Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 06 2011

three books

Important Disclaimer:  I’m not a teacher yet, so I haven’t actually tried any of the advice or techniques given in these books.

Out of all of the teaching books I’ve read over the last 8 months or so, three have really stood out as incredibly practical, realistic, and most important – helpful.

1. Beyond Survival by Gary Rubenstein.  It’s short (only about 150 pages), but loaded with great advice.  Rubenstein is very practical and addresses any questions a beginning teacher could have on everything from job interviews to extracurricular activities.  There’s even a photo/diagram of the “teacher look” – something I hope I’ll learn to use VERY quickly.

2. See Me After Class by Roxanna Elden.  This book is very practical and realistic, with lots of good bullet points and lists on everything from filing paperwork to classroom management.  It’s also fun to read, with plenty of stories from veteran teachers that convey a very comforting “We’ve all been there” message.  What I appreciate about it is that it doesn’t expect you, as a first year teacher, to be perfect.  Instead it gives you advice on what to do when things are less-than-perfect.  From the back cover:

Read this when a lesson goes horribly wrong, when your whole class “forgets” a major project, or when a parent curses at you in front of the kids.  Pull it out at lunch on a bad day or on Sunday night as you battle those six-more-hours-till-Monday stomach cramps.  This is meant to get you to school tomorrow.

I know I’ll re-read this book many times.

3. Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.  Super super practical, and it’s got advice on a lot of different areas of teaching. It’s got concrete examples of how to use each technique, and also possible problems with the technique.  Plus it comes with a DVD (I’m a sucker for DVDs) with clips of teachers implementing the techniques – kind of intimidating, but VERY beneficial.  The style of the book, with 49 specific techniques, makes actually implementing them very doable by breaking down these classroom techniques into bite-size pieces.


3 Responses

  1. garyrubinstein

    Elsa,
    Thanks for the positive review of ‘Beyond Survival.’ I’ve read most of your posts, and I think with all the thought you’re putting into your training already, you’ve got an excellent chance to be a great teacher in your first year.
    Would you be willing to write a little review of ‘Beyond Survival’ on Amazon? The book has been out for about a year and there are no reviews at all. I’d really appreciate it. It doesn’t have to be more than a few sentences.
    Gary

  2. garyrubinstein

    Thanks for doing it. I’ll look forward to following your progress in your blog. Keep writing!

    • elsa

      you’re welcome! I didn’t do it before because I didn’t feel like I have a lot of authority to review teaching books since I’m not a teacher yet. But I do know good writing when I read it!

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rural Arkansas, eh?

Region
Mississippi Delta
Grade
Middle School
Subject
Math

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"If one desires to 'stir up the world,' it is easy to be impatient with work for the sake of work. Yet no story's end can forsake its beginning and its middle." -Joshua Wolf Shank on Abraham Lincoln