It is true that teachers learn more on the job than they do in a classroom. However, they are some key books that need to be cracked open if you’re just getting started in this profession. It’s time to open an Amazon account, break out your highlighter and curl up with some of these gems. Here are the 10 best books for new teachers:
1. The First-Year Teacher’s Checklist: A Quick Reference for Classroom Success by Julia G. Thompson
“Few forces of nature can equal a dedicated teacher.” Right you are Julia G. Thompson. She herself wonders how between multi-tasking, entertaining and nurturing, we actually do it all. Her book “The First-Year Teacher’s Checklist” provides a concise overview of some of the most pressing issues facing teacher’s today. Highlights include how make a positive connection with each of your students, how to be the consummate professional among your colleagues, and how to design cohesive instruction that will appeal to all students. This is a handy reference to keep on your desk all year.
2. The Organized Teacher: A Hands-on Guide to Setting Up & Running a Terrific Classroom by Steve Springer, Brandy Alexander, and Kimberly Persiani
Steve Springer starts this faithful companion to many teachers by saying that we often lose sight of the fact that we are “the most important element in the classroom. Without us, learning does not take place.” He follows up with reminding us not to overextend ourselves and never forget about self-care. He humorously breaks down the anatomy of a teacher; from eyes in the back of their heads, to ears that have compassion and hearts that provide nurturing environments. You’ll even get an overview of students at every grade level and how their anatomy often gives insight into the type of learner they are.
3. The Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide by Erin Gruwell
No doubt you may have seen the awesome Hilary Swank flick, but it all started in room 203 with a first year teacher. Erin Gruwell was unprepared for the realities facing her students, including firsthand exposure to broken homes, violence and drugs. When a student wanted to know what a particular book had to do with his own life, Gruwell challenged her students to write their own stories. It was through these stories that she built a classroom community based on the principles of teaching tolerance, encouraging collaboration, activating prior knowledge, expecting accountability and celebrating success.
4. The New Teacher Book: Finding Purpose, Balance and Hope During Your First Years in the Classroom by Rethinking Schools
Teaching is a lifelong challenge, but the first few years in the classroom are usually the most difficult. This collection of writings will help educators sustain the passion and ideals that led them to teaching. You will hear sound advice offers on how to navigate the school system, form helpful relationships with colleagues, and connect with students and families from all backgrounds.
5. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg
Julie Danneburg’s hilarious picture book puts us all in a place we’ve been before…the start of something new and uncertain. Sarah Jane Hartwell refuses to get out of bed and go to school. She doesn’t know anyone and she just assumes she will hate it. Mr. Hartwell eventually gets her to face her fears. “Just think of all the new friends you will meet,” he says. The bright illustrations take us on a journey through her first day antics. It’s a very familiar story with a touching surprise ending.
6. The Exceptional Teacher’s Handbook: The First-Year Special Education Teacher’s Guide to Success by Carla Shelton and Alice Pollingue
You do not have to be a special education teacher to read this exceptional book. Carla Shelton and Alica Pollingue begin with a quote from master teacher Annie Sullivan. “The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed.” Many teachers do not in fact see the difference they make right away, which sees many of them leaving the profession after a year or two. This book guides you locate a mentor teacher to ask for help, and allocate time for reflecting. Shelton and Pollingue will show you instructional strategies for getting the most out of your students and planning alternate assessments for all learners.
7. The First Year Teacher: Be Prepared for Your Classroom by Karen Bosch
Karen Bosch hopes to prepare teachers for the transition from their campus to their classroom with this guide that links teacher preparation programs to first-year teacher experience. She goes by the philosophy that if a teacher is effective, this will inevitably improve student learning. What is unique about this read is that it begins with the application process and how to go about landing your first teaching gig. It’s time to write that resume and create a detailed portfolio.
8. Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell
No doubt you have heard of Fountas and Pinnell’s guided reading system. This is a must read for all new educators. This book addresses how teachers can provide emerging readers with specific material that fits their individual learning needs. The authors have conducted countless research on early literacy. In addition, the book focuses on the importance of assessing students and grouping them accordingly.
9. A Fabulous First Year and Beyond: A Practical Guide for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers by Vanessa J. Levin
No matter what grade you teach, Vanessa Levin hopes to serve as the “teacher next door” for those of you seeking help for your daily challenges in the classroom. She laments that we endure long hours, low pay and few supplies and resources. Levin says she will feel successful if she makes your teaching experience just that much easier. She begins Feng Shui style. It all begins with room décor, which offers students a comfortable and engaging place to learn. If a teacher is indeed successful, Levin advises, students’ brains will expect learning to be positive. We are entrusted with the minds of young people which is a true gift unto itself.
10. The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher by Harry Wong and Rosemary T. Wong
The dedication page alone will give you goosebumps. Harry K.Wong gives a shout-out to his parents, who hoped he would become a brain surgeon. He proudly states that he “exceeded their expectations and became a teacher and a scholar.” Rosemary K. Wong highlighting a principal who said she needed “better classroom management skills.”
From these brilliant minds comes the book that the book is used in thousands of school districts, in over 120 countries, and in over 2,114 college classrooms, and has been translated into 5 languages. This inspiring work starts with the key idea that every successful teacher has a plan for the first day of school. Also there are three characteristics to being an effective teacher; “having positive expectations for student success, being an extremely good classroom manager, and knowing how to design lessons for student mastery.”
What do you think are the best books for new teachers? Please share in the comments.