There are a LOT of great books for teachers out there. Picking just fifty is no easy feat, but we’ve done our best to cover the best books for teachers from five different angles.
All of these are exceptional reads for teachers. They are in no particular order; number one’s content is just as significant a teacher resource as number fifty. So, take a browse through the list or jump directly to your area of interest as a teacher, whether it’s inspiration, mindfulness, leadership ways, classroom management, improved student outcomes, teaching, learning culture, or educational psychology.
Top Professional Development Books For Teachers Compared
1. The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, And learn A Culture of Creativity – George Couros
One of our favorite professional development books for teachers, The Innovator’s Mindset, contains numerous practical examples of innovative leadership. George Couros encourages any school teacher and administrator to shape students’ natural curiosity by empowering them to question and explore. Innovation starts at the top; this book shows educators how to become innovative thinkers.
While not strictly a professional development book, it is one of my favorite books for teachers. In Atomic Habits, world-renowned habits expert James Clear explains how small changes can transform a teacher’s life and impact student learning and student behavior. This practical book reveals simple life hacks and explains why they form good habits and break bad ones.
3. So Much Reform, So Little Change: The Persistence Of Failure In Urban Schools – Charles M Payne
In this book, Charles M Payne vividly portrays the weakness of the social infrastructure and daily realities in today’s urban schools. However, the last decade has brought hope with insights into the causes of school failure and how some schools succeeded in improving.
4. Vintage Innovation: Leveraging Retro Tools And Classic Ideas To Design Deeper Learning Experiences – John Spencer
John Spencer’s professional development books answer questions real teachers have about being innovative in the classroom without the best technology, spark creativity within constraints, and how to use vintage tools and approaches in new ways. Vintage Innovation shows the relevance for teachers to look back and forward, using timeless skills and strategies in new ways.
5. An Educator’s Guide To STEAM: Engaging Students Using Real-World Problems – Cassie F Quigley, Danielle Herro, Deborah Hanuscin
An Educator’s Guide to STEAM is a practical book to help K-8 grade teachers understand STEAM. The conceptual model illustrates key STEAM teaching aspects like integrating STEAM content and the correct teaching environment. One of the best STEAM-related professional development books for teachers, this book also offers strategies and elements of connected learning to help learners connect STEAM to real-world issues.
6. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brene Brown
In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. Understanding these concepts can help a teacher in teaching learners and classroom management.
7. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – Ken Robinson, Lou Aronica
The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility.
The riveting New York Times bestseller is about a young man who built more than 250 schools worldwide—and the steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life. The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn their most significant ambitions into reality. An inspiring book to add to the reading list of professional development books for teachers.
Have you ever experienced an epiphany, a life-changing moment, or a realization? Elise Ballard has, and she was so stunned by its effect on her life that she started asking others if they had ever experienced these kinds of breakthroughs.
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10. The Coddling Of The Amerian Mind: How Good Intentions And Bad Ideas Are Setting Up A Generation For Failure – Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt
First Amendment expert Greg Lukianhoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt make a case for how three terrible ideas in childhood education are the origins of new problem trends on college campuses. The three untruths are: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker, Always trust your feelings, and Life is a battle between good people and evil people. Embracing these untruths has a negative influence on the social, emotional, and intellectual development of children, hence poor school discipline and relationships. According to them, cognitive behavioral psychology (CBT) has tools to evaluate and rectify these situations. Excellent reading material for teachers, parents, and mainstream society concerned about a generation setup for trauma and failure.
11. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson
Teachers are lifelong learners, and this book is a great practical book on how to develop healthy brain development in children. New York Times bestsellers, the authors, offer a revolutionary approach to rearing children. Based on the latest neuroscience research on how young children’s right brain emotions rule over their logical left brain, they offer 12 key age-appropriate strategies to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development. According to the authors, the brain is “under construction” until a child is in their mid-twenties. This is a recommended reading not just for parents and new teachers in elementary education but for all teachers with a passion for teaching; an excellent.
12. The Power Of Place: Authentic Learning Through Place-Based Education – Tom Vander Ark, Emily Leibtag, Nate McClennen
Placed-based education (PBE) is adaptable learning anytime and anywhere where learning leverages the power of place for personalized learning. Since birth, children learn from their surroundings, and history shows that before industrialized education, the community was the classroom. Instead of the American classroom becoming an aspect of learning, it became the place where parents send their children to learn. This book provides teacher educators with ideas on how to enhance the benefits of place-based learning in the teaching profession. Another good read to add to parents’ and teachers’ bookshelves.
13. The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life – Chris Guillebeau
A remarkable book, the content, like his other books, will guide and inspire the teacher and students in the classroom. The Happiness of Pursuit reveals how anyone can bring meaning into their life by undertaking a quest. When he set out to visit all of the planet’s countries by age thirty-five, compulsive goal seeker, Chris Guillebeau never imagined that his journey’s biggest revelation would be how many people like himself exist – each pursuing a challenging quest.
14. Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative – Ken Robinson
“It is often said that education and training are the keys to the future. They are, but a key can turn in two directions. Turn it one way, and you lock resources away, even from those they belong to. Turn it the other way, and you release resources and give people back to themselves.” Learning to be Creative is one of the best books for teachers to inspire learners and educators to think and act differently toward each other.
15. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Brene Brown
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
16. Walking on Water: Reading, Writing and Revolution – Derrick Jensen
Remember the days of longing for the hands-on classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hate school. Why is that? This book addresses what happens to creativity and individuality as we pass through the educational system. How can we change our lesson planning to help students retain their love for learning?
17. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel H. Pink
Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink. In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction at work, at school, and home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
18. The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact – Michael Fullan
One of the best-known leadership authors in education, Fullan, explains why the answer isn’t in micro-managing instruction nor autonomous entrepreneurialism. He systematically shows how the principal’s role should change, demonstrating how it can be done in short order, at scale.
19. Flipping Leadership Doesn’t Mean Reinventing the Wheel – Peter M DeWitt
Part of The Corwin Connected Educator series, in this volume, you’ll use the principles of connectedness and flipped learning to engage stakeholders—teachers, administrators, and parents—digitally, so they’re ready for productive discussion when you meet in person.
20. Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator – Dave Burgess
Based on Dave Burgess’s popular “Outrageous Teaching” and “Teach Like a PIRATE” seminars, this development book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help the teacher increase student engagement, boost your creativity and transform your life as an educator.
21. Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools – Paul Bambrick-Santoyo
One of the best professional development books for teachers on leadership, Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Managing Director of Uncommon Schools), shows leaders how to raise their schools to greatness by following a core set of principles. These seven principles, or “levers,” allow for consistent, transformational, and replicable growth. With an intentional focus on these areas, leaders will leverage much more learning from the same amount of time investment.
22. Shifting the Monkey: The Art of Protecting Good People From Liars, Criers, and Other Slackers – Todd Whitaker
Poor employees get a disproportionate amount of attention. Why? Because they complain the loudest, create the greatest disruptions, and rely on others to assume the responsibilities they shirk. Learn how to focus on your good employees first and help them shift these monkeys back to the under-performers.
23. The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools – Multiple Authors
Why do some leaders double their team’s effectiveness while others seem to drain the energy right out of the room? Using insights from more than 100 interviews with school leaders, this development book pinpoints the five disciplines that define how Multipliers bring out the best across their schools and classroom.
24. What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most – Todd Whitaker
In the third edition of this renowned book, you will find pearls of wisdom, heartfelt advice, and inspiration from one of the nation’s leading authorities on staff motivation, teacher leadership, and principal effectiveness. With wit and understanding, Todd Whitaker describes the beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and interactions of great teachers and explains what they do differently.
25. The Tech-Savvy Administrator: How do I use technology to be a better school leader? – Steven W. Anderson
How can school leaders use technology to be more effective? In this professional development book, award-winning blogger and educational technology expert Steven W. Anderson explain how and why leaders should use technology and outlines what should be in every leader’s digital toolkit.
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives inside and outside the classroom.
27. Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools – Mary Cay Ricci
When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Inspired by the popular mindset idea that hard work and effort can lead to student success, Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with ideas for building a growth mindset school culture. Learners are challenged to change their thinking about their abilities and potential.
28. The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students – Daniel Rechtschaffen
With attention spans waning and stress on the rise, many teachers are looking for new ways to help students concentrate, learn, and thrive. The Way of Mindful Education is a practical guide for cultivating attention, compassion, and well-being in these students and mindfulness in teachers themselves.
29. The Way They Learn – Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
Draw out the best in your children—by understanding the way they learn. If you’re frustrated that your child isn’t learning the way you did, chances are they are too! In this practical resource, Cynthia Ulrich Tobias explains that understanding how you learn can make all the difference.
30. Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom – Daniel T Willingham
Easy-to-apply, scientifically-based approaches for engaging students in the classroom. Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His professional development books will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn.
31. The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child – Richard Lavoie
The Motivation Breakthrough explores proven techniques and strategies—based on six possible motivational styles—that will revolutionize the way teachers and parents inspire kids with learning disabilities to succeed and achieve. Backed by decades of experience in the classroom, educator and acclaimed author Rick Lavoie explodes common myths and gives specific advice for motivating children with learning disabilities.
32. Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning – Peter C Brown
Drawing on cognitive psychology and other fields, Make It Stick offers techniques for becoming more productive learners and cautions against study habits and practice routines that turn out to be counterproductive. It’s one of those professional development books that speak to students, teachers, trainers, athletes, and all those interested in lifelong learning and self-improvement.
33. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching – Multiple Authors
Distilling the research literature and translating the scientific approach into language relevant to college or university, this book for teachers introduces seven general principles of how students learn. The authors have drawn on research from a breadth of perspectives to identify a set of fundamental principles underlying learning, from how effective organization enhances retrieval and use of information to what impacts motivation.
34. Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning – John Hattie
Visible Learning for Teachers brings the results of more than fifteen years of research to an entirely new audience. Written for students, pre-service, and in-service teachers, it explains how to apply the principles of Visible Learning to any classroom anywhere in the world.
35. Design For How People Learn (Voices That Matter) – Julie Dirksen
Products, technologies, and workplaces change so quickly today that everyone is continually learning. Many of us are also teaching, even when it’s not in our job descriptions. Whether it’s giving a presentation, writing documentation, or creating a website or blog, we need and want to share our knowledge with other people.
36. Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools – Michael B Horn, Heather Staker
Blended is the practical field guide for implementing blended learning techniques in K-12 classrooms. Readers will find a step-by-step framework to build a more student-centered system, along with essential advice that provides the expertise necessary to make the next generation of K-12 learning environments.
37. The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning – Tom D Whitby, Steven W. Anderson
This information-packed resource from digital experts Anderson and Whitby makes it easy to build a thriving professional network using social media. Easy-to-implement ideas, essential tools, and real-life vignettes help a teacher learn to: Find and choose the best social media tools, products, and communities. Start and grow a collaborative, high-quality PLN using Twitter, blogging, LinkedIn, and more.
38. Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success – Carol Dweck
In decades of research on achievement and success, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea of the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success – but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.
39. School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It – Steve Gruenert, Todd Whitaker
Your school is a lot more than a center of student learning–it also represents a self-contained culture with traditions and expectations that reflect its unique mission and demographics. In this groundbreaking book for teachers, education experts Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker offer tools, strategies, and advice for defining, assessing, and ultimately transforming your school’s culture into one that is positive, forward-looking, and actively working to enrich students’ lives.
40. Shaping School Culture: Pitfalls, Paradoxes, and Promises – Terrence E Deal, Kent D Peterson
In this thoroughly revised and updated edition of their classic book, Shaping School Culture, Terrence Deal and Kent Peterson address the latest thinking on organizational culture and change. They offer new ideas and strategies on how stories, rituals, traditions, and cultural practices create positive, caring, and purposeful schools.
41. Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School – Andy Hargreaves, Michael Fullan
Winner of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Education! In this latest and most important collaboration, renowned educators Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan set out a groundbreaking new agenda to transform the future of teaching and public education.
42. Cultures Built to Last – DuFour Richard, Fullan Michael
Take your professional learning community to the next level! Discover a systemwide approach for re-envisioning your PLC while sustaining growth and continuing momentum on your journey. You’ll move beyond isolated pockets of excellence while allowing every person in your school system—from teachers and administrators to students—the opportunity to be an instrument of lasting cultural change.
43. The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive And Thrive – Michael Fullan
Successful organizations adjust quickly and intelligently to shifts in consumer tastes, political climate, and economic opportunity. How do they do it? The Six Secrets of Change explores essential lessons for business and public sector leaders to thrive in today’s complex environment.
In this groundbreaking book, education expert Tony Wagner provides a powerful rationale for developing an innovation-driven economy. He explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators.
45. Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day – Jonathan Bergmann, Aaron Sams
It started with a simple observation: students need their teachers present to answer questions or provide help if they get stuck on an assignment; they don’t need their teachers to listen to a lecture or review content. From there, authors Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams began the flipped classroom – one of the best professional development books for a modern classroom.
46. Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School – Laura Fleming
Get the nuts and bolts on imagining, planning, creating, and managing a cutting-edge Makerspace for your school community. Nationally recognized expert Laura Fleming provides all the answers. From inception through implementation, you’ll find invaluable guidance for creating a vibrant Makerspace on any budget.
47. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners – Multiple Authors
Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching thinking, a proven program for enhancing students’ thinking and comprehension abilities. Begun at Harvard’s Project Zero, the teaching way develops students’ thinking dispositions while at the same time deepening their understanding of the topics they study.
48. Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner – Persida & William Himmele
Total Participation Techniques presents dozens of ways to engage K 12 students in active learning and allow them to demonstrate the depth of their knowledge and understanding. The book provides easy-to-use alternatives to the stand-and-deliver approach to teaching that causes many students to tune out–or even drop out.
49. Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns – Multiple Authors
Filled with fascinating case studies, scientific findings, and unprecedented insights on how innovation must be managed, Disrupting Class will open your eyes to new possibilities, unlock hidden potential, and get you to think differently. Professor Christensen and his coauthors provide a bold new lesson in innovation that will help you make the grade for years to come.
50. Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding – Jay McTighe, Grant Wiggins
What are essential questions, and how do they differ from other kinds of questions? What’s so great about them? Why should a teacher design and use essential questions in your classroom? Essential questions help target standards as you organize curriculum content into coherent units that yield focused and thoughtful learning.
51. The Understanding by Design Guide Set (2 Books)– Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe
Unit creation and planning made easy for Understanding by Design novices and veterans alike! Introduction to version 2.0 of the UbD Template is one of the most practical professional development books for teachers. It allows you to download fillable electronic forms to help you more easily incorporate standards, advance your understanding of backward design, and improve student learning.
52. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty – Elizabeth F Barkley
Student Engagement Techniques is a comprehensive resource that offers college teachers a dynamic model for engaging students. It includes over one hundred tips, strategies, and techniques proven to help teachers from various disciplines and institutions motivate and connects with their students.
53. Reinventing Writing: The 9 Tools That Are Changing Writing, Teaching, and Learning Forever – Vicki Davis
In this much-anticipated book from acclaimed blogger Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher), you’ll learn the key shifts in writing instruction necessary to move students forward in today’s world. Vicki’s book describes how the elements of traditional writing are being reinvented with cloud-based tools.
54. Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom – Sylvia Libow Martinez, Gary S Stager
There’s a technological and creative revolution underway. Excellent new tools, materials, and skills turn us all into makers. Using technology to make, repair or customize the things we need brings engineering, design, and computer science to the masses. Fortunately for educators, this maker movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing.
More Professional Development Books and Educator Books For Teachers Reading List
- The Teacher’s Guide To Self-Care: Build Resilience, Avoid Burnout, And Being A Happier And Healthier You To The Classroom – Sarah Frost
- I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything For Our Kids – Kyle Schwartz
- Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Succes – John C Maxwell and other Professional Development and Leadership Books by John C Maxwell
- Teach Like A Champion 3.0: Techniques That Put Students On The Path To College – Doug Lemov
- Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover
- Whole Brain Teaching: 122 Amazing Games!: Challenging Kids, Classroom Management, Writing, Reading, Math, Common Core/State Tests – Chris Biffle
- What School Could Be: Insights And Inspiration From Teachers Across America – Ted Dintersmith
- The First Days Of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher – Harry Wong
- Disruptive Thinking: Why How We Read Matters – Kylene Beers, Robert E. Probst
What are your best books for teachers? Leave your favorites in the comments below.