Pick up one of these teacher-written guides over your next school break to return to your classroom with fresh and inspiring ideas.
By Lesley Vos, a private educator of French language and a Bid4papers blogger.
A good teacher is not the one who believes he knows everything, but the one who is ready to learn new things and improve his knowledge and skills. A good teacher is not the one who perfectly knows a theoretical part of a subject she teaches, but the one who knows how to talk and behave to her students, how to understand them, how to become their friend, how to make them trust and rely on her.
If you want to become a teacher who rocks, it’s never late to learn some tips and tricks from your colleagues: check out these 10 top books written by your fellow instructors to help you understand your students better, and come back to school a better teacher.
Your must-read books include:
1. Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit
Your students are different, and big problems may appear because of some stereotypes or prejudices in your classroom. The author of Other People’s Children analyzes all cultural differences that may appear between teachers and students, and tells how to forget about all this cultural baggage and take into account the needs of every student regardless of his color.
Other People’s Children on Amazon: link
2. Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham
The author of this book is a cognitive scientist, and he scientifically explains how you can engage students in a classroom. If you want to know how your students’ brain works, this book is your must-read for sure. Here you will find some advice and tricks to use to improve your practice and motivate students. Daniel Willingham explains how important emotions are for students’ learning experience and how memory and context influence the process of study too.
Why Don’t Students Like School on Amazon: link
Food makes everything better. Using it as a motif, or repetitive symbol, in literature makes reading all the more delicious. Who would not wish to take a bite out of Madame Bovary’s ultra-chav wedding’s Savoy cake, or know for themselves exactly how bad that gruel was in Oliver Twist. Check these ten famous literature munchies and see why they make great food…for thought!
10. Cucumber Sandwiches- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play The Importance of Being Earnest opens in a glamorous West London bachelor’s pad belonging to the dandy Algernon Moncrieff. “Algy” asks his butler to prepare cucumber sandwiches for his aristocratic aunt, Lady Bracknell. Algy’s best friend Ernest asks, “Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young?” The issue concludes with Algy’s mindless eating of all of his aunt’s sandwiches prior to her arrival, only to claim to her later that there were no cucumbers in the market “even for ready money.”
So why are cucumber sandwiches considered extravagant? Although cucumbers originated in India over 4,000 years ago it was not until Queen Victoria’s appointment as Empress of India in 1877 that the influence of the national products, such as the cucumber, fully entered the British culture. Once the sandwiches hit the royal table for the first time, the upper and middle classes caught wind of it and made them their signature afternoon tea snack. Following the very Victorian tradition of imitating everything that the Queen did, these once-dubbed “beautiful” people solidified the connection between the cucumber sandwich and “poshness.”
9. Eggs- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
In Frank McCourt’s 1987 Nobel prize-winning memoir Angela’s Ashes, the egg symbolizes hope, wishes, and indulgence. This guileless motif is juxtaposed to the dire living conditions of the Irish Catholic McCourt family. Young Frank tells us in chapter IX that he has plans for “that egg” that he would get the Sunday after his father gets the first paycheck from his new job. The plan: To “tap it around the top, gently crack the shell, lift with a spoon, a dab of butter down into the yolk, salt, take my time, a dip of the spoon, scoop, more salt, more butter, [and] into the mouth”. Yummo! Eggs are described with particular candor, as they represent a luxury that the McCourts, with their never-ending financial woes, could hardly afford.
Sadly, no one gets any eggs. Malachy, Frank’s father, ends up squandering all of his paychecks, leaving his family to fall deeper into their cavernous money hole. But lady luck helps Frank once he leaves Ireland and reaches America: he gets to work at a restaurant, and hunger is no longer an issue for him! After hunger is satiated in the novel, food becomes a motif for American excesses, complete with dreams of a jumbo shrimp chasing Mrs. Angela McCourt down the street. The novel is not about food, but you get the idea.
Halloween is just around the corner! If you’re looking for a costume idea, we’ve collected our top 10 literature-inspired outfits here by level of difficulty, so you can look bookishly awesome no matter how much time you have on your hands.
1. Ishmael, from Moby Dick
You’re just one name tag away from “Call me Ishmael.”
2. Fifty Shades of Grey
Witty and racy. Head to your local hardware store for some free color sheets and you’re done! Read the rest of this entry »
…and the reviewers who actually read them.
1. People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It
There are actually quite a few Goodreads reviews of this one, and it seems to generate love-hate (but mostly hate) reactions:
Anita Dalton rated it 1 of 5 stars
Unusual beliefs make the world more interesting. But there are times when bad, bad writing combine with bad, dangerous information, and I am left with nothing but snark. If Penn Jillette read this book, he would s#@* blood.
Heather rated it 5 of 5 starsAnyone with an open mind should explore the pages of this non-fiction journey. It’ll make you think about things that you wouldn’t naturally consider. I loaned this to a co-worker and haven’t seen it since!
Maybe the spirits took it?
2. How to Avoid Huge Ships
The kicker with this one is that it’s labeled as the “Second Edition.” It’s hard to imagine what the first edition might have left out. Unsurprisingly, Poets & Writers hailed it as the “worst book ever” back in 2011, despite its $131 price tag and huge underground following. They also rounded up some of its snarkiest Amazon reviews, which are well worth a read:
I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer’s other excellent books: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational. After reading them I haven’t been hit by anything bigger than a diesel bus. Thanks, captain!
Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn’t find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined.