Welcome to the Jungle

Henri Rousseau
Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau’s work is categorized under the term Naivism. Naivism is art that is characterized by a child-like simplicity in its subject matter and technique. He achieved this style due to a lack of formal training. This connects perfectly with today’s reflective teacher prompt: How do you mentor teacher(s) at your school?

Schools are very much like Rousseau’s jungles in a simplistic sense. They are beautifully wild and colorful while at the same time held together by use of patterning, awkward, on the spot decisions to exhibit control, and constant attention to the many details of our school composition.

Just like Rousseau, we are untrained when it comes to mentoring other teachers. Whether we know it or not, I think we are all mentors and mentorees throughout our school year. Some of us are asked to take on this role and others take it upon themselves. It is a necessary element of surviving in our profession. We have to share with each other just like the monkeys in this grove.

I support a newly hired special education teacher across the hall. Most of the time I provide moral support-sometimes successfully and other times not so well. Part of my learning curve is to remember to stop what I am doing and simply listen. I don’t do very well with personal chit chat except for brief morning or after school moments. Now that I have a bit more time to focus on school at home, due to almost grown up sons, I am trying to remember that teaching is not the only thing I need to do well. I also need to take time to be in caring relationships with my colleagues even if it interrupts my planning time.

I actually do love mentoring and our district has positions available to support first year teachers. That position does intrigue me. Since I recently switched schools, my focus is on understanding this community for now.

On Tuesday I will place an orange on my desk and my colleague’s desk across the hall and hopefully remember to act on this reflection more often!


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