The Top 50 Best Books for Teachers

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.

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Now all of these are exceptional reads. They are in no particular order. Number one is just as great a resource as number fifty. So take a browse through the list or jump direct to your area of interest.

Inspiration

Best Books for Teachers 1-10

1. 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.

Best Books for Teachers - Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

 

2. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In Lean In, Sandberg digs into issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women.

 

3. 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 at 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 Element

 

4. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change – Adam Braun

The riveting New York Times bestseller about a young man who built more than 250 schools around the world—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 biggest ambitions into reality.

The Promise of a Pencil

 

5. Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage and Transform, – Elise Ballard

Have you ever experienced an epiphany, a life-changing moment or 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.

Epiphany

 

6. The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life – Chris Guillebeau

A remarkable book that will both guide and inspire, 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.

The Happiness of Pursuit

 

7. 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 be turned 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.

Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative

 

8. 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.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

 

9. Walking on Water: Reading, Writing and Revolution – Derrick Jensen

Remember the days of longing for the hands on the classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hated school. Why is that? What happens to creativity and individuality as we pass through the educational system?

Walking on Water: Reading, Writing and Revolution

 

10. 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 at 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.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Leadership

Best Books for Teachers 11-20

11. Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times – Eric C. Sheninger

Digital leadership is a strategic mindset and set of behaviors that leverages resources to create a meaningful, transparent, and engaging school culture. It takes into account recent changes such as ubiquitous connectivity, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization to dramatically shift how schools have been run and structured for over a century.

Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times

 

12. The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact – Michael Fullan

One of the best-known leadership authors in education, Fullan explains why the answer lies neither in micro-managing instruction nor in autonomous entrepreneurialism. He shows systematically how the principal’s role should change, demonstrating how it can be done in short order, at scale.

The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact

 

13. 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.

Flipping Leadership Doesn't Mean Reinventing the Wheel

 

14. 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 book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator.

Also see Fractus reviews of: Play Like a Pirate and Explore Like a Pirate.

Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator

 

15. Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools – Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Managing Director of Uncommon Schools) shows leaders how they can 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 intentional focus on these areas, leaders will leverage much more learning from the same amount of time investment.

Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools

 

16. 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 that they shirk. Learn how to focus on your good employees first, and help them shift these monkeys back to the under-performers.

Shifting the Monkey: The Art of Protecting Good People From Liars, Criers, and Other Slackers

 

17. 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 gained from more than 100 interviews with school leaders, this book pinpoints the five disciplines that define how Multipliers bring out the best across their schools.

The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools

 

18. What Great Principals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most – Todd Whitaker

Inspire yourself and others with the second edition of this best-selling book. With heartfelt advice, practical wisdom, and examples from the field, Todd Whitaker explains the qualities and practices that distinguish great principals.

What Great Principals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most

 

19. What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most – Todd Whitaker

In the second 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.

What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most

 

20. 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 book, award-winning blogger and educational technology expert Steven W. Anderson explains how and why leaders should use technology and outlines what should be in every leader’s digital toolkit.

The Tech-Savvy Administrator: How do I use technology to be a better school leader?

Educational Psychology

Best Books for Teachers 21-30

21. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character – Paul Tough

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.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

 

22. 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 success, Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with ideas for ways to build a growth mindset school culture, wherein students are challenged to change their thinking about their abilities and potential.

Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools

 

23. 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 not only in these students, but also in teachers themselves.

The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students

 

24. 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 both learn can make all the difference.

The Way They Learn

 

25. 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 book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn.

Why Don't Students Like School

 

26. 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.

The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child

 

27. 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. The book speaks to students, teachers, trainers, athletes, and all those interested in lifelong learning and self-improvement.

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

 

28. 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 key principles underlying learning, from how effective organization enhances retrieval and use of information to what impacts motivation.

How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching

 

29. Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning – John Hattie

Visible Learning for Teachers brings the results of more than fifteen years research to a completely 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.

Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning

 

30. 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.

Design For How People Learn (Voices That Matter)

Learning Culture

Best Books for Teachers 31-40

31. 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 upon which to build a more student-centered system, along with essential advice that provides the expertise necessary to build the next generation of K-12 learning environments.

Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools

 

32. 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 teachers 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.

The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning

 

33. Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential – Carol Dweck

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea-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.

Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential

 

34. 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.

School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It

 

35. Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level – Don Wettrick

In classrooms across the nation, innovative teachers are employing passion-based, open-source learning to improve their student’s education. In Pure Genius, Don Wettrick encourages teachers and administrators to collaborate–with experts, students, and one another–to create interesting, and even life-changing opportunities for learning.

Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level

 

36. 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 and offer new ideas and strategies on how stories, rituals, traditions, and other cultural practices can be used to create positive, caring, and purposeful schools.

Shaping School Culture: Pitfalls, Paradoxes, and Promises

 

37. 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.

Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School

 

38. 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.

Cultures Built to Last

 

39. 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 toshifts in consumer tastes, political climate, and economicopportunity. How do they do it? The Six Secrets of Change explores essential lessons for business and public sector leaders for thriving in today’s complex environment.

The Six Secrets of Change

 

40. Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World – Tony Wagner

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.

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World

Practice

Best Books for Teachers 41-50

41. 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 to provide help if they get stuck on an assignment; they don’t need their teachers present to listen to a lecture or review content. From there, authors Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams began the flipped classroom.

Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day

 

42. 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.

Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School

 

43. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners – Multiple Authors

A proven program for enhancing students’ thinking and comprehension abilities Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching thinking, begun at Harvard’s Project Zero, that develops students’ thinking dispositions, while at the same time deepening their understanding of the topics they study.

Making Thinking Visible

 

44. Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner – Persida Himmele, William Himmele

Providing easy-to-use alternatives to the stand and deliver approach to teaching that causes so many students to tune out–or even drop out–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.

Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner

 

45. 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.

Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition

 

46. 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 you 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.

Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding

 

47. The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units – Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe

Unit creation and planning made easy for Understanding by Design novices and veterans alike! This book for teachers introduces version 2.0 of the UbD Template and allows you to download fillable electronic forms to help you more easily incorporate standards, advance your understanding of backward design, and improve student learning.

The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units

 

48. 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 and includes over one hundred tips, strategies, and techniques that have been proven to help teachers from a wide variety of disciplines and institutions motivate and connect with their students.

Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty

 

49. 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 describes how the elements of traditional writing are being reinvented with cloud-based tools.

Reinventing Writing: The 9 Tools That Are Changing Writing, Teaching, and Learning Forever

 

50. Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom – Sylvia Libow Martinez, Gary S. Stager

There’s a technological and creative revolution underway. Amazing 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.

Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom

What are your best books for teachers? Leave your favourites in the comments below.

10 Comments

  1. This is a great list, and very current. I would add Debbie Silver’s Fall Down 7 Times, Get up 8: Teaching Kids to Succeed. It’s a wonderful blend of theory, practice and narrative.

  2. Another great book that was recently published and is a real self-training manual for language teachers is the book ‘Optimise your Teaching Competences: New Teaching Methodologies and CLIL Applications in Foreign Languages’. It contains innovative teaching methodologies and approaches as well as a wealth of teaching ideas for pair-work and group-work activities.

  3. Great list, but I would have liked to see some more critical works that can incite discussion about the systems and conditions of learning. For example, Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Pedagogy of Freedom, McLaren’s Life in Schools, hooks Teaching to Transgress, Kumashiro’s Bad Teacher and Against Common Sense. As teachers we need to engage in theory and practice to make our reflections more than just a practitioner’s work.

  4. Now many self help books are in the markets. But I couldnot understand why the readers are decrasing . I can’t say why the majority peoples hate books.

  5. I suggest to add “Clean Language in the Classroom” by Julie McCracken. It has been published a few days ago. I do like it very much and I think it has the power to change the methods of teaching in grammar schools. It is a book not only for teachers, but also a great source for inspiration to all kind of educators and to parents. I got a lot of ideas from it as a coach and trainer.

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