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
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
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. …