Summer Reading: Teacher Professional Development Edition

Now that summer is officially here, let’s talk summer reading and professional development! Most people know how hard teachers work during the school year, but not many know how hard we work during our summers. We attend conferences, teach summer school, work on our credentials, read, prepare, and do countless other things that help us be better teachers every year.

If you'd like to spend a little time on some relaxing yet thoughtful summer PD reading, here are some of our favorites! Have suggestions? Feel free to drop them below!

Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools by Mary Cay Ricci

  • Official Description: “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. The book includes a planning template, step-by-step description of a growth mindset culture, and “look-fors” for adopting a differentiated, responsive instruction model teachers can use immediately in their classrooms.”
  • Why teachers should read this book: So many teachers fall into the mindset that their students can’t or won’t succeed at high levels due to various factors. During the summer, we should work to re-frame that mindset to consider the positive growth potential. This book offers practical solutions that can recharge us, inspire us, and help us make a plan before we hit the frustrations that will inevitably come in the fall.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

  • Official Description: “Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people—at work, at school, at home. It’s wrong. As Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others) explains in his paradigm-shattering book Drive, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world 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.”
  • Why teachers should read this book: Although maybe not as practical in terms of teaching strategies, I think this book will leave us with some really important things to think about in terms of motivating students and motivating ourselves as professionals.

Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson

  • Official Description: “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. To realize our true creative potential—in our organizations, in our schools and in our communities—we need to think differently about ourselves and to act differently towards each other. We must learn to be creative.”
  • Why teachers should read this book: As teachers, creativity (and flexibility) are essential job skills. Even though I have never considered myself particularly artistic, this book helped me (and can collectively help us) to change the way we approach creativity in our craft and in our assignments.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

  • Official Description: “In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper 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. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.” She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.”
  • Why teachers should read this book: Many teachers are women, and almost all teachers teach young women. I think this is an empowering read that can help us be aware of the gender dynamics in our classrooms and in our own lives.

The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning by Tom D. Whitby and Steven W. Anderson

  • Official Description: 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
    • Use social media to enhance 21st Century education
  • Includes invaluable resources and an in-depth analysis of the social media landscape. Collaboration has never been easier with this must-have guide!
  • Why teachers should read this book: This is another practical, ready-to-use teacher book that can take us beyond the fear and uncertainty of using new technologies in the classroom and move us into the confidence to implement tech tools for all the right reasons.

What books would you add to this list? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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