Associate Teachers serve a critical role in the daily success of a Montessori classroom, and a classroom cannot operate successfully without them.
Major Tasks and Responsibilities:
- Support Role in Classrooms: The Montessori teacher is the guide in the classroom and Associate teachers take their daily direction from the Montessori teachers. A collaborative relationship between all teaching team members is integral in most aspects of the operation of the classroom, however, the Montessori teacher has final decision-making authority in accordance with their Montessori training. Part of the team culture encourages constructive conversations which requires that all on the team be open to growth and maintain a professional demeanor at all times. This is particularly important when receiving or giving feedback.
- Maintain the Classroom Environment: The Associate Teachers takes a lead role in keeping the classroom ordered and pristine. This includes replenishing materials/supplies when necessary and preparing the environment for the following school day.
- Provide Basic Care of Children: This includes comforting children, diapering and/or toilet learning, resting, feeding, and organizing meals/snacks.
- Active Supervision of Children: This is during all times of day, including the classroom, bathroom, enrichment spaces and playground. During the lesson block, the Associate Teacher will take the lead role in supervising the children while the teachers are giving lessons. Associate teachers must be able to actively supervise both small and large group settings.
- Positive Redirection of Children: Associate Teachers are trained to use Positive Discipline techniques.
- Parent Relations: The Associate is responsible for providing health and care information to the parents. The Montessori teachers communicate developmental and/or academic progress.
Depending on the level of training and experience of an Associate, they may also assist with:
- Clerical Duties and Material Making: This can include making Montessori materials, copying, answering emails, taking pictures, laminating, and record keeping of children.
- Providing Foundational Lessons: Once an Associate has received specific training, they may teach foundational lessons that promote Grace and Courtesy. If an Associate is attending Montessori training, he/she will be provided the opportunity to teach more advanced curriculum.
Major Skills and Competencies:
- Punctuality/Dependability: Adheres to schedule for arrival time, lunches; comes to work on days when scheduled.
- Ability to take direction: Can take direction from others with a positive attitude.
- Ability to lead and coach: Can assume a lead role in the classroom, train and reinforce others, and to do so in a respectful and effective manner (if they want to go through training)
- Interpersonal skills: Ability to work collaboratively, effectively manage relationships with others, show appreciation and warmth, and display appropriate workplace etiquette.
- Empathy: Understands the emotional makeup of other people (children, parents, coworkers) and can respond appropriately.
- Team Player: Maintains positive working relationships with co-workers; effectively handles interpersonal conflict situations. “Jump in attitude”
- Conflict Management: Seeks to resolve rather than avoid conflict in a productive and respectful manner.
- Personal Accountability: Takes personal responsibility for what occurs in their workplace and on their team; does not place blame.
- Customer Focus: Ability and willingness to provide efficient, quality service to all parents and can communicate effectively.
- Respect for All People: Demonstrates understanding and respect for people of all backgrounds.
- Communication Skills: Ability to listen attentively to others, ask appropriate questions, and use good diplomacy and tact at all times.
- Compliance with regulation: Ability to follow through with policy and procedure (BFTS/Suzuki) to ensure the children and staff are safe at all times.
- Stress Tolerance: Maintains a positive attitude with good self-control; can remain calm and positive in stressful situations.
- Flexibility: Demonstrates flexibility and takes initiative in different classroom; does not shy away from certain tasks.
- Professionalism: Carries self (actions, attire, grooming, etc) in a way that communicates that they view themselves as an educator.
- Self-Development: Is aware of own strengths and weaknesses; initiates action to improve one’s own developmental areas (if they want to go through MTEI training)
Physical Job Requirements:
- Montessori Teachers must be able to lift children and other heavy objects throughout the day. The minimum is 35 pounds but can be up to 50 pounds for older children.
Montessori Teachers must be able to stand for long periods of time throughout the day, bend down and sit on the floor throughout the day, and get up and down with ease throughout the day. In addition, when on the floor, a Montessori teacher must be able to quickly respond to a child needing assistance.
Environmental Job Requirements:
- Associates must be able to work in an open classroom environment with co-teachers with viewing windows.
- 21 years of age or older
- Infant-Toddler Classrooms: Associate's Degree
- Early Childhood Classrooms: Associate’s Degree, preferably in a related field (Early Childhood Education, Child Development, etc.)
- Infant-Toddler Classroom: Associate’s Degree or higher, preferably in a related field (Early Childhood Education, Child Development, etc.)
- Early Childhood Classroom: Bachelor’s Degree or higher, preferably in a related field (Early Childhood Education, Child Development, etc.)
Alternative Path to Employment (for those who do not currently possess the minimum requirements)
- Partial college: > 60 semester hours: If a candidate has at least 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits, this is considered equivalent to an Associate’s Degree and meets the guidelines set forth above.
- Partial college: <60 semester hours: If a candidate has less than 60 semester credits or less than 90 quarter credits, this is considered equivalent to a high school degree as described above.
- Faculty Candidates with a CDA, TCC, TCD or anything less than an Associates Degree: Individuals with a credential that is less course work than an Associate’s Degree only can be considered for an Infant/Toddler faculty position on a case by case basis ONLY if the individual has strongly and consistently demonstrated the competencies listed for the position. They cannot be considered for an Early Childhood faculty position.
- Faculty Candidates with High School Degree only: If a candidate has a high school degree with substantial experience, a candidate can work as a substitute until CDA coursework is completed and submitted. If they meet the requirements for faculty candidates with a CDA they are eligible to be considered for the InfantToddler program only.
- Candidates with certain specialized credentials that meet or exceed the minimum credentials need to be evaluated closely for long term fit
- Those contemplating advanced degrees (Masters, etc.)
- Individuals with a degree in educational leadership or comparable who want to transition to a leadership position