I first "met" Meenoo on Twitter as #engchat was one of the first Twitter chats I participated in. It was the one that hooked me on Twitter chats because it taught me just how powerful these conversations could be. And Meenoo INVENTED #engchat. I remember her telling me when I finally met her in person at NCTE one year, that she created a talk for teachers on Twitter as a way to give back to the community that has given her so much. I realized then what a generous and genuine person Meennoo is. She mentioned that she was thinking of writing a book and I knew that whatever book she would write, I would buy it. I knew that whatever she had to say would be thoughtful and important.
There couldn't be a better time for Meenoo to share her voice on the topic of (re)invigorating our teaching lives. It is easy to be tired about our work these days -- tired from the mandates and the politics and the testing and the criticism. And Meennoo describes, with honesty, how lonely this work can be if we don't reach out. Then she reminds us how wonderfully energizing our work can be when we do reach out. I love that this book focuses on the people in our lives.
I love this book because after 27 years, it totally resonated with me. I think no matter how long you've been teaching--20 days or 20 years, there are ruts in our teaching lives. There are times when staying energized gets hard and times that we feel alone, no matter how many wonderful colleagues we have. Meenoo talks about those first few years of teaching and how lonely they often were, how isolated she sometimes felt. But she took charge of her teaching and her learning and reached out and found people to learn with.
And I love this book because it reminded me of mentors and I love the way that Meenoo thinks about them. She talks honestly about mentors who were assigned to her and she shares mentors who have been part of her teaching life. I love that she doesn't talk about one mentor but the idea that we need lots of mentors and each mentors us in a different way.
Meeoo is someone you want to follow. Her book is powerful but so is her blog and her Twitter feed (@meenoorami). She shares thoughtfully and generously and invites us all into the network she has created-- a network of learners who thrive in even the toughest times.