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My Montessori Journey

My name is Michael Gresham. I am a native of the fine city of Greenwood, South Carolina. I
attended Greenwood High School and decided to stay in my neck of the woods for college, so I
attended Lander University. I have a degree in Elementary Education. While growing up, Ive
been known to be a comical, very down-to-Earth, laid-back person. Ive also had a variety of
hobbies that Ive enjoyed throughout the years including: football (played in middle school and
two years in high school), music (I was also a band student, playing the saxophone from 6th-12th
grade.), cooking, and now Im starting to travel more. Ive been to Canada and I have completely
fell in love! Im excited to return to Canada during our spring break.
During my first year teaching at Boundary Street Elementary School in Newberry, South
Carolina, I was asked to do a peer observation in the Upper Elementary Montessori class. The
teacher welcomed me into the classroom and showed me around and some of the activities she
was doing. While observing, it amazed me at how the Montessori class ran. I wanted to know
more about Montessori, so my observations in her classroom were quite frequent. Towards the
end of my first year in a traditional 5th grade setting, it was announced that Gallman Elementary
School was going to need an Upper Elementary Montessori teacher for the next year, as the
teacher in the classroom that year, decided to return to traditional setting. I thought about it, but I
thought that it was too early to try and move schools, plus, it was only my first year of teaching.
The Upper Elementary teacher continued to try to persuade me to do it, but I was hesitant. One
day, the principal at Boundary Street called me to her office. She told me that I really needed to
pursue the Montessori job offer. She had put in word to the Assistant Superintendent of
Instruction about coming to interview me for the job. The next week, I was interviewed and ten
minutes after the interview, I was informed I would be moving schools and I was going to move
from 5th grade to Upper Elementary Montessori.
I chose to participate in Upper Elementary Montessori, because I love working with older
children, primarily 4th grade-8th grade. In our district, Upper Elementary composes of 4th and 5th
grade. The children are independent and you can have fun in their learning experiences. Lander
University, as mentioned, was my location for undergraduate. It had such an impact on me
during the first four years, that I had no problems returning to Lander for Montessori training.
Currently, I am teaching Upper Elementary Montessori at Gallman Elementary School in
Newberry County School District. This year, my classroom is composed of only thirteen
students. I have six fourth graders and seven fifth graders. I thought I was not going to love a
small class, but I have fell in love with it! Our school is part of the inner-city cluster including
Newberry Elementary and Boundary Street Elementary. Our student population is primarily of
lower S.E.S. students and free and reduced lunch. This year during the practicum, I will be
completing this phase of certification in my own classroom.