Must Read Books for Every TeacherHey, y'all! I've been doing a lot of reading lately and most of them have books about teaching. Some of them have been amazing and some of them…well not so much. With all of the choices of reading material out there, I wanted to share some of my personal favorites.
In my humble opinion, there are six books that every educator should read during their teaching career. Mainly when you feel like you need inspiration, motivation, or (basically) a reason to keep teaching. (We've all had those days!) There are many more awesome books about teaching, and this list certainly isn't the end-all, but it is a beginning if you're looking to grow your mindset about your teaching style.
This post includes affiliate links.
1. The Wild Card
Yes, I know I've written about this book before, but it really is wonderful book to get you thinking about how you can bring your own passions and creativity into your classroom. Don't feel you're very creative? By the end of this book, you will. I read it the first time in one weekend. I'm now going back and reading a chapter at a time to discuss the big ideas with other teachers at my school. It's that powerful. Reading it once quickly was great to get the big picture, but going back to absorb it all apply it is powerful.
"You have to decide how you will breathe life into your curriculum, regardless of what it is."
"You have to teach standards, that's a given. But standards don't determine how you deliver the content—and it's your delivery method that drives engagement."
"Predictable will never equal magical."
2. Move Your Bus
Are you ready to become a teacher leader? Or a better one? Move Your Bus illustrates the types of teachers (or workers in any profession) that you will run into: from the people that drive the organization to those that are just along for the ride. This book will inspire you to get up and steer your school into a positive direction. Ron Clark's writing is powerful and thought provoking and perfect for anyone ready to get motivated and to motivate others.
"You can spend your time at our school however you choose, but you can spend it only once."
"There is one thing that will make me more proud of them than anything else. That simple act is to uplift one another."
3. Kids Deserve It
Kids Deserve It is the new Chicken Soup for the Soul, Teachers Edition. When you forget why you started, this is the book to read. It will challenge you to think outside of your everyday interactions with your students and to take everything in your classroom to the next level. You will be inspired to bring the energy, excitement, and compassion into the classroom. (We hope you already do, but we all need reminders at times.) This book is a quick read (I read it on a flight from Austin to San Diego) but will be a game changer for you. A word of warning though: if you're even the slightest bit emotional, keep some tissues nearby. The stories of students in this book will pull at your heartstrings.
"We live in a world where we can no longer claim ignorance—only an unwillingness to learn."
"How dare we ask our students to show up every day and learn if we're not learning and pushing ourselves?"
"If you want to be remembered, choose to be different—and be remembered for the impact your choice makes on your students. Dare to take the risks necessary to inspire kids to see their limitless potential and push their own envelopes one day."
"Our job is to focus on kids, not spreadsheets, and to be awesome all of the time."
"When you create imaginative and engaging lessons grounded in the learning standards, kids are more apt to behave well so they don't miss out."
"Culturize: To cultivate a community of learners by behaving in a kind, caring, honest, and compassionate manner in order to challenge and inspire each member fo the school community to become more than they ever thought possible." Every teacher is a leader. Every teacher is responsible for the school's moral, yes every one of them. I always tell my students, "If you don't like where you are, move. You're not a tree." The same holds true for your school. If you don't want to be there, why would your students? If you want to make it better, do it. Culturize will show you how and motivate you to get on it. Don't waste your time complaining about the culture of your school. Change it.
"As school teachers and leaders, it is our responsibility to prohibit average from becoming our standard."
"No one person is responsible for determining your success or failure but you, and no one is responsible for your morale but you."
"The difference between today and tomorrow is us."
"What would you do differently if you were not afraid? What is keeping you from going for it?"
5. The Essential 55
Now, The Essential 55 is very different from the other books in this list. It is not an inspirational book per se, though it is full of inspiration. It is however, a list of rules, or guidelines, every student must follow in order to be successful. Yes, 55 classroom rules. But not really. They are more behavior expectations that will lead to success in school and in life. Many of them are manners that used to be common sense but have fallen by the wayside in recent years. Things like making eye contact, responding when people talk to you, being thankful when receiving something, shaking hands, holding doors for others, and greeting people with respect are included in this list. Other things, like classroom procedures are listed as well. "Transitions will be swift, quiet, and orderly," is one of my personal favorites.
Also discussed in this book is tips for dealing with parents and setting rewards and punishments for students.
"…the rules are more than about getting kids to behave; they're about preparing kids for what awaits them after they leave my classroom. It is about preparing them to handle any situation they may encounter and giving them the confidence to do so."
6. Disrupting Thinking
Disrupting Thinking is a book that focuses on reading, but really the principles can be applied to the reading required in any subject area. Reading should not only be about what the text says, but also about what the reader brings to the text and what he or she gets out of it. In science or social studies classes, students are expected to read and answer questions about the text, but it is the connections that the student makes with the material that makes it stick long term. While this text is geared toward reading teachers, EVERY subject area teacher should read this and apply these strategies. And, as the title suggests, it really will disrupt your thinking about reading.
"We need students who can do more than answer questions; today's complex world requires that our next generation of leaders be able to raise questions."
"We ask students why Jess took Maybelle to Terabithia when we should be asking how Terabitihia has changed their understanding of who they, the readers are."
"It is only when they link that text to their own experiences that the text will begin to matter, and it may then evoke more rigorous attention, reflection, and analysis."
"Rigor without relevance is simply hard. We've made a mistake in beginning a conversation about raising the rigor without having a conversation about developing relevance."
As stated before, there are many other amazing books for teaching inspiration and motivation, but these are my personal top 6. The Teach, Lead, Learn, and Explore Like a Pirate books are also worthy of reading, as well as The Excellent 11, Readicide, and many, many more.
What books would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.