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NYC Helpline: How To: Develop as a Professional

What Have You Read Lately?
Theresa London Cooper

“Every exemplary teacher I know reads a lot. It’s not that these teachers have more time than the rest of us; they just make reading a priority because it’s how they enrich their lives and continue to grow as a teacher and a learner.”

Regie Routman

Reading is an essential practice that keeps us informed regarding best practice. It is a behavior that serves many purposes in our professional and personal lives. It deepens our understanding of important concepts, and broadens our way of thinking as we address the myriad needs of our students and school-related concerns in our classrooms and regions. It builds our content knowledge. Reading lays the foundation for provocative professional conversations and supports self –reflection as well as the development of informed opinions regarding educational issues.

On a personal level, it calms us down and feeds our passion for life as it gives us the energy to pursue our interest and hobbies. To that end, I would like to share a short list of some of the books I have read that supported and enriched my professional and personal life. Happy reading!

The Energy to Teach by Donald H. Graves

Graves encourages the reader to think about the many ways we can increase our energy to teach and live productively. The book helps us identify ways to boost our energy and minimize those activities that drain it. He does a wonderful job providing examples that can be useful in our daily lives.

Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach by Sam M. Intrator & Megan Scribner (editors)

Teachers write about the impact of selected poems (by the likes of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes) on their professional lives, showing how poetry can keep teachers highly engaged. A testament to the power of words.

The Power of Full Engagement : Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loer and Tony Schwartz

As educators we often talk about time being the culprit preventing us from doing all the things we must do. The authors of this book maintain a different opinion; they claim energy is the culprit. If you are seeking balance in your life, this book is for you.

The Passionate Teacher: A Practical Guide by Robert L. Fried

One of my favorites. A thought-provoking book that would serve well in a reading circle comprised of teachers. It describes the role, thoughts and behavior of passionate teachers. It is indeed a book that will give you pause and help you reflect on your practice. Are you part of the problem or the solution? Read this book and decide.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The national bestseller that addresses the intriguing idea of social epidemics and how they occur. It is an unusual book that engages the reader in the notions of influence and how it happens.

The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren

Do you ever find yourself just going through the motions, aimless, without a purpose? Warren shares with us his belief regarding the purpose of all mankind. He addresses the spiritual aspect of our lives as well as the daily dilemmas we encounter and strive to overcome. It is a book that will definitely get you thinking about the reason you exist.

Though I wouldn't consider any of the above "light" summer reading, you just might find picking up one or two or all of them to be just thing to inspire you as teacher.

See also my article Read! Read! Read!

Do you have a comment or question about this article? E-mail Theresa.


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