6 Best Books for Aspiring Teachers

Carolina Jacobs

Dec 29, 2021

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Summer break is anything but for most teachers. Instead of taking a vacation, many either get a second job or stay home to revamp curriculum, lesson plan and update classroom activities. Of course, you’ll probably have to do the same when the time comes but, for now, why not kick back, relax and study up with some of the best books for aspiring teachers to learn what it truly takes to become an educator.

The following books are some of the best reads for aspiring teachers like yourself. Whether you plan to work with first-graders or dream of becoming a college professor, delving into one of these paperbacks will give you the inside scoop on all things teaching and better equip you for your future career.

1. Teach Like a Pirate 

Arrr matey! It’s about time you taught like a pirate, don’t you think? No, we don’t mean make your kids walk the plank. Rather, you should implement the PIRATE method — which stands for passion, immersion, rapport, ask and analyze, transformation and enthusiasm — in your classroom. 

Author Dave Burgess explains that this teaching philosophy in his book Teach Like a Pirate and lays out a scenario that any teacher can model. Of course, you’ll need an adventurous spirit and quite a bit of bravery to become a pirate. However, once you do, even the most reluctant kids will be excited to come to school just so they don’t miss your class. 

2. The Teacher’s Guide to Self-Care 

Teaching is easily one of the most stressful jobs in the country, with most instructors working around the clock to answer e-mails, grade homework and field parent questions. That’s why self-care is so important — yet often overlooked — within education. 

In her book The Teacher’s Guide to Self Care, Sarah Frost addresses this very issue and offers actionable ways for teachers to care for their mental health. Achieve a work-life balance and truly enjoy your job with these tips and tricks from teachers who have been there, done that. 

3. The Essential 55

In The Essential 55, two-time New York best-selling author  Ron Clark offers up 55 rules which he believes can help tame an unruly class. Ron claims that these rules will turn students into respectful, compassionate adults. Teachers must discipline their pupils based on the classroom environment for these precepts to be effective. 

He also says that the last five rules are the most critical and deal with overall themes like living life to the fullest and having an upstanding moral code. However, you’ll have to purchase the book to understand how you might incorporate them in your classroom. 

4. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change 

If you’re currently questioning the role of education and learning, Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown’s A New Culture of Learning will make for an interesting read.  This book acknowledges the 21st century’s ever-changing culture and challenges the notion that teaching is necessary for learning.

The authors examine this hot topic over the course of nine chapters and share dozens of valuable insights along the way. For instance, learners must be content creators, not simply content consumers. Moreover, students must determine what is important and actively engage with this information by exploring resources and questioning experts. Grab a copy of this book if you want to read more about this learner-centric approach and how you might implement it in your future classroom. 

5. Developing Minds

Teaching students how to think for themselves is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have. Yet, many aspiring teachers aren’t sure how to inspire creative thinking in the classroom. In his book Developing Minds, Art Costa explores this complex topic and reveals strategies for teaching and assessing thinking skills in an ever-changing education environment.

This book also helps to forge a common vision among everyone within the school system — from librarians to school board members — of what characterizes effective problem solvers. Once they know what thoughtful students look like, they can begin raising up the next generation of critical thinkers, which will inevitably secure a brighter future for the entire world.

6. Losing My Faculties: A Teacher’s Story 

Are you afraid to lose your cool at school? Well, Brendan Halpin already did, and you can read all about it in Losing My Faculties: A Teacher’s Story. This candid, first-hand account of one teacher’s mistakes and triumphs reminds aspiring teachers that education isn’t romantic. Rather, it’s messy and oftentimes disheartening. However, it’s still an incredibly rewarding experience if you’re willing to weather the storm. 

Both education majors and seasoned teachers should read this book to remind themselves that nobody’s perfect. Teachers are human, too, and often make mistakes. The key is learning how to grow through those rough patches and become a better educator in the process. 

Always a Student

Teachers are lifelong learners, which means they’ll always be students, even after they graduate college. So don’t hesitate to pick up a good book and learn something new. Doing so will allow you to take charge of your education and inspire your students can do the same.

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