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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November 03, 2020

A Season of Reflection

By Lark Keeler

As the earth moves into a season of slumber, it gives us a moment as educators to pause and feel the change in the air and to respond to the call of rest and reflection.  Just as the earth begins its time of sleep set to wake in the spring, we too turn inward and reflect upon the past summer months and the start of this unusual school year. 

As the teacher experiences seasons, Fall is a time to start anew.  It is the moment of anticipation for a new school year filled with the potential of facilitating growth, development, innovation, creativity, and expressive making.  Let us take a moment to reflect upon the growth and development that we have had as educators in so many novel ways in which we now guide learners, even before we marvel at the flexibility of our students and their accomplishments in the start of this peculiar year. 

This is the season of reflection.  November brings us the reminders of harvest and gratitude.  I find myself thankful for the opportunities and learned skills this school year has delivered.  I couldn’t have guessed that my profession would look as it does.  What skills have you developed to remain an effective and inspiring educator?  Give gratitude for the chance to learn and grow, evolving as an educator and meeting the call with courage. 

The month of November encourages us to begin the routine of declaring gratitude.  Science tells us that a gratitude journal increases our happiness.  Keep a sketchbook or notebook near your bed.  In the evening, jot down a few things that you are grateful for.  Even if you choose not to write down, or sketch the things you are grateful for, just listing them in your mind promotes wellness.  

Reflect upon the people you need to tell, “thank you.”  Consider sending a handmade postcard or handwritten letter.  In these times when many feel isolated, contemplate who you know that could use a “thanks.”  It will do you just as much good as the receiver of your thoughtful words. 

-LK

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