I set my alarm clock for 5.55am - everything starts at dawn here. The first thing I do when I wake up is pray. Then I go straight to the kitchen to put the coffee on. I can't go without my morning coffee.
I wake up my daughters, go back to the kitchen and get their breakfasts and backpacks ready. While they get themselves bathed and dressed, I go to the courtyard, water the plants and tidy up the house a little.
We leave about 7.20am. If my husband can't take us, we find a motorbike taxi. On the way to work I drop one of my girls off at primary school and carry on to Dream, the school in Cabarete where I work in the Montessori programme. My other daughter also takes classes here as part of the Estrellas Jvenes y Msica (Young Stars and Music) scheme, which supports the development of students from public schools.
We arrive at about 7.45am. The first person I see in the doorway is Chiche, the caretaker. I greet him and go to the office to sign in. I clean the equipment in my classroom, making sure everything is in order and ready before the students arrive. Once I've finished preparing, I sit down with my classroom partner Jos Miguel and we review our plan for the day and coordinate the themes we are going to cover.
The children start to arrive at 8.15am. My partner and I share the welcoming duties, so one of us is at the door, greeting each child with a handshake. The other one is inside the classroom, assigning them tasks as they enter.
Once all the students are seated, we choose one child at a time to introduce a piece of equipment - it may be something related to practical life, personal care or movement. After this, each student works on an activity alone and my partner and I go around the classroom talking to them individually.
After a short while, we ring the bell for a break and a snack, and the children wash their hands and go to the dining room. The teachers accompany them outside. When we get back, we sit in a circle to sing and introduce the theme of the day.
After this, the children go back to their work. During this time, I sit with the older children to read in groups of two or three. As I do this, my partner continues going around the room to each child and introducing new tasks to those who have finished with their last activity.
At 11am we go back to the circle and have a feedback session for the day; the children talk about what they have learned and what they have worked on. Then they start to get ready, putting their shoes on and waiting for their parents.
For the remaining 30 minutes we reinforce the reading work and go over the sounds of syllables and the formation of words. This part is one of my initiatives - added on to the Montessori curriculum - and it makes me feel so good because every day I see growing evidence of how well the students are learning to read.
In the afternoon I repeat the same activities with another class. By the time I am ready to leave it is about 5pm. I collect my daughters and we go home.
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