Spotlight Zeda-Jailynn Suswal from Mission Montessori
Zeda-Jailynn Suswal is the founding teacher at Mission Montessori.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams?
Hi there! My name is Zeda-Jailynn Suswal. I have a big interest in all things people and relationships. I love watching how people interact with each other and the world. Children are so lovely to be around each day because of their insights and perspective on life.
I came to teaching back in the summer of 2002. Selfishly I travelled to China to teach English as a second language. Honestly, I was allured by this program because of the travel aspect and knew nothing of teaching then, but I quickly realized that it was not just the travel I loved, but the teaching was somewhat of a calling. I went on to continue my love of both by teaching in Italy and Venezuela. I finally became a certified Special Education Teacher in Chicago Public Schools, discovered Montessori and am now truly at home.
Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: What’s your favorite color?
Green – any shade
Q: Do you have a favorite book? How about a film?
Too many books to name a favorite, and that always depends on mood no? Same with film, but I have to say one that really sticks with me is Alan Arkin in Wait Until Dark…..soooo good!
Q: When you close your eyes late at night, and imagine waking up and starting a new adventure: what is that adventure?
Travel, always travel – nationally or internationally – there are so many places to see, food to eat, music to hear and people to get to know – see a new perspective.
Q: What first appealed to you about Montessori?
The independence of the children, the microcosm of the real world, the trust, respect and the kindness reciprocally given and taken between all members of the mini community.
Q: What advice do you have for new Montessori adults?
Embrace the ‘organized chaos’, stick with it, take the leap of faith, be patient (it’s a LONG journey) and enjoy!
Q: Did you have a “Montessori Moment?”
Juniper: “Hey Zeda, I have a joke for you that i made up! What is an insect’s favorite Montessori material?
Daphne: (other student who was standing nearby) “I know! I know! Is it metal insets? Get it? Metal Insects? HeeHee.”
Q: What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
Again, so many…but I do like this one:
“The purpose of life is to obey the hidden command which ensures harmony among all and creates an ever better world. We are not created only to enjoy the world, we are created in order to evolve the cosmos.” – Maria Montessori
Q: What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
Well, I want to say that I’m not a parent, so I understand the home is quite different than a classroom environment. However, I would say don’t be afraid to let them try – try everything. I think you will be surprised at how CAPABLE little humans are.
Q: What do you think is the best introduction to Montessori?
There are many books like Montessori Today, Montessori: A Modern Approach, The Absorbent Mind, The Secret of Childhood etc. or movies like Edison’s Day. I suppose it’s best to visit classrooms and talk to students who are educated with this method and parents who send their children to Montessori schools.
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
Q: In what ways do you envision the future of education?
I hope that the future of education sees more diversity in race, socio-economic status or children with higher academic, social or emotional needs mixed together as I believe it’s the children who are the best teachers to one another.
Q: Where do you see Montessori in the next 100 years?
I have a hope that Montessori education will be for all, outside of just private schools. And, if in public schools, have more room to fulfill its potential with less constraints on what is ‘expected’ from the state, but incorporate all the beauty Montessori Education has to offer into what we hope for the children of tomorrow.
Written by:Charlotte Snyder