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Teacher Memoir: Finding Inspiration and Motivation

By ThriftBooks Team • April 19, 2022

Teachers share many concerns, triumphs, defeats, and joys with each other throughout their careers, regardless of the grade level or type of educational facility in which they teach.

As such, they find inspiration and motivation in each other's experiences. These experiences can be found and shared in books written by educators, for educators.

Teacher memoirs are books about the challenges educators face, and they can be a powerful source of hope and encouragement, providing a boost in morale for those who give so much to their students.

Some of the best books educators should read are these highly recommended teacher memoirs:

The Red Pencil: Convictions from Experience in Education by Theodore R. Sizer

Published in 2005, The Red Pencil is a teacher memoir full of the experiences of a prominent educator as he offers a passionate critique of the American school system.

Hailed as engaging and important, the book draws on the experiences Sizer gained over more than fifty years as an educator. He provides alternatives to failed educational routines and guidelines for creating a new educational system that would sculpt learning around every child's potential and needs.

A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned by Jane Tompkins

One of the most beloved literary scholars of all time, Jane Tompkins looks back on the life she spent inside the classroom in this teacher memoir. She recounts what she has learned and what she feels she needs to unlearn in A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned.

In addition, Tompkins describes her revelations about discarding the conventions of teaching in favor of learning what her students' lives are like. It's a story of awakening that not only critiques the educational system but also pays tribute to it.

Teacher Man: A Memoir by Frank McCourt

One of the most popular teacher memoirs of all time, Teacher Man was written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, who was an educator for 30 years before becoming a writer.

This teacher memoir is a bold and spirited tribute to teachers everywhere as McCourt recounts his triumphs, surprises, and trials in the classroom.

Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith

This teacher memoir by Rafe Esquith is a bestseller that has been described as a powerful book for teachers. Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire gives insight and information on the innovations, techniques, and exercises that made Esquith an educational icon, from tips about algebra and literature to his personal codes of behavior.

The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them by The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell

Now a major motion picture, this story comes straight from urban America and is an inspirational story of a young first-year teacher faced with "unteachable" students. After a revelation that led to her revamping her entire curriculum, her classroom undertook an eye-opening, life-changing turn, with her students coming along for the ride.

The students began writing their feelings and thoughts down. They named themselves the "Freedom Writers" as a tribute to the civil rights activists of the same name.

The Freedom Writers Diary is a collection of the nationally acclaimed writings of these students, offering an unforgettable account of how courage, hard work, and spirit changed their lives forever.

Teacher Memoir Books Educators Should Read

If you're searching for the best books written by educators about educators, you'll find no shortage of teacher memoirs at ThriftBooks. Within these memoirs, you'll find inspiration, motivation, empowerment, and information that can help you boost your teaching morale and see the profession with clarity, hope, and eagerness.

Make sure to sign up for the ReadingRewards program so you can earn points with every purchase that is redeemable toward free books! Read more and spend less with ThriftBooks.

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