5 Recommended books for new teachers
If it’s the summer before your first year teaching, you’re probably wondering if you’re ready and what you can do to get more prepared. I’ve scoured my resources to come up with five books I recommend taking a look at the summer before your first year teaching.
All of these recommended books were chosen for their practicality with the exception of Educated: A Memoir, which was chosen for it’s narrative. They are in no particular order.
When I was a new teacher, my district purchased The First Days of School for all first year teachers. I like this book because it is relevant to new teachers (and even veteran teachers) at all levels, k-12. I also like that it gives specific strategies teachers can use in “the first days of school” and is not heavy in theory or rhetoric. When I was a new teacher, I found the chapter on classroom management particularly helpful.
Of course I’m going to recommend my book A Wannabe Teacher’s Guide: Getting Hired, Having Fun, & Staying Sane (shameless plug). The whole reason I wrote this book was because I couldn’t find anything else out there that met my needs as a new teacher. New teachers will find the checklists (which I recommend you rip right out of the book and use on your desk) particularly helpful. I also include multiple sample letters to parents (1st day, if a child is failing, etc.) and a sample syllabus because I wish I’d had those things as a new teacher.
A Wannabe Teacher’s Guide: Getting Hired, Having Fun, & Staying Sane is short, to the point, conversational, and practical. I recommend reading it prior to the start of your first year so you know what resources it contains and you can refer back to them and use them when the time arises.
I’m recommending Everything a New Elementary School Teacher REALLY Needs to Know (But Didn’t Learn in College) because it serves elementary school teachers. A Wannabe Teacher’s Guide can be helpful to all teachers, but is really most useful to middle and high school teachers. Everything a New Elementary School Teacher REALLY Needs to Know does a great job of focusing in on the needs of elementary educators.
I also chose this book for it’s practicality. The tips are actionable things you can do to improve your first year. For example, writing an agenda on the board for parent teacher night so you can use it to remind yourself of what you want to talk about when you are nervous in front of the parents.
We covered the needs of middle and high school teachers with A Wannabe Teacher’s Guide and the needs of elementary teachers with Everything a New Elementary School Teacher REALLY Needs to Know, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include a title for special educators. Being a special education teacher comes with its own challenges and rewards.
I’ve chosen The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers because it bridges the gap between training and classroom specifically for special education teachers. I think the chapter on collaboration is particularly relevant to special educators because most will be on a team with one or more regular education teachers and that team dynamic can be tricky to navigate, especially in the beginning. There is a chapter about this in A Wannabe Teacher’s Guide, but The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers goes more in depth on this topic.
A book doesn’t get a 4.5 rating and 297,163 votes on GoodReads for nothing. Educated is not a how-to book like the others. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The summary on Amazon reads: “a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.”
The author, Tara Westover, didn’t start her formal education until she was 17 because her parents were survivalists who did not focus on educating their children in the traditional ways. Educated is a rare peek inside the world of education from an “outsider,” something I believe all educators could benefit from.
If you chose to read one of these books, or you already have, please leave a comment to share your thoughts.
If you’ve read another book, not mentioned here, that you think is a must read for the summer before your first year teaching please comment on that as well.
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