8 Best Books for New Teachers

Carolina Jacobs

Jul 6, 2022

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Nearly half of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years. While their reasons for leaving differ, many cite burnout, dissatisfaction and post-pandemic frustrations as major factors in their decision-making process. Clearly, today’s teachers need more encouragement and guidance than ever before. Whether you’re a new teacher or you know someone who is, the following books will uplift and embolden first-year educators. 

1. “The First-Year Teacher’s Checklist: A Quick Reference for Classroom Success” — Julia Thompson

As the title suggests, this book is perfect for first-time teachers looking for guidance. The easy-to-use reference is full of helpful, classroom-tested answers, ideas, teaching tools and techniques to help make year one a success. Pick and choose approaches that best fit your classroom and teaching style. Regardless of which to-dos you check off your list, you’re sure to develop valuable career skills and successful relationships with students, parents, administrators and colleagues. 

2. “Teacher’s Field Guide” — Kerry Hemms

Many teachers struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance, especially during that first year. Luckily, there are ways to avoid burnout and stay in love with teaching. Read all about them — and add a few key skills to your arsenal — with this field guide. Author and Master Teacher Kerry Hemms addresses the real-life needs of teachers and offers tips and strategies to lessen stress and increase joy. Learn how to manage your mindset, workload and classroom and truly make a difference in students’ lives.

3. “Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids” — Chris Bliffle

Every classroom has at least one bad apple. However, if you’re teaching a bunch of challenging kids, this book is for you. Behavior management isn’t fun, but it is necessary to minimize distractions and create a safe learning environment. Learn how to approach and effectively teach students with emotional and behavioral impairments. Reduce problematic behavior and cultivate a love of learning in every student with Chris Biffle’s words of wisdom. 

4. “The First Six Weeks of School” — Paula Denton

The first six weeks of school are often the hardest. On top of memorizing students’ names, you’ll have to adjust your setup, style and delivery to effectively engage these young minds. More importantly, you must establish yourself as a gentle but firm voice in the classroom. This book will help you do just that. Even if you have a set curriculum, this read will help you develop better safety and teaching procedures so students feel comfortable under your authority. 

5. “Start With Why” — Simon Sinek

Sure, Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” isn’t about teaching, but it is about leadership, which is basically the same thing, right? Sinek begins the book by asking why some people are more innovative, profitable and inspiring than others. The key, he says, is discovering your why. Why do you teach? Why does it matter that kids learn the curriculum? Identifying and sharing the reasons behind why you do things differently will influence students and other teachers to follow your lead.

6. “Enticing Hard to Reach Readers” — Ruth Ayres

Public school students are reading less each year, causing overall reading comprehension scores to deteriorate. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s become increasingly difficult to interest kids in reading and writing. Luckily, you can still entice kids to hone their skills by picking up a copy of this handy book. In it, author Ruth Ayres presents scientific evidence on the connection between childhood trauma and writing for healing. Learn to become a consistent writing coach with her practical strategies. 

7. “What Works in Schools” — Robert Marzano

If you want to take an even deeper dive into reading, writing and other essential skills, read Robert Marzano’s “What Works in Schools.” This now-classic text is fundamental to current educational practices and covers topics like cognition, critical thinking and standards implementation in the age of high-stakes testing. Discover creative ways to deliver instruction and manage your classroom with this helpful book. 

8. “Educating Tomorrow: Learning for the Post-Pandemic World” — Chris Brown and Ruth Luzmore

A whopping 54% of educators are considering leaving teaching in the next two years. That’s a 20% increase from fall 2019 before the pandemic wreaked havoc on the education system. Instead of seeing virtual teaching as a death sentence, however, you can choose to see it as an opportunity to think and instruct differently. Explore what a post-covid education system might look like in Educating Tomorrow and learn how you can cultivate a new and improved vision for the future — without leaving your career behind. 

Mind of a Teacher, Heart of a Student

Being a great educator requires a dash of humility and a whole lot of curiosity. Cultivate the mind of a teacher and the heart of a student by dedicating your life to learning. Adopt a growth mindset, ask questions and read as many books as you can. Your overwhelming desire to learn and grow will inevitably inspire your students to do the same.

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