A Montessorian’s Metta Meditation

So I started my Montessori training! Well, sort of. I’ve actually just finished the two week Foundation Course, which anyone taking the elementary training has to do if they don’t already have a Montessori primary certificate. Needless to say, I’ve been rather busy. I’ve also developed a bit of tendinitis from spending 6-10 hours every day typing furiously, so the blogging is going to be a bit slow this year. I got wrist braces and one of those ergonomic keyboards, and that’s helping a lot, so I’ll try to blog now and then, but I’ll definitely be minimizing any extra typing.

So how’s the training? Let’s just say that Montessori training is not Montessori. There is so much to cover in so little time, that training basically consists of four to six hours of lectures every day, during which the trainees frantically write down/type what the trainer is saying. Homework consists of proofreading, formatting, and illustrating the lectures, which amount to several hundred pages of writing/editing every week. Since there’s so much to cover, there’s not a lot of time for questions, discussion, or reflection, though that should get better when the real training starts, since we’ll have two hours every day for supervised practice time, which should help us absorb everything we’re learning.

I was warned that the training wouldn’t be like a Montessori classroom this by many, many Montessori teachers before I started the training,  but the reality has been shocking and, honestly, a bit distressing. During this long weekend (we’re off until Wednesday!), I’ve been thinking a lot about how to keep myself motivated while I slog through the year, since I know I have a very, very good reason for doing this. Today, I remembered something I came up with during my last meditation retreat, and I tried it.

During retreats, we spend some of our time practicing a technique called “metta” meditation. Metta is a Pali word that describes a feeling of kindness and generosity towards all beings. It’s often translated as “lovingkindness.” The idea of metta meditation is to strengthen your capacity for metta, and it’s usually done by repeating a series of four or so phrases silently to yourself. The phrases are wishes of well being, and traditionally, you start by doing metta for yourself, and then for a dear friend or a “benefactor” (someone who has taught or supported you). From there, you move on to a neutral person (someone you have no strong feelings about, like your mailman, say), and then an “enemy.” After that, you offer metta to larger and larger circles of people (and animals, and spirits, if that’s your thing), until eventually you offer metta to all beings everywhere.

At any rate, on my last retreat, the usual progression got rather messed up for me when I found myself offering metta for all children, everywhere. I’ve since realized that those phrases represent my deepest wish as a Montessori teacher, and they will be my mantra this year as I try to keep myself focused on my goal. They are my prayer for the future of our world.

May all children be safe from harm.
May all children be safe from fear.
May all children be loved and cared for.
May all children be free to grow.
May all children live in peace.


One thought on “A Montessorian’s Metta Meditation

  1. EV says:

    Please be encouraged. Many have walked this path before. It is draining, difficult, and often dark. It is most definitely not Montessori.

    You can build a better experience, though. Our class worked hard to make ourselves as Montessori as possible. We worked together to have all our paper bought and cut together, worked together to help the weaker students, and provide joy throughout the difficulties. You all can still be Montessori in the midst.

    Peace be upon you.

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