Spotlight Post: Andrew Sautter
Andrew is passionate about Montessori and loves how Montessori allows children to learn in a way that does not feel intimidating. Not just academics, but life skills as well. Check out his spotlight post to learn more.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: I was born in NW Ohio and have lived in the area most of my life. A five-year stay in Mississippi introduced me to new foods. I graduated from Perrysburg High School, Owens Community College, and Bowling Green State University. I met my wife in 2006 and we married in 2007. This year has been a busy one. We moved to a bigger house so that we could become foster parents and now have two children at home. I am a Star Wars fan, love crab legs and steak, and enjoy spoiling my bearded dragon.
Q: What do you love about Montessori?
A: Montessori allows children to learn in a way that does not feel intimidating. Not just academics, but life skills as well. They learn by doing. They are trusted to be shown the bigger picture and how things are all interconnected without treating them as if they cannot handle it. Students are encouraged to pursue materials and lessons of interest to develop curiosity and a desire to learn more. I love that students are given choices and encouraged to be instrumental in creating conflict resolution. The Montessori environment encourages development of the whole child and watching that process is a wonderful sight.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: “When in doubt, do SOMETHING.” – Harry Chapin
I have tried to live by this quote and pass it on to students. When faced with indecision, gather the wisdom you have and make a choice. It is sad to let opportunities pass by because someone is paralyzed by indecision. Take charge of life by making choices rather than having choices made for you.
Q: What is your favorite Montessori quote?
A: “Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul.” – Maria Montessori
I can appreciate this quote as I see the truth in those words. It is important to be able to see the joy on the faces of the children of all ages in classrooms, hallways, outdoors… children enjoying what they are doing at school. The need to feel useful is quite evident in their eager willingness to help others. The glowing pride on their faces after completing a project also reinforces the truth of Maria’s quote. West Side enables children to nourish their souls in ways I have not seen in other academic institutions.
Q: What first appealed to you about Montessori?
A: When I first learned of an opening at West Side, I decided to investigate what Montessori was before applying. I quickly realized there was a LOT to the philosophy and I was not prepared to apply. Instead, I took a teaching job elsewhere. However, what I learned about Montessori intrigued me enough to continue reading and learning. I was amazed by how much I was saying, “Well, that makes sense. I believe in that. Why isn’t this being done more often?” The following year, when I learned of an opening at West Side again, I jumped at the opportunity to become part of the family. I was fortunate enough to be included and have happily remained ever since. Although my official Montessori training has been completed, one truly never stops learning and I continue to learn about the philosophy and how to apply new ideas and concepts in the classroom.
Q: What advice do you have for new or prospective Montessori families?
A: Be patient and watch carefully what goes on inside the school. While Montessori has been called a philosophy where “kids can do whatever they want, so there is no structure and total chaos,” that is far from the truth. Students often do have freedom of choice and movement but the structure of that freedom is solid and reinforced so chaos is not a disrupting factor to learning. The structure allows growth and development of both body and mind in a safe, guided environment that is very much under control of the teachers. When taking the time to observe what is happening in classrooms, it almost seems like magic. But the true magic is that the structure and environment is allowing students to develop responsibilities, explore their interests, investigate curiosities, gain a sense of self, learn boundaries, develop skills and gain knowledge in a way that is exciting and appealing to students which keeps them wanting more.
Q: What motivated you to go into teaching/working at a school?
A: For years, I have been told that I would make a good teacher. I have been called patient, compassionate, understanding, and that I am careful to explain things step-by-step. Once I decided to pursue an education career, I wondered why I had not thought of it earlier. I love to see young minds developing and the confidence newfound knowledge and skills can bring.
( Andrew and his students attempting to win the Guinness World Record for the most ice cream scoops balanced on a cone at our annual Sweet September Sundae)
Q: How do students inspire/motivate you?
A: I am inspired every day. The smiles I see, the happy faces, the excitement to be called to a lesson, the love of learning, the appreciation I feel from students, the anticipation students have of an upcoming lesson, the pride of students accomplishing something challenging… the students truly inspire me to keep going. Each year, I am motivated to find ways to present lessons better, more interesting, more exciting the following year.
West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.