares an insight into her career working in a Montessori school.
Miss Sam Leyton
aka Mindful Montessori Mother
Loves: health, fitness, drama, singing
What is your experience in education and current position?
I have a Bachelor in Primary Education, have been teaching for 3 years and am currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Montessori Education.
What brings you the most joy?
Spending quality time with my family. Sitting on the beach, watching the waves roll in. Learning new things.
What makes a successful school?
A successful school is one in which teachers, leadership and community all work together.
What do you believe is the most important aspect of teachers development, why?
I think that there are a few important aspects, the first being that teachers have the desire to continue to learn, develop and grow. The second is that teachers are involved in the development process and consulted as to what they are interested in as well as sharing the knowledge they do have with other teachers.
How do you use technology in the classroom?
My classroom has actually only just received iPads this year and we have been loving them. Using them for mind mapping, project work, spelling and mental math activities. One our favourite apps at the moment is ‘Book Creator’. We also love to use our Ozobots when we are learning how to code.
What after-school or extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
I am not currently running any extra-curricular activities, however at my previous job I ran an after-school drama club. One of my passions is watching children that are normally shy and reserved, come alive through drama.
How would you engage a reluctant student?
For me its all about developing a strong positive relationship with the student, spending one on one time with them, getting to know their interests and trying to understand what it is that might be making them reluctant. I find taking the time to figure out what the cause of the problem might be allows you to tackle the problem and give them the tools they need to succeed.
If you noticed a child being bullied in your class, how would you deal with the situation?
Firstly LISTEN to the problem and let them know they are supported. I like to take a whole class approach. This happened recently actually and we ended up doing a 3 hour session looking at a range of scenarios and discussing our feelings and strategies for dealing with them. The kids really enjoyed talking about how different situations involving bullying made them feel and listened to one another’s ideas about how to handle them.
How would you raise a child’s self-esteem and aspirations?
Raising self-esteem isn’t always easy but I think a way to assist the process is to find things the child is good at and celebrate those qualities, giving them real life opportunities to demonstrate their strengths. Not to give unnecessary praise, but to provide them with opportunities where they can feel like they have won.
How do you find a work life balance?
I don't know if I have yet. Being a mother of a 2 year old, a full time teacher and studying full time, I don't know if its even possible!
I think for me though, it is about finding things I enjoy and making sure I make time for them. I really enjoy keeping fit and eating healthy as it improves my mental state, so I always find time for that. I also really enjoy going to the movies by myself, so when I feel myself getting a little overwhelmed I try to make time for a quiet movie alone.
How would you deal with an angry parent who is unreasonable?
Again, my first point of call is usually to listen. Listen to what it is they are upset about and if they are unreasonable and unhappy then I usually try to arrange a meeting between them, myself and my principal. We have leadership for a reason, and its always best to turn to them in situations like this.
How is teaching at your school unique?
I teach at a Montessori School so it is quite unique and interesting. There are a lot of common misconceptions about Montessori Education but at the root of the philosophy is that children become confident, responsible, independent learners, who trust in their own abilities. Children are taught one on one in the younger years, and then in small groups as they increase in age, this allows for children to be taught at their ability level.
As teachers we are in the classroom as a facilitator and a good Montessori classroom should run with the children (ranging in ages) assisting one another and leading their own learning. One of my favourite things about Montessori education is the bond we are able to build with our kids, because we have them for three years we are able to really get to know them and build a safe supportive environment.
Do you have any hobbies or talents?
I went to a specialist drama school, so love to sing and act. However, my side passion is helping people with their health and fitness. When i'm not teaching, studying or hanging out with my family I am coaching people on how to achieve their goals.
What would you love to be involved in with Smile Teachers?
I love empowering teachers and want to get as many on board with the idea of how 'taking care of yourself can give you the ability to teach to your greatest potential and impact the future generations’.