NEWBERRY — Marie Robinson’s enthusiasm was elevated last Thursday when a television camera popped into her primary Montessori classroom at Boundary Street Elementary to present her a Golden Apple award.
“I was just teaching and they just popped right in,” she said. “There was Ms. (Darci) Strickland, the cameraman and Ms. (Kim) Hamilton (Boundary Street’s principal) and a couple of friends came down. It was a big surprise. I was so glad they visited and were able to see the kids and talk with them.”
Robinson is in her 28th year teaching with the Newberry County School District and currently teaches 3-4-5 year olds in the primary Montessori classes. Prior to that she taught kindergarten and a year of pre-kindergarten. She has also taught at Newberry Elementary and the former Speers Street.
In fact, while at Speers Street, she and the other Golden Apple teacher honored this month, Doris Coggins, taught at the same school.
Robinson said Strickland told her she got a few nominations which is nice to be recognized for something she enjoys.
“It’s a thrill, an honor because we do what we do everyday because we love it and the kids. It’s good to have any program that recognizes teachers for their work. We try to be the best we can be,” she said.
Robinson went into teaching because she used to work with children at her church in Sunday school and decided to pursue this career. She is glad she did.
“That’s why I still teach because of the kids and the newness and excitement of kids when they learn something,” she said.
Robinson adds that it’s also neat to be teaching a second generation.
As for teaching Montessori, she has been teaching for about 11 years since it began in the school district.
“I think that Montessori makes all the kids good,” explained Robinson, adding that a common misconception is that Montessori is only for certain children.
“I love that its individualized. I set up the classroom and show lessons and the kids make it their own. I can cheer them on,” said Robinson. “Instead of time spent listening, they spend a lot of time doing and the kids natural curiosity is met. It gives the kids what they need to be successful.”
Robinson heard about Montessori through a presentation at Lander University and she said that it really resonated with her because of the individualized teaching.
“I had kind of started doing that on my own and when I heard that, I was like ‘wow.’ I fell in love with it knowing that I would have kids more than a year and could work with the kids as needed,” she said.
Robinson said Montessori founder, Dr. Maria Montessori, was a very intelligent woman. She even has a picture of her in her classroom.
She said she’s not a big math fan but she likes the way Montessori math is taught.
“When you see what the kids can do, it’s pretty amazing,” said Robinson.