Five ways to boost your professional development



It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running your classroom or school. You've got lesson plans to write, student progress to track, and a slew of other things on your plate. But if you want to stay relevant as a teacher, it's not optional that you're growing professionally. Even if you're already doing some professional development work, there are ways to take your efforts even further. I've put together five tips on how you can boost your professional development efforts at any level.

Whether you're actively trying to figure out what kinds of ways will work for professional development, or if you're already doing some but want to expand what you're doing, these five tips are here to help.


Professional development is wonderful for teachers no matter where they are in their careers, but it has different nuances for everyone. These won't work for everyone, but they can be a good starting point.


1. Subscribe to professional development blogs

It's important to stay up to date on what's happening in our industry. There are many blogs where you can find high-quality content to help you improve yourself and your teaching.

Professional development in the education field is essential for maintaining a competitive edge in an ever-changing society. Take some time to read what other educators have to say about the latest methods and strategies that are being used for learning.


School blogs are an excellent resource that can help you stay on top of innovative strategies, new technology and the latest educational trends. School blogs are an excellent way to network with teachers from across the world, share ideas and learn from each other.


There are many topics that education bloggers write about, but

here are ten topics that are common in education blogs:

  • Educational Technology

  • Best Practices

  • Positive Discipline

  • Homework Help

  • Tips for Teaching

  • Writing Strategies for Challenging Students

  • Hands-on Learning Tools to Make Teaching Easier

  • Student Behavior

  • Classroom Management Strategies

  • Language arts and Math Lessons

There are thousands of blogs out there that help teachers think about teaching differently. Many of these blogs, this one included, are written by teachers themselves.

Some are for sharing lesson plans, others are for sharing instructional strategies, and still others are for sharing ways to organize your classroom, so they run more smoothly.


If you subscribe to a few of these blogs, you'll be sure to find something that will spark an idea, challenge the way you're thinking about something in the classroom, or share a new resource that might make your life easier.


2. Attend in-person professional development events

Attending in-person professional development events is a great way to learn new skills, meet other educators, and keep up with the latest trends. Attending in-person events in our industry can help you build your network if you’re looking for a new job or want to work with other people in education.

A good way to learn and grow as a schoolteacher is by attending in-person professional development events. You can find most of these online through your state's teacher association, and they're often free or low-cost.


Professional development for schoolteachers can range from learning about new teaching methods to finding out how to incorporate new technology into the classroom. By attending local workshops and seminars, you can improve your teaching skills and stay current on vital information that will help you reach your students.


Despite the prevalence of online resources for teachers, there's no substitute for an in-person workshop. Many online resources provide static information about topics like technology or research methods that may not always apply to your specific needs as a schoolteacher.


In-person professional development events give you the opportunity to share ideas and concerns directly with other teachers and experts who can advise on real-world applications of new strategies and technologies.


Attending professional development events allows you to enhance your teaching skills by providing valuable opportunities for networking with other teachers, as well as new ideas and techniques that you might not discover through an online resource.


These workshops can also help you prepare for future career opportunities, such as administrative roles at the district level or even higher education positions, like college professorships.


3. Look for online courses or webinars to gain new skills

If you’re not sure what to do to gain new skills, then you can look for online courses or webinars to gain the skills you need to improve your career.

The education courses that are available online are aimed at teachers at all levels to help them improve their teaching skills and their practice. Courses are usually self-contained lessons that you can complete in spurts with the time you have available. Some courses are free to access, while others have fees attached.


You can find courses at the school level or the individual teacher level, depending on your particular needs. Most courses will allow you to work through them at your own pace. They tend to be fairly interactive, so you should feel stimulated and involved in your learning rather than just reading text to learn new skills.


Studies show that people learn better when they are comfortable, relaxed and not too tired or hungry, so ideally try to find a quiet place where you won't be interrupted.


There is also an array of webinars available for you to take part in, which can be good if you want some inspiration for ideas about how to teach something in the classroom or even just to find out more about a particular aspect of teaching or curriculum planning.


Webinars are usually free although sometimes there is a small charge, but they are still very affordable. To join a webinar, all you need is access to the internet and a microphone so that you can ask questions.


4. Read books on your topic of interest

Reading books on your topic of interest is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn from those who have been doing what you want to do.

There are many ways to learn how to be a better teacher. Books can be an invaluable resource if you know how to use them effectively. Here are three primary methods of reading that will help you become more effective in your professional development:


1) Read for comprehension


When looking for ways to improve yourself as a teacher, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of learning new things. But it's important not to skip steps and jump right into implementing new techniques. If you haven't first understood the material, you'll have little success developing it into something that is effective in your classroom.


2) Read for empathy


Books are often written from the perspective of someone who has experienced success. It can help if you think about what made them successful. Were they particularly hard-working? Did they surround themselves with others who were supportive of their goals? Did they have a mentor who helped them reach their potential?


3) Read for inspiration


Many people come across books that offer ideas they may never have considered before, but don't feel pressure to integrate those ideas into your classroom instruction immediately.


Instead, focus on being inspired by what you've read. Being inspired is one of the best feelings in the world because it allows us some time to step back and imagine all that we can accomplish.


5. Join a professional organization relevant to your work as a teacher

Professional organizations are a great way to network with other educators. They are also a great resource for staying current on best practices, staying abreast of fresh developments in your field, and for honing your skills.

Professional development is essential to the longevity and vitality of any career. There are many ways to develop professionally: you can attend workshops and seminars, read books and journals, try out new strategies in your classroom and ask for feedback from other teachers, or join a relevant professional organization.


Professional organizations play a key role in professional development for teachers. They provide a space to network with other educators, get updated on best practices in the field, and get feedback on your ideas.


Joining a professional organization is also a great way to keep up-to-date on fresh developments in your field. For example, if you're a science teacher who wants to try a new curriculum or technology, but aren't sure if it's going to work in your classroom, reach out to the professionals at your professional organization for feedback.


There are many professional organizations available. Some of the most common include:


TESOL International Association (TESOL) provides information about English language teaching globally through its publications and conferences around the world. TESOL promotes high standards in TEFL worldwide.


The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) focuses on helping pre-service and practicing teachers stay abreast of the latest research and best practices in education from a global perspective.


While you may not think that joining a professional organization has anything to do with your career as a teacher, joining one can help you better prepare for and ultimately advance in your teaching career.


Here are four reasons you should join a professional organization:


1) Learn from the best


Professional organizations bring together educators from all over the world. These people come from different backgrounds, different locations and different educational systems. Joining a professional organization will allow you to stay current on new practices and developments in your field, as well as provide you with an opportunity to learn from the best.


2) Network with colleagues


Professional organizations provide an opportunity to network with other teachers who share similar interests and goals. You will meet people who have been where you are now and who can share their wisdom and experiences with you so that you can improve your own skills and knowledge about your field.


3) Stay current on best practice in your field


Professional organizations keep their members informed of new techniques and strategies related to their field of work through various publications, websites, seminars, and conferences. Joining a professional organization gives you access to this information so that you can continue to develop strategies for educating students in the most effective ways possible.


4) Advance Your Career


The right organization can help you connect with others who share your interests. Groups like the National Career Development Association focus on networking and providing members with access to resources they need to advance their careers. Professional organizations also host conferences and other events so members can learn from one another and stay up to date on industry trends.


Conclusion:

If you want to be the best teacher you can be, it's important for you to improve yourself and your skills continually. These five tips will help you do just that and grow your teaching career.


Hopefully, I’ve given you some tips and made you think about how you can improve your professional development. While these five tips should be enough to get you started, there’s truly no substitute for experience — so try to find as many opportunities as possible to take on new roles, chat with teachers at other schools, and leverage the expertise of other educators as much as possible.


Make sure that you take time out of your busy schedule to engage in some form of professional development—you never know what might come out of it.


So, to wrap things up, please accept these last words of advice...


You are not a finished product. You are not perfect. You are still learning, and you always will be. But don’t let yourself fall behind. Keep moving forward and make sure that you continue to stretch your skills as a teacher.


Surround yourself with peers who challenge you to do better and keep setting new goals that push you to your limit. With that in mind, we wish you an enjoyable and fruitful professional development experience.