Navigating the tumultuous waters of your first year in teaching? You’re not alone, and you’ve come to the right place. In this curated list, you’ll find must-read books that I wholeheartedly believe can be game-changers for anyone embarking on their teaching journey. These selections are more than just words on a page; they’re survival kits packed with actionable tips, curriculum hacks, and classroom management gold.
Remember those first months teaching? It’s been two decades since I first stood at the head of a classroom, and the cocktail of emotions—nervousness, excitement, sheer terror—still feels as fresh as ever.
If only someone had handed me a roadmap in the form of these books. They would have been life-savers, eliminating a lot of the guesswork and needless anxiety. So, if you’re on the hunt for wisdom from educators who’ve been in the trenches, you’ll definitely want to read on. And hey, if teaching reading is on your mind, don’t forget to check out our top picks specifically focused on that skill.
Best Books for New Teachers
Here are our top picks for books for new teachers:
1. The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide, by Julia G. Thompson
The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide is a book that covers the basic strategies, activities, and tools teachers need to know to succeed in the classroom. Now in its fourth edition, the book has been updated with new and relevant material on essential topics like classroom management, differentiated instruction, and fostering a growth mindset.
2. Your First Year: How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher, by Todd Whitaker, Katherine Whitaker, Madeline Whitaker
In Your First Year: How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher, Todd Whitaker, Katherine Whitaker, and Madeline Whitaker team up to offer advice and inspiration for thriving in your new role as a teacher. The book is filled with step-by-step guidance to help you overcome the challenges that many new teachers face.
They generously share their expertise and offer helpful tips on everything from creating a positive classroom environment to managing challenging students. You’ll also find advice on topics related o lesson planning, grading, and staying organized.
3. Today I Made a Difference, Joseph W. Underwood
Today I Made a Difference is a book that celebrates teachers. It contains stories from some of the country’s top educators, all of whom share their tales of overcoming obstacles and triumphing against the odds. This book serves as both motivation and inspiration for all teachers, reminding them of the importance of their work and the impact they have on the lives of their students.
4. The New Art and Science of Teaching, by Robert G. Marzano
‘The New Art and Science of Teaching is an expanded volume of the original Art and Science of Teaching, designed to offer a competency-based education framework for substantive change based on Dr. Robert Marzano’s 50 years of education research.
While the previous model focused on teacher outcomes, the new version places focus on student learning outcomes, with research-based instructional strategies teachers can use to help students grasp the information and skills transferred through their instruction’.
5. The Beginning Teacher’s Field Guide, by Tina H. Boogren
The Beginning Teacher’s Field Guide is packed with invaluable advice, empathy, and support that will help you survive your first year in the classroom. You’ll learn how to set realistic expectations for yourself and your students, establish a productive classroom routine, and create a positive learning environment.
Written by a veteran educator, the book details six phases every new teacher goes through and outlines targeted classroom strategies, teaching tips, and self-care practices for each.
6.The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, by Harry K. Wong, Rosemary T. Wong
Whether you are a new teacher or a veteran educator, The First Days of School can help you set up your classroom for success. Insights from the book will especially help you learn how to effectively structure and organize our room in a way that works for you and your students.
This helpful guide includes a new, 54-minute DVD with William Martinez, who shares his transformational story about how a teacher changed his life. His story will affirm that teachers ARE the difference in the lives of their students.
7. Teach Like a Champion 3.0, by Doug Lemov
Updated with the latest techniques and findings in cognitive science, this guide by Doug Lemov is indispensable for anyone looking to create a positive and productive learning environment. Whether you’re a new teacher or an experienced educator, you’ll find valuable tips on how to encourage student engagement, accountability, and excellence.
Teach Like a Champion 3.0 also includes an expanded video collection that will help you see the techniques in action and put them into practice in your own classroom. With this book, you’ll be able to build students’ background knowledge, move learning into long-term memory, and connect your teaching with the standards-aligned curriculum for tangible results.
Related: Best Classroom Management Books
8.The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom, by Stephen D. Brookfield
The Skillful Teacher is a practical guide to effective teaching techniques, approaches, and methods for college classrooms. Stephen Brookfield, a college professor for over 40 years, provides insights, reflections, and advice on how to keep your teaching and students energized. The book is adaptable to online teaching, working with diverse student populations, and inclusive classrooms.
9. How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You, by Bonnie M. Davis
If you’re looking for ways to better serve all of your students, regardless of their backgrounds or skin color, then this book is perfect for you. “How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You” provides educators with the tools they need to create a more inclusive classroom. With new or expanded coverage of Latino students, ELLs, immigrant students, race, and racial identity, this edition is perfect for those looking to bring their teaching practice up to date with the latest standards-based approaches.
10.Teaching with Intention, by Debbie Miller
Written by literacy consultant Kelly Miller, this book brings us into the classrooms of teachers and children she’s met over the last five years. Drawing on her own experience as a teacher and her work with educators around the country, Miller provides a wealth of information on setting up your classroom environment, using language intentionally, teaching comprehension, and designing lessons.
Additionally, the author also encourages teachers to develop their own belief statements about teaching and learning, offering key questions to help get them started.
It’s a rollercoaster, isn’t it? Those first months of teaching. You’re excited, nervous, and maybe even a bit overwhelmed. Trust me, I’ve been there. I vividly remember my own first steps into the classroom, full of both anticipation and trepidation. I wish I had had a well-curated list of books like this back then; it would have saved me some sleepless nights and moments of self-doubt.
Each of the books I’ve listed here has its own unique strengths, but they all serve the same primary purpose: to guide you through the intricate maze that is your first year of teaching. Whether you’re struggling with classroom management, looking for curriculum ideas, or just in need of some moral support, there’s something here for you.
For example, if you’re interested in differentiated instruction, Julia G. Thompson’s “The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide” is a treasure trove of strategies and activities.
Interested in learning more about educational theory? Robert G. Marzano’s “The New Art and Science of Teaching” is an absolute must-read. Marzano has been a significant figure in education research for years, and his book applies 50 years of educational research into a framework focused on student learning outcomes.
Finally, don’t overlook the emotional support books like “Today I Made a Difference” can offer. Teaching is as much about the heart as it is about the mind. And remember, you’re not just teaching subjects; you’re teaching people. That book serves as a beautiful reminder that your work has a real, lasting impact on the lives of your students.
So there you have it, a collection of books I sincerely believe can help you navigate the challenging yet rewarding journey of your first year in the classroom. Being prepared can ease the transition and set you on a path toward a fulfilling teaching career. It’s a tough gig, but oh, is it worth it. Keep learning, keep growing, and remember, you’re not alone on this journey.