My Montessori journey began back in 2010 when I was finishing up my fifth year at Oregon State University. I was originally accepted into the OSU Zoology Pre-Vet Med program and had all the ambition and passion of becoming a veterinarian. Much to my mother’s distress, after three years intense advanced science courses I completely changed my mind. While I had great passion and love for animals, I didn’t want to spend my days euthanizing them prescribing them flea medication, and altering their genitals.
I remember how my interest clicked like it was yesterday. In 2009, I was diagnosed with sub-fertility, which basically meant my only chance of having children was taking loads of medication and hoping I could get my body to ovulate. That marked an important journey for me as well. My passion and love for children has always been very deep and profound but it was never something I had considered as a career. Sure, I worked as a nanny and babysitter throughout high school and college but that was just frosting on proverbial cake. My career would have to be something that could financially provide for my own kids when I had them.
So I kept at my degrees. By the time I graduated I was working as a residential manager of a prestigious home for Adults with Developmental Disabilities. It paid well. But something still felt wrong and sad.
What I can admit now, years later is that I married my first husband because I was so desperate for a family setting. I never loved him as much as I loved the idea of finally having my own child. We tried. The marriage became toxic and after thousands of dollars I turned to teaching as a way to fill that maternal need.
I worked as an assistant from 2010 to 2012 in a local Children’s House from where I was living. It was amazing. As I grew as a teacher, I grew as an individual. Going back to school was a blessing for me. The AMI Training Programs in the PNW house some of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. I firmly believe that “your vibe attracts your tribe” and being surrounded by these incredible mentors and women helped me mature in ways I will forever be grateful. I became more courteous, gracious, patient, and respectful of not just others but of myself. By 2013 I began questioning the health of my marriage and in 2014 I escaped my abusive situation and found peace.
In 2014, I moved cities and began working at an incredible school that housed other ages other than primary. They had a few Nido environments, Toddler rooms, and were connected to an elementary charter school as well. The owner of the school was perhaps the most incredible woman I have ever met. Tammy Kennedy began her career in her house with a simple day care and turned it into this incredible academic learning center. She gave me all the tools, support, and faith to express myself as a teacher and professional. After expressing that it was my goal to hold certifications for the entirety of Montessori age ranges, she offered me a full scholarship for the AMS Infant/Toddler program.
The years that followed brought much beauty and growth. In 2016 I married my best friend Scott and without medication we “accidentally” got pregnant on our honeymoon. Our daughter Charlotte was born the following June.
When I was ready to go back to work, I was concerned about our financial situation now that we had our daughter. Sure, teaching was just fine when the only person I had to support was myself but now with a family there’s no way I could afford to live in Oregon as a teacher. So I began to look for administration positions again. This was a hard few months. I was unhappy with my stay at home job, and while it paid extremely well there was just something missing. My husband and my heart kept telling me, “you need to be teaching”. But it seemed selfish to put my passion before our financial stability.
So my husband told me then, that we could follow my heart. And I began applying for Montessori schools down in Arizona. In one day, I received over 18 interview requests and by the end of the week we had scheduled a time to come down and interview the nine that I thought showed the most promise.
Once I spoke with the Head of School at my school I knew this is where I belonged. She had the same heart and grace as my former HOS and I needed somewhere that my passion and drive could not just flourish but grow. So I accepted the position immediately.
Children are our future. And I know people say that, I’m sure it’s on a bumper sticker or two but if you’ve made it this far please just take a moment to just soak that in. Children are our future. They are the future of our world, our species, our history, our immortality. Children are they key to world peace and salvation. If I do nothing with my life, I will know that I have not only been afforded such an amazing opportunity to be the mother of my daughter and the wife of my beloved husband, but I have had the opportunity to help shape that future.
Early childhood education get’s overlooked and I can’t think of anything more depressing and shameful. The first six years are so incredibly important—the first three–shape what individuals are going to be like! To have an opportunity to help a child become the best human that they can be, I just, I just don’t think that you really get a better calling than that.