Meet Betty: A Mentor Montessori Teacher

Betty is a veteran Montessori teacher with more than 10 years of experience and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. Bezos Academy’s mission drew her to her current role as a Mentor Montessori Teacher (MMT) at our Orlando – Mercy Drive preschool.

Our schools are supported by MMTs responsible for building relationships with families and staff, developing and coaching teachers, providing coverage in the classrooms, and supporting Heads of School with operational duties. Learn more about the unique aspects of being an MMT and what Betty loves most about the Montessori teaching practice.

How did you hear about your role at BA, and what encouraged you to apply?
The mission attracted me to take this role and was the deciding factor. It was hard to turn down when I understood that Bezos Academy was offering a free Montessori education to children who normally couldn’t afford it. My children attended a private Montessori preschool. It was so expensive for us as a young couple with one income. The fact that this was going to be offered to children for free was so exciting, and I really wanted to be part of this amazing life-changing opportunity for these families.

Briefly describe what you do in a day. What is your favorite part of the day? 
My role can look so different depending on the day. It keeps evolving according to the needs of our school and community. When I get to school, I check if breakfast has been delivered. Then, I support morning arrivals. On other days, I receive the food deliveries, set up and inspect the playground, and then I work side-by-side with the teachers in the classrooms. Around 11:30 a.m., I am in the kitchen helping to deliver lunches. In the afternoon, it is naptime, one-on-one time with our teachers, aftercare, and dismissal. On the days our Head of School (HOS) is out, I mostly stand in and run the school. My favorite part of the day is the time I spend with the children and the teachers—giving lessons, observing, and supporting them. It is simply therapeutic for me. Whenever I step into the classroom, I forget any problems or worries I might have. I instantly get drawn into their world and what they are doing. 

What do you love about your job?
I love that I have one foot in the classroom and one foot in administration. I get to spend a lot of time with the kids and teachers and get to advocate for their needs through my administrative role. This is a unique aspect of being an MMT.

What was your first experience with the Montessori practice?
We took our children to a private Montessori school when they were three- and four-years-old. I remember our daughter coming home and folding every towel or napkin she could find in the house after being in school for only two weeks. That sparked my curiosity about what my daughter was doing in class. I know now it’s part of Practical Life work. After our first parent-teacher conference, I knew I had found an education I had been looking for all my life.

What about the Montessori pedagogy is interesting to you?
Montessori is inclusive. We understand that students learn differently and come to us from different backgrounds with different needs. So, we meet the child where they are and teach them at their own pace. That individualized approach makes a huge difference in student learning outcomes. It motivates them, fosters a love for learning, and builds self-confidence because we focus on effort and what the child is good at as opposed to what they are struggling with. Then, we can circle back to that lesson whenever the child is ready for it.

What is your favorite Montessori lesson?
My favorite lesson is the golden bead material. It’s amazing how, through this material, children as young as four-years-old learn how to build tens, tens into hundreds, and hundreds into thousands. This lays a firm foundation for understanding more advanced and abstract mathematical concepts.

Do you feel like you are making an impact in your role?
Seeing smiling students walk through our doors every morning and families happy to drop off their kids is enough to show me that we are making a difference. I also feel that I have created a safe space for my team as their mentor. I have seen so much growth from when they started their training and where they are now. They are more confident in their roles and in the Montessori philosophy. 

Do you have experience and a passion for the Montessori pedagogy? Apply now on our Open Roles page.