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Why I became a I

teacher Barbara Isaacs, gives us some insight on how she became the International Academic Director for Montessori

wanted to work with children but 30 years ago, this was easier said than done. I liked Montessori because it recognises every young child’s need for independence and values their uniqueness, while developing individual interests but as Montessori was never trademarked as a pedagogy, there were a myriad of courses on offer. Today it is very different. Montessori teacher training at Montessori Centre International combines college based academic study with practical experience on a placement in a Montessori nursery. Our students learn about Montessori’s philosophy of childhood, the use of our unique learning materials and their benefits to children’s development. They also develop their skills in observing young children, their spontaneity and natural eagerness to learn and interpret these observations in context of children’s development as well as early years’ practice. Call me biased but the job of a Montessori teacher is unlike any other. Being a facilitator rather than being engaged in direct teaching, Montessori practitioners guide young children during their nursery years. Often, they are the first significant adults outside the family with whom young children make relationships, so making a significant contribution in their emotional development. Supported by my husband, I founded a small nursery school with a friend in Oxfordshire and today I am hugely proud to see some of my small pupils now in Oxbridge, studying across a wide range of disciplines from history to engineering. Our first pupil has become a designer and entrepreneur setting up his own lighting business at the age of 18 and last year, the nursery was acknowledged by the Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board. I have now moved on to teach young adults for their Montessori Early Childhood Diploma. Some will move into nursery schools or a range of therapies such as art, occupation or speech therapy. Others can follow a more academic route by studying child psychology or child development and others progress on to the Post Graduate Certificate in Education. For many of us however it is a chance to work with young children.

A job like no other, says Barbara Isaacs

Alex Michaelis took

time out after school to decide on his career

A design for life I

Leading lights

Architect Alex Michaelis talks about why you should become an Architect (and why you probably should not!)

spent most of my school years not having a clue as to what I wanted to be; I had a vague yearning to be a doctor. To this end I studied sciences against all

advice. I was even asked to give up maths A level after one year because I really could not grasp the subject. Myth number one about architecture is that you do not,

contrary to popular belief, need to be good at maths; you need basic maths but, in the design of buildings, the maths is for the engineer to work out. An engineer takes architects’ ideas and designs the skeleton that ensures the building stands up! After getting quite poor A-level results, I took some

time to work out what I was going to do. It was after coming back from Italy, where I was inspired by life drawing and the incredible buildings, that I decided to study architecture. This involves doing a three-year degree and one

year’s work experience in an architectural practice (termed part 1), followed by a two-year postgraduate

Diploma (termed part 2). Once your university studies are complete, and you have worked in an architect’s office for at least a year, you will take a practical examination (termed part 3) and become fully qualified and a member of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). After seven years of studying and a few years working for other people, I set up my own practice. An Architect does much more than design and

supervise the construction of buildings; the first thing you have master is persuading people to give you work, so you have to communicate well. Then you have to listen to your client as they describe what they want you to create for them. You need to translate 2D words into 3D spaces, and this is really why you spend seven years studying. The Architect has to draw up the building plans in great

detail – everything has to be designed and programmed in sequence so each layer is in the right place. Then you have to work with the builders to make sure they do everything correctly to translate the 2D drawings into a 3D- structure. When the project is complete you hand the finished building to the, hopefully, happy client. If you love drawing and are fascinated by buildings, sculpture or art, you may be interested in being an architect, but there are no rules. People with interests in all areas prior to university end up studying architecture. Autumn 2011 FirstEleven 49

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