Recommended books on teaching
1. Losing My Faculties by Brendan Halpin
2. Reluctant Disciplinarian: Advice on Classroom Management from a Softy Who Became (Eventually) a Successful Teacher by (former TFA corps member) Gary Rubinstein
As you can probably tell from the title of this one, it's half memoir, half self-help for teachers. If you're thinking about joining TFA, you might find this book useful both as a window into the lives of inexperienced teachers and as a source of tips on how to run your classroom.
This last one is a novel, not a memoir, and it was first published in 1964. And yet, if some of the dated references were changed, it could almost read as an account of the life of a teacher in 2005...
3. Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman
I'll continue to post other potentially useful books in the future. In the meantime, please keep in mind that the story of teaching that most frequently appears in books and movies--the story of the determined savior of students battling all of obstacles and winning a better life for her/his students against all odds--is something of a myth. It is a myth not because teachers can't touch lives, but rather because the real life of a teacher doesn't fit comfortably into a narrative with an inspirational end point. Maybe one day every single one of your students passes an extremely difficult exam--and then the next day, two of them get into a brawl in your class and are expelled. Move forward, fall back. The successes are tempered by failures, and vice versa. I say this not to discourage you, but rather to emphasize the importance of having realistic expectations about teaching, which, conveniently enough, will be the subject of my next post.