Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I read every night before going to sleep; if I don’t, I can’t fall asleep. I tend to read novels before bed and non-fiction during the day. I feel that I need to concentrate and sometimes take notes on non-fiction so I have to be more awake. Novels are easy reads that relax me and help me fall asleep. Whatever the type of book, I have found some books that I feel are must reads for teachers. I hope that you find a few that you like.
1 – Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: This is a book that really makes you think outside of yourself and shows you how to accept and not feel sorry for those who may live their lives in different ways. I feel that it may give some insight into the thinking and lives of some of your students. On the surface it may seem sad, but if you can accept that Eleanor is living the life that she wants, you will understand and accept it.
2 – The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz: A friend of mine gave this book to read and, at the time, I wasn’t ready to read it. I just gave it back to her and waved it off as a “woo-woo” book. I then picked it up a few years later and it really resonated with me; I was ready to hear what it had to say. It delves into the 4 things that we need to agree to in life to live life to the fullest and be present in the moment. You need to read each agreement and ruminate over it, work on it, live it. If you feel that you need to speak more positively with your students, this book will help you.
3 – Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson: Who doesn’t need more quality sleep, during the school year? All year? This book is easy to read, gives lots of great better sleep tips and makes 100% sense. Another book that you can take your time reading so that you can practice the ideas that he gives you. I read it several years ago and still utilize some of the changes he presents because they truly gave me a better night’s sleep.
4 – Restart by Gordon Korman: This is young adult novel, but ANYONE can read it and feel what is happening in the story. It is about a boy who receives a concussion and doesn’t remember anything before the accident. He doesn’t realize that he wasn’t a very nice person. He comes to that realization and his crusade becomes to change other’s opinions of him. It would be a perfect book to read to an upper elementary class or to add to literacy circles. It was an enjoyable read and I have found that a lot of YA novels are great for adults too.
5 – Happy Teachers Change the World, by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare: The title of this wondrous book says it all. It’s basic tenet is: when teachers are happy, students are happy. When students are happy, they take risks, learn and grow. Seeing students take risks, learn and grow inspires teachers to teach and the pattern repeats. If you have been feeling like you aren’t happy in your teaching and you want to be happier, this is the book for perfection for you. Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most admired zen teachers in the world and Katherine Weare has done great work with using mindfulness with young people and the people who care for them.
6 – To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee: Yes, you probably read this in high school. Yes, you probably watched the movie, too. Reading this book as an adult can have a completely different effect on you. As you move through life and have different experiences, you change how you look at historic happenings in the world. Read this book with a new set of eyes and see how it affects you.
7 – The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hanh: Yes, the same author from Happy Teachers Change the World. What he stresses in the Happy Teachers book is that in order to be able to lead students in mindfulness, you must have you own mindfulness practice. This book helps you adopt a daily meditation practice so that you can share the practice with your students.
8 – Allie and Bea, by Catherine Ryan Hyde: This novel is about a girl in the foster care system and what happens to her during a difficult time in her life. Reading this book can really shed light on what some students in your school may be going through and teachers don’t even know it. It is very eye opening.
9 – The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds: It is a children’s book, but if you are promoting a growth mindset in your classroom, it is the perfect read for you. It may change your thinking about how to support children in trying their best and accepting all effort that they put into their work.
10 – Anything by Mary Kaye Andrews: All of her books are very easy, care-free reads. If you want a good summer read any time of the year, pick up one of Mary Kaye Andrews books. They are enjoyable, fun and relaxing.
How often do you read? There are so many great books out there and this list doesn’t
even scrape the surface of the wonderful titles out there. If you have an e-reader, you can get free e-books directly from your library. You usually have to put a hold on more popular titles and may need to wait a few weeks to a few months. While you’re waiting for those books, there are a plethora of books that you can check out. Book sales are another way to get great books for next to nothing.