Towards a spatial 'self-help' map for teaching living in a rural context
For many teachers, an appointment to a rural school is their first experience of living and working in a context where they are highly visible and are likely to be known of and known about by far more people than they know of and know about. Space for 'making errors' and recovering from them without impairment to becoming an effective teacher, is very limited compared to teachers and other professionals who work in cities and can become largely anonymous once they leave their working contexts. The concept of a mental map is derived from the author's own experience as a teacher in a rural town and Soja's challenge to think differently about space and spatiality. It focuses on three domains- personal, professional and public-and is presented as a way of supporting teachers to navigate and negotiate rural places which, contrary to some popular views, are very complex and challenging.