Maui, Montessori, and…Texas (of all places)

Another motivation I’ve realized I have for entering the blogosphere is my impending move from my current location in the DC-metro area to the island of Maui. This is not the whim that the words “moving to Maui” might bring to mind.  I teach in a small non-public school for learning disabled students who weren’t being properly serviced by the public school districts surrounding us. But I’ve been hired by a Montessori school in the island town of Kihei. I’ll admit that a tiny portion of my decision to accept this job was based on that ever present desire in me to live on a small island equidistant from the mountains (or volcanoes, in this case) and the ocean and write poetry. But of course I have to live with the job that I have accepted to get me there. I’m actually psyched to be taking this job in Montessori. I’ve only worked in a traditional teacher-centered classroom for a year, although I interned last year in a program that had me co-teaching with a mentor teacher full time in the classroom, but I have already run across the glaring disconnect with the traditional model and the way different students learn (not to mention their interest level). I feel Montessori answers a lot of questions that I have about a better way to educate.

Ironically, the most difficult piece of this path that I have grappled with is the necessity for me to go to Houston, Texas for two months to complete a short course in the Montessori method before I take on the alternative classroom in Maui. Please don’t misunderstand me…I don’t have any particular disdain for Texas (at least no more than I have for the state of Connecticut), but I can’t say I’ve ever run across too many things that excite me about the “Great State” either. I’m not a fan of the Texans, the Cowboys, the Mavericks, Rockets, or Spurs, the Stars, the Rangers, or the Astros. I don’t even like FC Dallas or the Dynamo (and I’m a HUGE soccer fan). I don’t like rattlesnakes or George W. Bush. I can’t stand the “Don’t Mess with Texas” attitude, seeing as it’s responsible for a lot of the global mess we United States-ers find ourselves in these days. No, about the only thing I can think of that I’ve ever liked that came out of that chunk of America is Molly Ivins, the newspaper columnist and political humorist commentator who died in January of 2007. Now I don’t consider myself an expert or even fairly educated on all the state has to offer, but I know enough to be nervous about not knowing what to expect when I arrive for my two month stay.

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