My good friend and amazing teacher Andrea says school is fake. What she means is that everything we do in school is to prepare us for the real world. Skills, knowledge, rules and procedures have no value in and of themselves. School is the training ground for someday putting them into practice authentically. The playground, the cafeteria and the hallways are just as much a part of our schooling as the classrooms with the whiteboards and the desks. Our job as a mentor is to guide children to connect the dots between the abstract concepts of the classroom and their real-life applications in the world. The school building provides their first foray into that real world.
A monitor stops a child running down the hallway and reminds them to walk. A mentor sees this simple rule as a way to teach children how to behave in public spaces, how to respect others and think how his behavior affects the safety and comfort of others. I don't know, maybe I am reaching too far. But when I have these kinds of simple conversations with kids that explain the logic and purpose of why we do the things we do, I feel as if I am contributing to a world free of obnoxious drivers, loud neighbors and inconsiderate people who don't want to wait their turn in the movie line.