5 Books Every Teacher Should Read

Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly. — Sir Francis Bacon

As a teacher, you’ve already read more books than you care to remember and I dare say there are several from your undergraduate studies you’re doing your level best to forget.

I’m willing to bet that many of those books you’ve devoured during your teaching career have been focused on education topics. Some of them have been great and have helped you break through to new heights in the classroom. Some have been a waste of time (just being honest, folks).

And some have become dear friends that you return to year after year, providing you with new perspectives each time you dive into the pages.

I won’t provide you with a list of books here that I’m sure you’re either already read or heard spoken of by so many other teachers that you feel like you’ve read them yourself. Instead, I’ll offer you a few books that have become important to me personally that have helped bring fresh perspectives to teaching and leadership in schools.

Of course, this list is not comprehensive and I’ll likely share more in the future but it’s good to have a starting point.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

Written initially for the aspiring writer, The War of Art is essential reading for anyone who creates anything. Teachers are some of the most creative people I know, even though they may not be creative in the ways most familiar to society.

The War of Art is about the inner war we face between our creativity and resistance. It’s a battle that rages inside every creative person, each with their own personal battlefield (in this case being school).

The War of Art is a great read because it’s short and accessible. It really highlights the crucial struggle between resistance and creativity, which any teacher will find helpful at some point in their teaching career.

This book is perfect for any teacher who creates content of any type. And yes, that includes your daily lessons.

The War of Art can help you start, stick with it, or get past that mental block that’s been stopping you from writing for years. Pressfield has some great advice on how to overcome writer’s (or teacher’s) block as well as procrastination, something I’m sure you’ve dealt with many times over your career as a teacher.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The collected personal memoirs of the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, Marcus Aurelius, Meditations was initially written for Marcus himself. This book is one of the earliest examples of self-improvement work.

Especially when you consider the author was working on himself as he wrote!

Meditations is chock full of wisdom that will make you a better teacher. A lot of the time, we have to navigate difficult situations and confront our own mistakes or shortcomings. This book can help us do just that with a healthy dose of perspective.

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

A Calendar of Wisdom by Tolstoy

This book is a collection of quotes from all over the world, organized by month. Tolstoy was an incredible writer with many novels to his name but he also had this little gem in him!

For example, in the month of March: “It’s not what you’ve got that matters most; it’s who you are.”

As a teacher, you often face daily obstacles that can be overwhelming. Having a copy of this book on your desk, your phone, or your Kindle can give you a brief moment of inspiration when you need it most.

Make it a part of your daily reading habit, whether first thing in the morning or right before bed. The wisdom in this book can help you remain focused and brighten any dark day.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Facing numerous challenges since March of 2020 when the world shut down and schools closed, I believe every teacher needs to read this book.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is a quick and powerful read that can be finished in an afternoon. This book will teach you how to use ancient Stoic philosophy to change your thoughts, overcome any obstacle, or achieve success against all odds.

The obstacles placed in front of teachers in the past year have caused many of us to rethink everything we’ve done in education. Some things we hated, some things we liked.

But we did them all to get through to our students in whatever way possible.

When faced with an obstacle, you need to find the right way through it without compromising your principles or goals.

The Obstacle Is The Way should be read by all teachers who want a practical guide on how to bounce back from adversity and make an impact in their careers.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel set in America after an unnamed cataclysm.

The book tells the story of The Man who is traveling with his son across the wasteland of what was once America. It’s not easy and it’s often dangerous.

But it’s worth the struggle because they have each other.

This is a book about the power of love and hope in an otherwise hopeless world.

Sometimes, as teachers, all we have to keep us going is love and hope. So, we “carry the fire” for our students, especially when they can’t carry it for themselves.

Your Recommendations

What books would you recommend for teachers that don’t necessarily fall in the “education” category? Leave your thoughts below!

Featured Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Reclaiming your Time as a Teacher: How Technology can Help

Teachers often find themselves spending more time on the job than they do with their families. This is a shame because teaching can be an extremely rewarding profession. When it comes to making the most out of your day, there are so many tools that you could use to make your life easier — both at work and at home. In this article, I’ll cover some of my favorite ways that technology can help reclaim teachers’ time during the school year!

1. Paperless Grading

A great way to make grading easier is by using a paperless system for assigning grades, storing student work, and providing feedback. There are many different platforms available that can help you do this — from Google Classroom and Evernote to grade books like Edmodo’s Grade Book or Blackboard Learn Essentials.

Another thing I love about these tools is how easy it makes it to provide timely feedback on students’ work without sacrificing valuable time during class — especially if they’re working in groups. You could also use them as an assessment tool with your students at the end of each unit so you know exactly what they’ve mastered in all content areas!

2. Use technology to create a lesson plan

Whether you’re planning for next week or for an entire year, there are plenty of great tools available to help you with your planning. I love using Google Calendar or Outlook on my computer — but there are also mobile versions for those who prefer to stay connected in that way.

Google Classroom (Amazon link) is a free service offered by the company, and it allows teachers to assign work as well as provide individual feedback along the way.

With Google Classroom, you can schedule posts in advance and have them appear to students on the day you wish.

What if you need more options? Tools like Planbook make it easy for educators to combine calendars from multiple sources into one place so they’re less likely to misplace things throughout the day.

You can even use a Google Sheet to plan out your content on a weekly or monthly basis.

With all of the available tools, there’s no need for paper planners, cluttered notebooks, or bulky binders to pack around. With digital tools, your plans are available to you anytime, anywhere.

Do More with Google Classroom

Do More with Google Classroom is the guidebook teachers have always needed about this digital tool that millions around the world are using.

do more with google classroom

3. Utilize Google Classroom for assignments and quizzes

Google Classroom has become one of the most popular learning management platforms in education. It’s easy to use and integrates well with other Google Education tools.

You can use tools like Google Classroom to provide individual feedback along the way.

For example, you could ask students about an assignment’s relevance in one comment, give them feedback on their work during another comment, and grade their assignments when they’re finished at yet another time.

It makes sense for educators with hectic schedules because it provides more options without carrying home stack of paper and can provide nearly immediate feedback while students are working, exactly when they need it most.

4. Take full advantage of one to one computing classrooms

As we enter the post-COVID19 world, many of our schools now have computers available for every student.

Now more than ever, teachers have the tools they need in their classrooms to become more efficient, engage with students more often, and lower their amount of work time.

Teachers are already finding ways to make the most of these classrooms.

Many teachers tell stories about how they can grade papers in a fraction of the time it would have taken them otherwise, or work with students one-on-one without having to pull out materials from their desk and hope that no other student walks over.

They also describe using computers for interactive lessons as well as more hands-on activities like coding and robotics, both in individualized groups during class time and whole-group projects.

In order to take full advantage of this new technology in our schools, we need professionals who understand what these tools do best so we can help every teacher find solutions that match their needs. This is where professional development comes into play (more on that soon).

5. Make use of Internet resources

With the advent of social media, more teachers are finding high-quality resources created by other educators than ever before.

As teachers find great tools and resources, they share them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms.

Many teachers curate these resources on their own sites or on Pinterest.

We also must remember the importance of community and foster relationships with other educators through Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and other modern web-based platforms.

I have found my own network to be a valuable resource for solving problems and getting feedback from other teachers across the country while still being able to interact with staff members at school.

While these tips will help you get started with more technology in your classroom, there’s so much more out there to learn.

With a few simple technology tools, you can get back so much of your valuable time and spend more time with your students and, perhaps more importantly, your families.

Remember, technology is not your enemy. It is a tool to be leveraged to make your life easier and to provide new opportunities for students.

Dip your feet in the technology waters. It’s well worth it.

Get my 5-day email edtech course

I’ll teach you how to start using technology more efficiently in your classroom.