Gussie Greer’s Update
Hello, my name is Gussie Greer. I began AMI Elementary Training at the Montessori Center of the Northeast in June of 2016 and graduated in August 2018. It was one of the toughest challenges I have faced in my life. It challenged me as a learner and as a person. It is an experience that I would never trade. Our cohort was a wonderful group of supportive individuals and I feel so fortunate that we took this journey together. I also can’t thank Carla and Gerry enough for opening my eyes to the world around me.
My passion for education, particularly non-traditional education, began with my own experience in high school. I was fortunate that my district offered a program at my local high school called SWAS (School Within A School). It was based on small class sizes, interesting topics, no grades, Harkness table classrooms and close relationships with teachers that we called by their first names. I went on to college to pursue a degree in child development but fell in love with anthropology and received my B.A. in social and cultural anthropology. My passion for education, and its impact on children, reignited when I had my own children. I chose a non-traditional school in NYC for my children that embraced respect for the whole child and their capabilities in all aspects of the classroom and the school environment. It was a tiny jewel in a city filled with competitive independent schools.
My journey continued when we chose to leave NYC and raise our family in the Berkshires. After raising my children, I decided to revisit my interest in education and took some classes at the local community college. I volunteered in the local public school and realized that I wanted to pursue an advanced degree in education. Hence, I applied to the M.Ed. program in Early Childhood from Lesley University. I believed in the power of education and teaching, but I was also looking for a niche. Public school, while there were some wonderful teachers, was bogged down with common core curriculum and testing. It was frustrating that the teacher was limited with what they were able to do and provide to their students.
The model of Montessori and the community it offered was of great interest to me. I visited Montessori of the Berkshires several years ago and was taken by the simplicity, the materials, and the organization of the classrooms, but more importantly by the focus on the children in their work and the respectful interactions with their teachers. Fortunately, a position was available as an assistant guide in the elementary classroom and they hired me.I was an assistant guide in a 6-12 classroom for three years, and this fall will be my third year as a Lead Guide in the second 6-12 classroom. I was able to bring my educational experience, life experience, love of children, and my interest in early reading into the environment. I am in awe each day about the opportunities that the children have to pursue what interests them, the democracy of the classroom, the responsibilities the children have in running their school, the respect from guides to children and vice versa, and the respect amongst faculty