How to Thrive in Teaching: One Educator's Journey
Programming note: Tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at 7 p.m. ET we will be hosting a live web chat with Meenoo Rami, author of the recently published book Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching. If you're a regular visitor to this site (or a number of other education-related online venues), you're probably aware of Meenoo. She's an English teacher at the Science Leadership Academy, a magnet high school in Philadelphia that has officially become a model for "deeper-learning" initiatives, and co-chair of the school's annual EduCon conference. She's also the founder and coordinator of #engchat, a popular weekly Twitter discussion for English teachers, and a regular contributor to all manner of vital teacher-related forums.
So she's someone who seems to know whereof she speaks when it comes to thriving in teaching. But it turns out she wasn't always this way. In her book, she describes her early struggles in teaching in terms that will probably sound painfully familiar to many educators:
The sheer exhaustion from long days of teaching, grading, and planning would leave me depleted, and I would have to push myself to find the strength to continue giving my best effort to my students. However, sometimes my best effort would not even be enough, and I would have this dreadful feeling that I wasn't fully prepared to teach on that particular day. Giving anything less than best learning experiences to my students would leave me ridden with guilt. ... I would question my decision to enter the classroom and generally feel like I had gotten lost at some point in my life and maybe had taken a wrong turn to arrive here in a classroom.
The bulk of her book, fortunately, tells the story of how exactly she got out of this funk and discovered her "own power to find meaning, solve complex problems, and make meaningful connections ..." She explains that this process involved five central components: Turning to mentors, building networks, keeping her work intellectually challenging, staying true to her values, and empowering her students. She has some some quite original insights to share in each of these areas.
So if you're a teacher who's struggling or someone who supports teachers who are struggling, please join us for the chat. This is a great opportunity to get feedback and advice from someone who's made the journeyand lived to write a well-received book about it. You can sign up for an email reminder here. The chat will be open for advance questions tomorrow morning.