Summer Reading 2023: Eight Book Recommendations for Teachers

It’s that time of year again! Summer is a great opportunity to catch up on some professional reading and carry the ideas and inspiration into the new academic year. Every year, I reflect on the books I have recently read and personally recommend five for my blog readers. In addition, I share three books that are on my summer reading list that have been recommended by others.

Below are the eight recommendations. Please note that the links are affiliate links that will direct you to Amazon.

My five recommendations:

Essential Truths for Principals by Danny Steele and Todd Whitaker, 2019

Even though I finished this book months ago, it was never returned to the bookshelf. It has been on my desk ever since and I dip into it almost every day. That’s because the chapters are short, making them easy to read again and again. These truths continue to motivate and inspire me. In particular, they offer important reminders of what matters most in schools. They help me to prioritise tasks and make best use of my time.

“You cannot be a great principal if you do not love teachers. They do the core business of the school, and it is crucial that they feel valued and vital.

Danny Steele and Todd Whitaker

Lead From Where You Are: Building Intention, Connection, and Direction in Our Schools by Joe Sanfelippo, 2022

I’ve been following Joe for years and especially enjoy his regular #1minwalk2work videos where he shares reflections and leadership challenges while he walks to work. Because these are always so insightful, I knew that his book would be amazing and it didn’t disappoint. I took away many important messages from this book including the importance of leading with intention, the importance of finding joy in our work and the impact of Recognise, Acknowledge, Extend.

“Organisations move forward together when there is a focus on getting better daily. If your group is better tomorrow than it was today, even a little, the impact over time is profound.”

Joe Sanfelippo

Be The Flame: Sparking Positive Classroom Communities by Shane Saeed, 2021

I’ve been following Shane on social media for a while and so I was excited to find out about her book. Be The Flame is all about developing strong relationships with students and helping them to develop relationships with each other. The book includes lots of practical ideas for building class communities and promoting teamwork.

“Relationship building is the single most powerful tool educators have in their teacher toolbox.”

Shane Saeed

SEEing to Lead: Support. Engage. Empower by Dr. Christopher Jones, 2022

This book is about three roles of leadership: support, engage and empower. It is divided into these three sections and offers lots of ideas and strategies under each topic. It mostly made me reflect on my relationships with teachers because this is a theme that runs across all three sections. It is essential that we know our teachers personally, value them and give them a strong sense of belonging,

“The support we offer teachers always matches the level at which we value them as both people and professionals… The effort we put into anything (exercise, friendships, scheduling, etc.) is directly related to how much we value that thing.”

Dr. Christopher Jones

Leading the Whole Teacher: Strategies for Supporting the Educators in Your School by Allyson Apsey

From her research, Allyson identified six areas that leaders should focus on to effectively lead teachers: Emotional Safety, Decision-Maker, Positive Relationships, Healthy Workload, Valued Educator and Continuous Learner. The books dives into these topics and offers practical ideas on how to implement them to support and empower teachers.

“Fulfilled, satisfied, and passionate teachers set the foundation for engaged, excited, and high-achieving students.”

Allyson Apsey

My summer reading list 2023:

Risk Taker by Brian Aspinall, 2023

Brian is well known for disrupting education and inspiring teachers. In Risk Taker, he documented his journey and outlined the importance of the risks that he took along the way. This new version of Risk Taker includes the original content from the first version, an additional chapter and contributions from other fantastic educators from around the globe.

The Leading Edge by Holly Ransom, 2021

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I won this book from the School Leaders Bootcamp. I was able to choose a book from the selection. Having been utterly inspired by Holly’s session, the choice was an easy one. Since then, I have followed her on Instagram and she continues to inspire me. I look forward to reading this books because I already know that it will be amazing.

Concept-Based Inquiry in Action: Strategies to Promote Transferable Understanding by Carla Marschall and Rachel French, 2018

Truth be told, this one has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now. It’s bigger and heavier than most of my other books, not really one to carry around or whip out on the bus. But it looks brilliant! I just need to be more intentional about reading it while I’m at home. It seems to be jam-packed with great ideas and strategies for concept-based inquiry learning – perfect for my new role.

I hope that these suggestions have inspired you to read! Don’t forget to check out my previous lists for dozens more recommendations. Lastly, have a wonderful summer and a well deserved rest!

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