10 Books that Will Make You a Better Teacher
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As a teacher, I consider myself a lifetime learner. I am constantly on the lookout for ways to improve my teaching, pedagogy, and skills. I want to make sure that I am making the biggest impact I can on each of my students’ lives. This is a great list of books I think every teacher needs to read throughout their career.
1. Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov
During my first year of teaching, this book was given to me as a gift as part of the district’s mentor program. It was the best gift I could’ve received that year. I attended a great teacher prep program, but learning about teaching is very different from actually teaching. This book helped me learn new strategies to engage my students and give me confidence as a new teacher. Teach Like a Champion also includes a DVD with clips of teachers demonstrating the techniques and practice activities at the end of each chapter.
2. The First Days of School by Harry K Wong
This book is a must-have for every teacher. After my first year of teaching, I still felt like I needed tons of support. After reading tons of reviews, I finally purchased this book. It’s like a road map for navigating the procedures and policies in your classroom. It breaks down the importance of the first day of school and how it can either make or break the rest of your school year. We want to set our classrooms up for success.
3. Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
I’ll be honest, when I first read this book I thought, “No way! I’m not doing that!” But I kept reading anyway, and I’m so glad I did. Burgess does an excellent job of showing the importance of engaging students in learning by bringing out your creativity as a teacher. After reading this book, I became more willing to step outside my comfort zone and draw my students in by showing them how passionate I was about their learning. If you’re willing to shake things up a bit, this book will transform your teaching.
4. Mindset: The New Technology of Success by Carol Dweck
Have you heard about growth mindset? It’s a buzzword in the education field right now, and for good reason. Carol Dweck is the brains behind the growth mindset movement. In Mindset: The New Technology of Success, Dweck explains that the way we approach tasks, either with a growth or fixed mindset, will pave our way for success or lack of. We want to encourage our students to have a growth mindset and foster student success.
This book most certainly changed the way I teach. This book taught me the basics of whole brain teaching and how to engage all of my students, even the ones who don’t want to be engaged.
6. The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson
For me, guided reading was a foreign language. It just wasn’t making sense and I was having a difficult time organizing my time and resources. The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading changed the way I teach guided reading and helped me see a clear picture of what guided reading is and what it does. If you have not yet mastered the art of guided reading, this book is for you. Even if you are an excellent guided reading teacher, there are always new strategies to learn.
7. I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kyle Schwartz
Often times, students have a difficult time opening up to adults. As teachers, it’s imperative that we understand our students and what motivates them or possibly restricts them from being engaged. I Wish My Teacher Knew reminds us that in order to understand our students better, we must build trust, break down walls, and overcome barriers.
8. The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer
I loved this book. It’s great for both new teachers and teachers who’ve been in the field for a while. During my first year of teaching, I struggled with balancing the demands of being a classroom teacher and the stress of having a classroom full of difficult students. I wanted to give up and start a whole new career and I hadn’t even been teaching for more than 6 months. This book helped me reflect on the reasons I became a teacher in the first place and why I shouldn’t give up so easily. It helped me persevere through a difficult year.
9. Letters to a New Teacher by Jim Burke
Letters to a New Teacher is also a great read for new teachers. The author and a teacher he’s mentoring exchange letters. It’s great to see the struggles of a new teacher and the practical advice of a seasoned teacher. This book helped me think about how I was planning and organizing my lessons and helped me evaluate my teaching beliefs.
10. How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
The author, Paul Tough, does an excellent job of examining the connection between student success and research in economics, psychology, and neuroscience. I love authors that provide a scientific basis for their reasoning. The focus shifts from student IQ to student character and outlook. A great read for every teacher.
What books do you recommend for teachers? Be sure to check out, Tips for your First Year of Teaching!