I am a Montessori child, and I am proud of it. Maria Montessori founded the Montessori philosophy of schooling because she believed in the importance of independent exploration, natural development, and a hands-on approach to learning. I am very fortunate to have attended Montessori schools from the early age of 2 up until eighth grade. I heartily believe that my early education greatly affected the way I view school and my motivation for learning to this day.
The Montessori philosophy does not include the concept of “grades.” Progress is instead measured on an individual basis. For this reason, during a large portion of my education, I had no extrinsic motivation to do schoolwork. All the effort I put into doing schoolwork was a result of pure enthusiasm for learning and creating. I wrote many papers, I made many poster presentations, and I took many test-like assessments: all ungraded.
Thus, as a child, I didn’t really think about why I was doing this work or what I would receive for doing it; I just assumed that schoolwork was to be done for the sake of gaining an understanding of a concept, and that reason was enough for me to do it. Instead of worrying about an ultimate letter or number on my academic record, I spent those years broadening my knowledge of many subjects, because that was the goal, not an “A+.”
In high school and college, grades are inevitably existent. It is necessary to earn certain grades so that one can succeed in one’s future endeavors. Unfortunately, this can too often become students’ primary focus, neglecting the overarching purpose of schooling. I too feel the pressure to perform well in my courses; however, thanks to my particular educational background, I am able to achieve those grades through my desire to truly understand my course material.
My Montessori education has prepared me well for the pre-medical track, because it taught me to expand my knowledge and pursue a deep understanding of concepts. Because of Montessori, I welcome academic challenges.
Rather than seek out easier alternatives, I prefer to take the route that allows me to get the most out of my education; I find that this sets me apart from many other pre-medical students, who see challenging courses as repulsive obstacles instead of opportunities to learn.
The medical career path asks a lot of its potential candidates, not only while they are in school, but beyond that. Medical careers are dynamic; I am still a Montessori child who is very enthusiastic about delving into a field where exploration and learning for the sake of adding to existing knowledge is a continuous process that will not end when I receive my diploma.