Teacher Stories and Teaching Wisdom for Teachers: A Selected Bibliography

By Clarkson, Mary Cervantes | Journal of Teacher Education, May 1999 | Go to article overview

Teacher Stories and Teaching Wisdom for Teachers: A Selected Bibliography


Clarkson, Mary Cervantes, Journal of Teacher Education


According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 45.8% of all newly hired teachers in public schools in 1994 were first-year teachers. Of this percentage, 57% public and 43% private first-year teachers came directly from colleges with no teaching experience other than student teaching. First-year teachers have higher attrition rates from the profession than transfer and reentrant teachers. Believing both first-year and experienced teachers would profit from reading about teachers' experiences, I compiled this selected bibliography to provide teachers with examples of what they might experience in a teaching career.

Hundreds of books contain sage advice on teaching, discuss the vocation of teaching, and include tips on how to find out if teaching is right for the individual. Most suggestions in this bibliography are personal narratives of teachers who tell their own stories, their struggles, and their successes. It also includes books with advice and wisdom from mentor teachers. The selected texts include examples of perspectives from a variety of backgrounds, social and historical contexts, and settings.

Anderson, M. (1966). The children of the South. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

      Anderson draws on her experiences as teacher and guidance counselor in
   Clinton, Tennessee at one of the first Southern high schools to be
   segregated. She reports on how the radically new situation there affected
   the children psychologically, socially, and educationally.

Ashton-Warner, S. (1958). Spinster. New York: Simon & Schuster.

      This is a classic work in which Ashton-Warner writes about her life as a
   teacher working with Maori children in New Zealand.

Ashton-Warner, S. (1963). Teacher. New York: Simon & Schuster.

      A delightful, accurate, and sensitive tale of creative teaching, this
   semifictionalized account depicts Ashton-Warner's experience as a teacher
   of Maori children in New Zealand. In this classroom, all children are
   allowed to choose their own vocabulary, and student-written books are used
   instead of the official readers.

Ashton-Warner, S. (1972). Spearpoint: "Teacher" in America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

      Ashton-Warner relates her experiences in an experimental school in the
   American Rockies.

   Ayers, W. (1989). The good preschool teacher: Six teachers reflect on their
   lives. New York: Teachers College Press.

      Ayers presents six portraits of preschool teachers teaching and
   reflecting on their pathways to show a range of what is possible in
   preschool. The portraits provide practical examples of excellence in the
   field to motivate those starting out and to inspire and perhaps instruct
   those more experienced in early childhood education.

Ayers, W. (1993). To teach: The journey of a teacher. New York: Teachers College Press.

      Through beautifully written vignettes of children he has known, Ayers
   merges personal and professional descriptions of his journey as a teacher.

Ayers, W. (Ed.). (1995). To become a teacher. New York: Teachers College Press.

      Ayers presents practical, concrete advice for new teachers and
   experienced teachers rethinking their practices. He depicts obstacles
   teachers-to-be will hear and face if assigned to teach in inner-city public
   schools.

   Bess, S. (1994). Nobody don't love nobody: Lessons on love from the school
   with no name. Carson City, NV: Gold Leaf Press.

      This is one teacher's experiences teaching kindergarten through sixth
   grade in a public school classroom in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City,
   Utah. The book concludes by noting that deprivation of experience,
   opportunity, and self through lack of love and positive or stable
   experience is the real tragedy of poverty and homelessness.

Biting the apple: Accounts of first year teachers. …

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