The New Science Teacher's Handbook
by Sarah Reeves Young and Mike Roberts

Price at time of review: $31.95
163 pp.
NSTA Press
Arlington, VA
ISBN: 9781936959495

Grade Level: K-12

Reviewed by Adah Stock
Master Teacher and a Science Education Consultant

It can be many years past your first year as a teacher, but that is an experience one never forgets. Each experience is unique, but there are many common threads. These authors have captured those threads and created a useful tool that any first year teacher can benefit from.

There are fourteen chapters in this volume. They cover topics such as classroom conditions, working with mentors, classroom management, grading, and many more. Each chapter starts with ‘The Story’. These stories are those of the authors’ experiences. It provides the reader with an understanding that even experienced educators started off with less than perfect situations. As the authors indicate, ‘it’s nice to know that someone else has had a similar struggle.’ Each story is followed by ‘The Moral’. The moral is what can be learned from that story. This helps the reader to move on beyond the situation. This is then followed by a section called ‘Step for Success.’ This section has steps that can lead a new teacher toward success. There are multiple strategies presented because one solution cannot fit all people. As a new teacher, one cannot be sure what constitutes. For that reason the next section of the chapter is called‘What Does Success Look Like’. In this section, new teachers realize that common challenges often lead to positive results. The last section of each chapter is a section called ‘Resources’. This is the part of the chapter where additional help can be found. These resources include the Next Generation Science Standards, the National Research Council’s Framework for K–12 Science, the National Science Teachers Association publications, and guides, as well as books and articles on that topic. Each of these resources are briefly reviewed so a reader knows what to expect from each resource.

One of my favorite chapters is called “Professional Development: Learning to Always Be a Student.” This is what teaching is all about. The story focuses on whether a teacher has time to go to a professional conference. The moral is about the benefits of going to learn something new. The steps talk about the types of professional development, such as school and district options, those provided by teacher associations, listservs, informal sites, universities and community colleges, and research institutions. This really covers the whole gambit of choices that a new teacher may not be aware of. The next step is about deciding which session to attend. As the authors state: “Your time is valuable, so you want to spend it getting resources and knowledge that make sense for your curriculum, resources, and community.’ These steps are practical and wise. The last step suggests you share what you learned with your colleagues when you get back. In short, educate others. As a seasoned educator, that one chapter best describes how new teachers can start building toward a successful future in education. As a fan of this book, I wish it had been available when I first started so many years ago. I know that this volume will provide excellent guidance for all new teachers. It should be recommended reading to all new educators.

Review posted on 10/23/2013

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