The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher was heavily recommended to me, so I made a point to go through it this summer. Reading it so soon after Teach Like A Champion, though, was kind of a letdown. Teach Like A Champion is much more focused on extremely specific procedures and techniques, that are broken down into steps, with the rationale explained at the beginning of each technique. The First Days of School is structured a little differently. Much of the book kind of serves as rationale, with the first five chapters advocating for using research-based practices and advice for being an effective teacher, and the next five chapters about having positive expectations–told in a more general, conceptual way. A lot of the information was things I already knew, or had just read in Teach Like A Champion, but that’s to be expected.
There were some helpful bits along the way, though, and there were times where I read something that sparked another idea of something I can use next year. The last five or six chapters were by far the most useful for me–those chapters are about lesson planning, assessment, and becoming a teacher-leader. The main lesson planning concept–plan backwards–was something I already knew, and something that was explored thoroughly in the other book, but this book explains it in a different way and has a slightly different procedure, especially when it comes to assessment, and I found that really helpful. The teacher-leader section is great, because it clearly outlines the actions and characteristics of teachers who want to be in a leadership position. Also useful was the section on why teachers should dress professionally, which I do agree with (especially since I look so young), but the no-sneaker stance makes me a little sad. I usually start the school year wearing dress shoes but end up in sneakers by March (although usually with dresses). I may need to rethink that, sadly.
I think this book would be best for new teachers–like, brand-new teachers, who haven’t had their own classrooms yet, or who have only taught for a year. The structure and more generalness of the book makes it far less overwhelming than Teach Like A Champion. However, it’s always good to pull techniques from multiple sources, and I did add to my plans for next year from some of what I read. I have a new classroom management book by the same authors to read, so I’m curious to see what I can gain from that book.