Teacher Spotlight – Rochelle Hayes, Primary Teacher in 203

What drew you to becoming a Montessori teacher? I wanted to be a Montessori teacher from a very young age. I attended a Montessori school as a child and it was so much fun to be a part of that community. I loved the beauty and order of the classroom. The teachers were incredibly kind and gentle, yet also joyful and enthusiastic. I wanted to grow up to be that kind of person and create that kind of environment for others. As I became older and began studying about Maria Montessori, her philosophy, and her educational method, the idea of educating the whole child to prepare them for peaceful global citizenship struck a chord deep within me. I knew I wanted this to be my life’s work.

Describe your all-time favorite lesson or one that impassions you? I honestly cannot pick one lesson. It would be like asking me to pick an all-time favorite child. In both cases, I truly do love them all! It’s a gift to witness a child discover how to do something for themselves – to pour water without spilling a single drop, build the binomial cube, zip up their jacket, read a word, work out their differences with a friend – the list goes on and on. Each lesson provides an opportunity for a child to gain independence and feel empowered in the world, and their excitement about that is contagious. I can’t help but feel passionate about each lesson because each lesson can serve a child in some way.

Who do you admire (and why) or do you have any heroes? I admire people who carry themselves with grace, dignity, and humility – people who are peaceful, patient, kind, and courageous. I believe these are the attributes that can anchor you within yourself even as you serve as a light to others.

What do you believe to be the greatest benefit to a child who has had a Montessori education? A child who has been fortunate enough to have a Montessori education has had a chance to discover who they are and their place in the world – on their own terms, at their own pace. While academics certainly are important, a Montessori child comes to understand that there is so much more to who they are and what they have to offer the world. They become secure in themselves in a way that is beautiful to see.

And just for fun! What is one thing that most people at MCS don’t know about you? I watch children’s movies and tv shows so I can be familiar with what my students talk about in the classroom, but I also enjoy watching them just for my own entertainment.

If you could have any person, living or dead, as your Head of School, who would you choose? My maternal grandfather O D Darrington, who is the finest person I have ever known. He never sought leadership, but people constantly were drawn to him because of his gentle, kind, wise, and joyful spirit. He inspired by quiet example. I think he would have made an amazing Head of School.