Becoming a middle school teacher is a very important job. In addition to teaching students the necessary curriculum to succeed in school, students are starting to mature into young adults. It is important for middle school teachers to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and theories. Below are five great books for all middle school teachers.
1. Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools, by Ron Ritchhart
In order for students to truly learn, they need an environment that promotes creative and critical thinking. It should be an environment that fosters insightful discoveries and encourages the individual to love learning through groups and individual study.
In this book, Ron Ritchhart shows how establishing a culture of creative thinking is more important than teaching a specific curriculum. He reveals how teachers can achieve this through eight various cultural categories. These categories include environment, routines, modeling, time, expectation, language, opportunities, and interactions. Establishing a culture of thinking creates an energy within the classroom that drives learning and encourages students to work through difficult mental exertion.
2. Teaching Smarter: An Unconventional Guide to Boosting Student Success, by Patrick Kelley
One of the most difficult problems teachers face is that there are always mountains of work. Patrick Kelley’s book teaches you how to streamline your work so you can avoid overwhelm and burnout. This is one of the best books for middle school teachers who are struggling with how to get everything done without having your lesson plans, grading, and meetings take over your life.
These key strategies actually help your students improve as well. There are straightforward strategies to include in your lesson plans to help improve grades and skyrocket test scores, all while encouraging greater student engagement.
3. Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era, by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith
For those who are looking to reform the American education system, this is a great book for middle school teachers. Instead of focusing on data, test scores, and grades, Wagner and Dintersmith suggest teachers need to focus on initiative, creativity, and wonder in order to truly engage your students in learning.
It is an interesting combination of perspectives. Wagner is an education expert while Dintersmith is a venture capitalist. Each suggests that in order to succeed in the twenty-first century, students need to have competence as well as credentials, while creating a framework to promote change.
4. Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator, by Dave Burgess
A favorite among teachers, this is one of the best books for middle school teachers. It not only suggests that teachers need to use their creativity and energy to shift their classrooms into dynamic learning places, but that the students need their teachers to do so as well.
Burgess teaches you how to use innovative ideas to transform your classroom and establish a sense of rapport and camaraderie with your students. This book is full of information on how to make engaging lessons, how to use your passion for teaching to engage your students, and how to captivate your class with over 170 brainstorming techniques.
5. Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How The Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom, by Daniel T. Willingham
Willingham used his cognitive and biological research to understand the foundation of learning. If you are looking to understand how your students’ brains work, this is the book for you. It encourages teachers to shift their lessons by explaining how students learn and how they think by demonstrating the importance of routine, emotion, context, and story in establishing knowledge. It is by understanding the roots of effective learning and teaching that allows teachers to truly reach their students and help them fall in love with learning.
With nine principles that are easily applied to your classroom, Willingham helps teachers tailor their teaching skills to the students’ ability to learn.
Related Resource: Job Profile: Educational Consultant
There’s something to be said for reading these five great books for middle school teachers. As we move into an age where innovative thinking and improved teaching is necessary for students to succeed, teachers need to continue learning as well. One of the biggest advantages of these books isn’t just the different techniques and strategies, but they get you excited about teaching again.