What books should a teacher read?
Career entry literature for teachers
A literature recommendation to get started with the organizational side of everyday teaching life: first contact with the class, paperwork, teaching material, ...
In a few months I will start my new job as a primary school teacher and will take on the role of class teacher right away. So far so good. But what do you have to pay attention to from an organizational point of view? During the course, many theoretical, but not always practical, foundations were laid. In addition, the focus was clearly on the educational and technical aspects. But what about all the things that accompany everyday working life and give it a framework? Things like:
- First contact with the class, creating trust, becoming an authority
- Plan the school year, peak loads
- Paper system: name lists, homework control, parent notifications, ...
- Filing systems for teaching material
- Different seating arrangements, furnishing of the classroom
- First contact with parents, first parents' evening
- Get together in the college or with the school management
In addition to the lively exchange with experienced teachers, I wallowed intensively through a wide variety of books, especially for starting a career for (primary) teachers. I would like to introduce three of them to you at this point:
- The class teacher book for elementary school (Beltz Verlag 2012)
- 99 tips for primary school - mastering everyday school life (Cornelsen 2014)
- School start for teachers - a practical book (WBG 2013)
The books in comparison
All three books follow more or less the same concept: practical tips for everyday teaching are given on a wide range of topics such as class organization, rituals, or work with parents. The difference is in the details.
The class teacher book for elementary school
The class teacher book for elementary school is the most theoretical of the three candidates, although it must be clearly stated that the practical component is still very high. The authors Schubert and Friedrichs cut some more extensive topics such as class council, different learning types, competence-oriented teaching fundamentally in theory, but then refer, depending on the complexity of the respective topic, to more extensive and focused specialist literature. Nevertheless, you learn about a wide variety of concepts that you might have picked up by name but suppressed. Nothing stands in the way of individual follow-up. The main part of the book are many practical tips and templates that can be downloaded free of charge as a single PDF document from the publisher's website. It's nice that this works digitally.
Mastering everyday school life
At first glance, this book is less structured than the other two books. There is simply no subdivision into different chapters in the content area. These can only be identified in the table of contents and via an inconspicuous footer. In terms of content, however, it does not detract from the book: A continuous collection of short sections gives practical tips that, taken as a whole, appear to me to be sensible and usable, even if they are sometimes a bit too extreme for me. Example: Personal things are taboo. Whoever reveals this too early loses a lot of respect. But who knows how I feel about this own statement after a few months of practical experience. 🙂
The many cross-references between the individual tips, which can be viewed a bit like hyperlinks, should be mentioned positively. For example, if there is further useful information on the current tip for tip X, it is referenced in the marginal column.
School start for teachers - a practical book
Admittedly, I would probably have put this book back on the shelf after the first glance had I not been recommended it. The presentation can be described as conservative and the supplementary materials appear as visually hardly appealing master copies in the back third of the book. Beltz-Verlag makes this more convenient and contemporary with the digital download as PDF. But as in real life, you shouldn't give anything to the outside world. It's the inner values that count - and that's where the book comes up trumps.
The author Maja Dammann manages to deliver a very well-rounded overall package that leaves few questions unanswered. In terms of content and subject, I always had the feeling that I was being advised by someone who understands his craft and who can give me relevant practical tips that can be used 1: 1 in my lessons. The master copies are, even if they are not visually appealing, a great help in terms of content for a newcomer like me.
So much in advance: You can't go wrong with any of the three books presented. All candidates provide numerous practical tips and useful suggestions for structuring their own everyday teaching life. After reading all three books, you will of course find some content and tips that overlap, as they correspond to the current consensus. Nevertheless, each book provides its own ideas, so that I can now fall back on a large potpourri of ideas, from which I will use those that most closely match my own style.
If I had to determine a ranking for the books, it would first be Maja Dammann's «School Start for Teachers». I found it unbeatable in the overall package and I can really recommend it to every young professional, regardless of the type of school. The other two books share second place equally. The “99 Tips for Primary School” provide a quicker, more practical impulse for certain situations, while “The Class Teacher's Book for Primary School” is more comprehensive and therefore more like a small mini-compendium that can also be used as a basis for further research .
What you might be interested in on this topic:
What is your opinion?
Which books can you recommend for young professionals in everyday teaching?
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