Portrait of a North Star Teacher

Integrity & respect are at the core. The teacher’s integrity comes from calm, confidence, caring, and a light-hearted enthusiasm matched with conscious self-restraint, modeling the best of human behaviour for the class while showing both passion and joy in the work. Even more important is the respect for students’ dignity, for which we ensure a positive and respectful environment.

We believe in the unfolding, not the molding, of children. A North Star teacher watches, listens, and communicates to assess and assist each child’s development of both intellect and independence. We champion the triumphs and challenges of each day, encouraging and supporting independence and confidence. We patiently, flexibly, and compassionately encourage a joyful perseverance in each child.

The teacher is the facilitator of the classroom. Teaching is an act of service and humility. Through the creation of routines and traditions, the maintenance of detailed records, and the presentation of broad and deep lessons that illuminate concepts and encourage student discovery, the teacher encourages students’ concentration, reflection, and growth. The teacher is the facilitator of learning through discovery and process, rather than the focus.

A North Star teacher embraces the classroom environment as a partner. For children to succeed, the environment must be orderly and inviting, clean and uncluttered, beautiful and precise. The teacher’s job is to connect materials to students and to spark their curiosity. Children are then set free to make choices, combining freedom with a developing sense of discipline and responsibility. 

The whole world is a teacher’s classroom. Teachers and their lessons demonstrate the interrelatedness of all knowledge: the links between different academic subjects, the connections between the large and the small, and the essential similarities among all peoples. Teachers extend the classroom into the world beyond the school, both physically and imaginatively.

Teachers and students learn by setting high challenges and making safe mistakes. Boundaries, clearly set and consistently reinforced, create a safe and cooperative environment, which becomes as much a community as a classroom. A place where where we all learn from each other. Children learn both how to help and how to reach out for help, first in their own classrooms but increasingly in the larger school community and eventually the wider world they will fully enter as adults.

A North Star teacher remains a student, growing both personally and professionally, showing a passion for learning, mastering the varied Montessori curriculum and Method while also pursuing personal interests. Like any good student, he or she has both strengths and weaknesses, along with an awareness of how to address them in the course of the day’s work.

Montessori teachers educate the whole community. They actively engage parents in a partnership for the good of the child, engage creatively and collaboratively with assistants and colleagues from all age levels of the school, and communicate clearly while maintaining proper confidentiality. They are dynamic participants in the life of the school, actively serving, informing, protecting, and improving.