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Best Books for New Teachers (Part I)

One of the hallmarks of any profession, including teaching, is the requirement to stay abreast of the field, to keep up with the "state of the art." But between the press of the classroom--planning, grading, meeting the myriad needs of individual children--and the obligations and needs of the teacher's own personal life, time is a premium for every teacher.

Every minute counts. So teachers need to know which books are best worth their limited time.

It's with this in mind that we offer these book lists--which represent some of the best thinking on motivating students, instructional techniques, and classroom management strategies.

This is Part I, covering How-To Teach books and Teaching and Learning books. 

Teacher How-To Teach Books

In our reading, we've come across some books that offer useful guidance for teachers with tips, inspirational stories, and strategies. These books will be especially helpful for new teachers in suggesting ways to set up and manage their classrooms to maximize learning and minimize distractions. Even experienced teachers can learn from seeing what works in other classrooms:

  • Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones - This book is part of a series of books, videos, and seminars based on observing successful teachers for over 40 years. The book shows teachers how to use classroom management and discipline tools to increase time available for teaching.
  • Teach Like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov - Asserting that great teaching can be taught, this bestseller is a very practical book with lots of how-to advice on classroom management. The 2.0 version includes video clips showing real teachers using the techniques.
  • See Me After Class: Advice For Teachers By Teachers by Roxanna Elden - This book provides no-nonsense survival advice for new teachers through stories from teachers of the things that went wrong in their classes. Instead of the Hollywood storyline of the superhero teacher, this book shows struggling teachers how to survive the challenges not covered in teacher prep.
  • Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire by Rafe Esquith - This "cookbook for teaching" shows how Esquith has taught high-poverty, immigrant Los Angeles fifth-grade students algebra, economics, and Shakespeare. The book expands on his mottos "Work hard, Be nice" and "There are no shortcuts" with techniques, exercises, and innovations that other teachers can emulate.


Teaching and Learning Books

Other books go beyond day to day practice to examine the science of teaching and learning. This helps teachers understand the larger context in which they work and the principles that undergird all effective teaching:


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