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7 Great Books for Teachers That Will Advance Your Career

Derek Cullen
13 Dec 2022
6 min read
7 Great Books for Teachers That Will Advance Your Career

Students need your support, and as a Teacher it’s up to you to ensure they are engaged and motivated on a daily basis. At the same time, you’ve got to be able to learn, develop and grow as a person in order to provide this support to anyone else. This is exactly why reading is so important as a teacher and why books for teachers can truly transform and influence the rest of your career.

But what books for teachers should you know about?

Let’s take a look at some books that could help in your next teaching role and beyond.

7 Books for Teachers that You Should Actually Read

Make It Stick

You know that saying about “learning the hard way”? Make it Stick by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel draws on recent studies in cognitive science to show how some learning styles are ineffective because they make learning easier for students. For instance, many students will underline passages in a textbook before an exam but cognitive science points to the ineffectiveness of this approach and the author goes on to suggest alternative methods such as retrieval practice or spaced learning.

Maybe you are familiar with other practices like self-testing or interleaving?

Make it Stick is a fascinating tribute to study and self-improvement.


Malcolm Gladwell shot to fame when Outliers reached top spot of the New York Times Bestsellers. The author weaves a cohesive narrative throughout the book which explains a “hidden story” which underlies the most successful people. It’s a rather provocative story because the author talks about family, culture, location, time and many factors which the best actors, athletes, doctors, teachers and every other title have in common.

What makes a high-achieving teacher or student? Read Outliers for this highly interesting opinion.

Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning

Empower is a practical guide that shows teachers how to give students the confidence they need to take the reigns of their own learning. Instead of asking students to comply, engage and pay attention, the author suggests teachers try to empower students to crave learning for something they find meaningful and purposeful. The book was written by real educators and explores the idea that children begin their school-days as curious learner but then somehow learn to depend on others to curate what and how they learn. It’s an interesting angle to take with regard to teaching and the book should interest teachers that want to encourage students to forge their own path in life.

I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids

This book for teachers by Kyle Schwartz began one morning when the author asked her students to fill in the blank to “I Wish My Teacher Knew __”. While some of the answers were funny, just as many were sad, touching and hugely insightful. As a result, Schwartz realised the need for teachers to better know and understand each of their students. The book also goes on to explain how this kind of understanding is needed to create an open and supportive classroom in which students can thrive in spite of their life challenges.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Carol Dweck is widely regarded as a prominent authority on the role of mindset. She breaks down the nuances that separate a fixed and growth mindset and explains how mindset can dramatically influence human endeavour. The book specifically refers to instances in which parents, managers and teachers use mindset to foster exceptional accomplishment. This insightful book for teachers also introduces phenomenons such as false growth and truer growth and essentially illustrates how mindset can transform and motivate people in the right direction. Just so you know, Carol Dweck is a Stanford University psychologist and probably the most qualified expert in her chosen field.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a framework for changing and improving everyday habits. The author goes to great length to detail why habits form and precise strategies on how to change them. While teachers can translate these good habits into the class, Atomic Habits is a blueprint for life itself and improving every aspect of your every-day. There are also lots of practical concepts and nuggets of wisdom. For instance, compounding habits is a theme which talks about the big impact of tiny behaviours and how readers can capitalise on newly-formed habits. The author uses daily exercise as an example and suggests you might also use this time to listen to a self-development podcast or audiobook which should double your rewards. It’s not conjecture either as the author draws on much data, statistics and studies which relate to the psychology, biology and neuroscience behind these habits.

What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World

Teaching is hard and there’s a reason why teachers relate so strongly to one another. Some days are far from perfect but teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. In response to a rude remark, Taylor Mali wrote a poem as a tribute to the teaching profession – a poem which went on to inspire millions of teachers and perhaps reminded them of the reasons they got into teaching in the first place. Mali is very clear with her thoughts throughout the book and talks about how teachers energise students and help them excel beyond their imagined capability. What Teachers Make is a witty, poignant and inspirational book that talks about the joys of teaching and every teacher should own a copy.

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