Top 5 Books About Teaching

Top 5 Books About Teaching

Photo by Jose Camões Silva

This is a list of books for teachers, by teachers and about teaching. Every one of these nonfiction texts will help to prepare new teachers for the most difficult and rewarding experiences of their careers, offer fresh perspectives on the age-old problems of education and tell stories you won’t forget. Whether you are shopping for a veteran’s version of the educational experience you are about to undertake yourself or looking for a gift for an education student, you won’t regret taking home one of these books for teachers:

1. The New Teacher Book: Finding Hope, Balance, and Purpose During Your First Years in the Classroom Edited by Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelly Dawson Salas and Stephanie Walters
This assemblage of essays by experienced teachers reflects on both personal and nearly universal challenges faced by beginning educators. The authors acknowledge the moments when they felt infuriated and demoralized, as well as share the passion that keeps them committed to their students. Published by Rethinking Schools, the text emphasizes effective teaching practices that address questions of social justice and aims to prepare teachers for a lifetime in a rewarding career.

2. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer
“We teach who we are”, writes Parker J. Palmer, and that seemingly simple statement sums up one of the most difficult aspects of teaching: how a teacher’s work often transcends subject to engage with the inner lives of students, for better or worse. This is a book for teachers who love what they do, even on the most difficult days. It is a book about how to acknowledge the challenge of deeply engaging students in a learning process and about how to learn, along with them, who you really are.

3. Unauthorized Methods: Strategies for Critical Teaching by Shirley Steinberg and Joe L. Kincheloe
This handbook on alternative pedagogy assembles a dozen essays on radical education, with an emphasis on the connection between critical theory and effective classroom practice. Individual chapters address subject ranging from fresh approaches to teaching science and math to bilingual classrooms, special education and the arts. For teachers interested in pushing the boundaries, curious about non-traditional methods or simply looking to be the best teachers they can be, this is a vital text.

4. Black Teachers on Teaching by Michele Foster
This collection of short interviews with 20 educators spans three generations of education, from the 1920s to the present day. The sheer breadth of classroom experience and first-hand historical knowledge makes this volume stand out among books about teaching. Offering a variety of critical perspectives on the intersection between race and education, this book has the potential to provoke reflection and change the practice of anyone working in America’s diverse schools.

5. “I Won’t Learn From You” and Other Thoughts on Creative Maladjustment by Herbert Kohl
Building on Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept that we should all be maladjusted to injustice, Kohl explores the reasons that children often resist well-intentioned attempts to educate them and the often flawed response of our schools to their refusal. Kohl, a former teacher and author of several books about teaching, offers strategies to engage students by challenging the feeling of hopelessness that so often leads them to opt out of their own educations. By channeling students’ creative energy into re-envisioning their political and moral worlds, Kohl believes that teachers can re-engage students and help to create agents for change.

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