Books for the Teacher's Soul
As educators, we do a lot of reading. We read stories to students, read stacks of paperwork, and read articles for professional development. So, when do we read just to read? And if by some miracle we have downtime to read why on Earth would we want to read about teaching? Because it’s fun! There have been times when I was ready to rip my hair out after a long day at school, but reading one of the following books made me feel either inspired to go on or comforted that at least other teachers felt like that too. Reading a down-to-earth book about teaching can help to reinvigorate your teaching spirit and give you some great wisdom too. Below is a list of some of my favorite books about teaching that are sure to make you laugh, cry, and remember why you wanted to teach in the first place. Happy reading!
1. Inside Mrs. B’s Classroom: Courage, Hope, and Learning on Chicago’s South Side by Leslie Baldacci
“I thought I knew rough. I thought I had answers. I didn’t know jack.” (Baldacci) This book is the work of Leslie Baldacci who went from working as a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times to teaching at one of the roughest public schools in Chicago. It’s an insightful look into the public school system through the eyes of someone who actually decided to make a difference instead of just talk about it. The book is full of both heartbreaking and hilarious stories that all educators are sure to relate to. This is a great book to recharge your teaching batteries and remind you why you wanted to teach in the first place.
2. Waiting for “Superman” (DVD)
I love this documentary! So many times we are forced to watch specials about education and it’s all so clinical. Often the cast is full of administrators and “experts” that we’re sure haven’t actually stepped foot in a classroom in years. That’s why I like Waiting for “Superman” so much. One of the cast members is Geoffrey Canada (who I have the utmost admiration for) and he gives such an honest and unforgiving account of public education today that it really hits home. The stories, information, and statistics given in this documentary will really inspire you to do your best to help change the face of public education in the United States.
3. Holler If You Hear Me by Gregory Michie
I was first introduced to this book while working in the Ed. Dept. during my junior year at ISU. Michie was working as a professor there and we had a couple copies of the book in the office. I borrowed one to read and couldn’t put it down. His honest and thought-provoking account of working in the education system is punctuated with uncomfortable truths and seeds of hope. Both laughs and tears will flow as you follow his story about learning what being a teacher means.
4. Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith
I got this book for free in college and didn’t get around to reading it until my student teaching. I wish I had read it sooner! Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire is full of Esquith’s techniques on how to be a successful teacher, and more importantly, create successful students. A great read with lots of usable advice from one of America’s best teachers.
5. See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers by Roxanna Elden
This book contains stories from more than one hundred experienced teachers from around the country sharing their wisdom with both rookies and veterans alike. Every teacher will find something to relate to and most will be taking notes.
6. You Know You’re a Teacher If . . . by Char Forsten
This is a short quirky book that gives reminders to why we wanted to be teachers in the first place. It’s also short enough and simple enough for students to follow along with during story time.
7. What Makes a Good Teacher? Here’s What the Kids Say! By Donna Whyte
This book is a lighthearted read that takes a break from the serious stories and advice in most teaching books. It gives advice from kids about what makes a teacher great and reminds you that kids always remember the little things!
8. Why Are All the Good Teachers Crazy? by Frank Stepnowski
Many consider this to be one of the funniest books about being a teacher. It is filled with hilarious stories about what being a teacher really means and reminding us that it’s all worth it in the end.
9. Teaching With Love & Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk
I champion and recommend this book to everyone! Administrators, teachers, and parents can all benefit from reading this and employing its strategies. Not only do I use it in teaching, but also with my three year old niece! The book is bursting with techniques, strategies, and tips to help teachers enjoy success in the classroom and love their job!
Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
About Hannah T
I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.