Should you have to pay for professional development?

By |2018-01-26T11:59:52-07:00March 3rd, 2015|

Professional Development: Should You Pay For It?

March is conference month and it’s often a time when people are either excited or miserable about professional development. Either you see bunches of posts, videos and pictures of conference sessions and mixers or you see lots of people sharing how much they wish they could go but just couldn’t swing it this year.  After all, most conferences are a huge investment and lighten our wallets tremendously.

More than likely, you’ll also run into the following argument: why should we have to pay for our own professional development?  After all, people in other industries don’t have to shell out of their own pockets to go to seminars or receive training.  Why are educators expected to pay for theirs, on top of everything else we contribute (did someone ask for another tissue)?

All of these are valid and important questions and deserve more than just a shrug and a “that’s just the way it is” statement.  In today’s EdCloset On-Demand Video, we’re getting right to the heart of the matter: should you have to pay for your own professional development?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  How much are you willing to invest in your own learning each year?  Are there things you WON’T pay for?  Comment below and let’s see where this conversation leads…


  1. Melva Sunday March 3, 2015 at 4:34 am - Reply

    I thought your comments really gave us a lot to think about . In my new position (which is a educator/leader position) I have learned some things about funding. The big nugget is ASK! :Lots of times you have not because you ask not. In the past I have been to conferences where I was a presenter and had to pay the registration-.So I decided to ask others for funding. Folks like principals who may have sub days that can allow you to attend a conference without taking personal leave. Ask upper level directors who may be able to provide funding for registration, travel expenses and lodging. Sometimes there is paperwork to file but in the long run, it could be worth it. Think about it, if you are presenting or if you care enough to take the time to go to a professional development, it makes an administrator look good to see that you are putting forth the effort to attend. It also helps them because they have found a person who may be able to help another teacher or one who can present on a topic in the future.

  2. Susan Riley March 3, 2015 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Melva – I love your statement “you have not because you ask not”. That’s something we should shout from the rooftops! I was just having that same discussion the other day with a central office director who said teachers would often come to him and shyly ask “I’d really like to go to this [insert event] but it’s a lot of money”. He would then ask what the cost would be and they said something like, “$99” or “200”. To him, that was a drop in the bucket and he could easily provide that for them. It allowed them to go AND helped him be of service to his staff. A true win-win. Often, what is truly an investment to us and our personal budget is more than do-able in our leader’s budget. Of course, we also have to remember that it’s all in HOW we ask and not just that we speak up.

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