Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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August 03, 2020

To mentor or not to mentor: That is the Question!

By Glenda Lubiner

“Learning to teach is a bigger job than universities, schools, experience, or personal disposition alone can accomplish.”                   

~ Sharon Feiman-Nemser

It is the beginning of a new school year and we have no clue what this year has in store for us. The new normal has now become just normal for most of us, but as we go back to school we need to realize that for some it is going to be a new normal. This wonderful group of people I’m speaking about are our new art educators. Whether they are working from home or at their school they will need help. As it is often said, “it takes a village!”

Think about being a mentor to those in need. Many first-year teachers are offered a mentor from their grade level or department, however, if you are a special area teacher (art, music, P.E., etc.), the likelihood of having a mentor in your content area is low, especially if you teach elementary or middle school.  These teachers often feel isolated. Of course, their mentor, if they have one, will explain the policies and procedures of the school, which is great, but what about things like how to manage an art room, what to order, and the day to day life of an art teacher.

Mentoring is a partnership and now is the time to use your leadership skills to make this partnership work. You say you’re not a leader! Nonsense! You are all leaders of your creative classrooms as you help and mentor your students daily. Thinking creatively and problem solving skills are things that novice teachers need just as much as your students. Sometimes, running ideas by a veteran teacher or just having time to talk, or vent, is just what the novice teacher might need to help her get through the week. Use your experience to provide these new teachers with an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. We’ve all been there, so we can all relate.

Stay Tuned for Part 2!

Keep on making art!



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