‘Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56’
If you’ve ever doubted the impact a single teacher can have on a group of children, you need to read this book. For more than 30 years, author Rafe Esquith was a fifth-grade teacher at Hobart Elementary in central Los Angeles, one of the most impoverished school districts in the country. In this book, Esquith shares his techniques for building trust, respect, and passion for education among his students—techniques that have not only earned him numerous awards and international recognition, but have helped droves of students succeed beyond expectation.
‘The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them’
Published in 1999, this book is a collection of writings by the students of Erin Gruwell, a then 23-year-old new teacher at Long Beach High School in Long Beach, California, who was assigned a class of so-called “unteachable” students who were trapped by gang violence and racial tension. To reach them, she assigned literature they could relate to, brought in speakers who could engage them, and gave each of them a blank composition notebook where they could share, anonymously, their thoughts and experiences. Despite the odds against them, all 150 of her students graduated from high school, and some went onto college and established rewarding careers. The book also spawned a 2007 movie, Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank.
‘The First Days of School’
New and veteran teachers alike sing the praises of this book by education experts Harry K. and Rosemary T. Wong, now in its fourth edition. Revered by thousands of school districts and in hundreds of countries, this book walks teachers through proven strategies for classroom management and organization that can be applied to students in any grade, from preschool through college. As the title suggests, the book reinforces the idea that the methods teachers establish during the first days of school will define whether they fail or succeed, and can help teach even the most experienced educators a few new tricks.