Cleveland Schools Book Fund

Teachers! This summer reading list is for you.

Featured image credit John Spencer, | You don’t have to be a martyr to do student-centered learning

Everywhere you look, someone is publishing an article or news story about teacher stress and teacher burn-out. What can we do for the teachers!?!?!?! Hands wringing and brows furrowed, everyone is worried that the profession is at-risk.  But this kind of doomsday thinking doesn’t give professional educators nearly enough credit.

Teachers are a tough, resilient, and street-savvy lot. They can problem-solve with the best engineers, mediate disputes like the best arbitrators, understand childhood like the best developmental psychologists, and they have mastered the change process and technological upgrades with nimble agility!

2022 was arguably one of the most challenging years for students, parents, and educators. What teachers need more than anything is some downtime to unplug and recharge, and we’ve got a summer reading assignment to help them do just that.

The following titles have been recommended by educators, coaches, and mental health professionals to recharge your battery, regain perspective and reignite a passion for your work.

Cover Image Teacher ResilienceTeacher Resilience: Managing stress and anxiety to thrive in the classroom. (2021) Jamie Thom

Teaching is a wonderful profession, but it requires enormous amounts of physical, mental, and psychological reserves. Resilience is ultimately the difference between being overwhelmed by stress and anxiety and finding calm, purpose, and joy in our work with young people. From self-talk to collaboration, conflict management to lesson planning and differentiation, no trigger of potential teacher stress and anxiety is left unexplored. With practical tools to implement immediately, this is the book that all teachers need to thrive in a demanding profession.

Cover Image Don't Just Survive ThriveDon’t Just Survive, Thrive: A Teacher’s Guide to Fostering Resilience, Preventing Burnout and Nurturing Your Love for Teaching. (2021)  Sara Jane Herrboldt

This title offers hardworking teachers a sustainable blueprint for becoming unshakeable at school with the power of self-care.  Through mindfulness, connection, and creative art, you can work toward building a trauma-informed, self-aware strategy that fosters resilience and results in more engaged and effective teaching. Just five minutes a day or more of implementing the practical ideas in this book can result in powerful change.



Cover image Other Peoples ChildrenOther People’s Children (2006) Lisa Delpit

Delpit makes a convincing argument that the power dynamics in modern schools are anything but one-dimensional. The prejudice, experience, and family dynamics students and teachers bring to the table are active players in every educational interaction. New tools are needed to help make classroom environments conducive to teaching a diverse student body.




Cover Image The Element Sir Ken RobinsonThe Element (2009) Sir Ken Robinson

The Element looks at the lives of several prominent cultural figures in hopes of offering guidance to people hoping to find their passion in the workplace. Robinson’s book is incredibly useful, both as an employee and a teacher, as he presents actionable ways to help your students thrive in their environment.




Not Quite Burned Out but Crispy Around the Edges (2001) Sharon Draper

This collection takes a 360-degree view of education and tackles moments of hilarity, struggle, loss, and adversity in schools. By the end of this book, you’ll feel less alone and have a slew of survival techniques and coping mechanisms from seasoned teachers at the ready. An uplifting, honest read–you’ll get to see the full range of the struggles and joys of this profession unlike any other.




cover image book of awesomeThe Book of Awesome (2010) Neil Pasricha

If you’ve been stuck in a rut recently, The Book of Awesome is waiting to help you refill your battery and reconnect with some of life’s simple pleasures. Teachers need time to enjoy being themselves and reconnect to the everyday happiness that often gets overlooked. Based on the award-winning 10-million-plus-hit blog, this laugh-out-loud funny international best-seller is chock full of sharp observations.




Drive (2011) Daniel Pink

This genuinely mind-blowing good read helps readers rediscover their inner motivation. Anyone looking to figure out what motivates them gets the answer once they read this book. Many educators are perplexed about what triggers them to perform better, and the author has tried his best to help them.




Cover image Empower Dr. John SpencerEmpower: What happens when students own their learning. (2017) John Spencer

Kids begin their learning journey as curious problem solvers who ask questions and create solutions. As they go through school, something happens to many of our students, and they begin to play the game of school, eager to be compliant and follow a path instead of making their own. As teachers, we have the opportunity to be the guide in our kids’ education and unleash the creative potential of every student. In an ever-changing world, our job is not to prepare students for something; instead, our role is to help students prepare themselves for anything