Working in schools is a fluid and dynamic profession. One way to ensure that teachers and education professionals continue to grow and thrive is through reading. There is a wide variety of books that school-based professionals can read over the summer to enhance their careers and fine-tune their approaches to the classroom. Authors delve into leadership, behavior management, understanding learners, and how to build education professionals skill sets. Here are seven books that can alter the way you instruct, deliver services, provide access and equity to all students, and develop yourself as an expert in the field.
- ‘Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.’ By Brené Brown | Brown lays out how to project into a leadership role in any career. The book provides clear strategies and tools to get things done. People involved in any group – families, peer cohorts, classes, sports teams, and business organizations – can apply the ideas to create improved versions of themselves. School-based professionals can take these concepts and use them in the classroom or at their school sites. For those new to the profession or those that are ready to reinvent themselves as leaders at school, there are many actionable ideas to take away.
- ‘Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator.’ By Dave Burgess | For educators looking to rekindle their passion for teaching, Teach Like a PIRATE supplies inspirational and exciting ideas. Burgess lays out his system, based on neuropsychology, one that uses evidence-backed practices. It comes packed full of specific teaching tools and engaging activities, and even includes a tutorial on crafting intriguing lesson plans. This book can revive teachers on the edge of burnout, or simply those looking to engage all students in their classrooms.
- ‘The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World.’ By Jordan Shapiro | Children today are intertwined with technology from a young age. Instead of a fearful view of the unknown effects of the digital age, Shapiro embraces the change and argues that kids can flourish within it. While it targets parents, education professionals can also significantly benefit from the ideas in the book. Technology is an integral part of the school day and will continue to be so. Understanding children – and students – who are products of this digital age will help teachers and school-based professionals tailor their instruction or create engaging therapy sessions with students. Many teachers and school-based therapists are resistant to using technology with their students; this book has the potential to disrupt that hesitance and change mindsets of education professionals.
- ‘The Power of Habit’. By Charles Duhigg | In this book, Duhigg argues that success is a result of adjusting our habits. Applying to all career fields and personality types, The Power of Habit contains strategies and suggestions to change your professional and personal trajectories. Educators and school-based therapists can utilize this information in their classrooms, not only for themselves but also to transform their students’ patterns. Many behaviors that students present are predictable: this book suggests that by foreseeing the antecedents that trigger specific reactions, we can alter outcomes. In other words, we can replace habits to help kids succeed. We can also change our routines to become the best we can be.
- ‘Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom.’ By Kristin Souers with Pete Hall | Students come from a broad background of trauma. There are many forms and degrees of trauma, but all have the same effect: limiting learning and growth. This book breaks down the many ways that distress can manifest in students and how teachers and school-based professionals can connect to kids within this context. Education professionals can use the strategies in the book to create welcoming classrooms and therapy sessions for all, to ensure that all students have access to learning. Trauma is a powerful and debilitating force that teachers need to understand so that interactions are built with supports in place. With the end goal of universal student growth, educators can shift their mindsets to helping solve trauma-based obstacles for their students. There is also a section about self-care to help educators who have trauma in their past, as well.
- ‘For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all, Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education.’ By Christopher Emdin | A New York Times bestseller, this book offers valuable strategies and practices for teachers in urban settings. Some key takeaways are teachers raising expectations for their students, finding new ways to engage all learners, and creating autonomous classrooms. Emdin also addresses administrator strategies and suggests that teachers and principals should work more closely and efficiently. Educators are encouraged to engage students through increasing children’s responsibility, allowing kids to take ownership of their classrooms. These strategies can apply not just to teachers in the city, but to all educators. It is full of essential ideas, such as getting to know all students well, teaching to multiple modalities, and being self-reflective as educators.
- ‘Out of My Mind.’ By Sharon M. Draper | Out of My Mind is a story about a young girl named Melody with cerebral palsy. While she uses a wheelchair, her mind is as sharp – or sharper – than any other kid in school. She has a photographic memory and excellent cognitive skills, but a body that won’t allow her to show these abilities. Teachers and school-based professionals can glean a great deal from this narrative, including how to understand students with different levels of communication and ways to display comprehension. Students with disabilities have talents and strengths of their own, and education professionals can help unlock these assets.
The summer offers education professionals a chance to recharge and reset their approach to teaching and providing school-based therapy and support. Reading the right books can lead to a revitalized learning environment, for students as well as teachers. Whether school-based professionals are looking to increase positive attributes such as leadership, encourage renewed values in students, or helping all students reach their potential, summer reading can set you up for success.
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