Being a teacher is hard work. Between the teaching, the testing, the prep time and the support, it’s a challenging job. But something that often goes overlooked in a teacher’s job description are the amount of PD hours you have to submit. Teachers everywhere are required to participate in continuing education and professional development.
And this doesn’t come cheap! Each course, conference or resource costs money. This can be especially challenging when teachers already pay so much out of their own pockets to provide an engaging learning environment for their students.
Finding Free Professional Development Resources
As a leading provider of online Arts Integration and STEAM professional development, we see this frustration all the time. That’s why we wanted to share some ways that you can get free professional development to help offset those costs. These options can be used for a wide variety of teacher PD experiences and can really make a difference!
Description: Let’s start with PD options that we offer right here: our EdCloset On-Air Workshops. There are 2 workshops that are available on-demand at anytime. You can watch them whenever it’s convenient and get a PD certificate for 1.5 hours. Or, you can sign up for one of our popular free course preview weekends. These weekends are available once per month and allow you take one of our online courses at no charge. You’ll even get a PD certificate for 5 hours.
Description: We all love the Donor’s Choose platform for crowdfunding our classroom needs. But did you know that they also offer a way to get your professional development crowdfunded? You can now create a Professional Development Project and specify what trainings you need, why and how much it costs. Then put it out there just like you would a regular Donor’s Choose project.
Submit a Purchase Order Request
Description: Most schools have money set aside for professional development funds. And even if you don’t think they will pay for yours, it never hurts to ask. What seems like a lot of money to an individual teacher is a drop in the bucket for a school or district. Reach out early and ask for reimbursement or a school purchase order to cover the costs of the event or course. Insider tip: try to do this between April 1 and June 30 each year. June 30 is the close of the fiscal year for most schools and they need to spend any extra money they have (including PD funds) or they will lose them. If there’s any extras, you might just get them!
Request it as a Gift
Description: Sometimes, friends and families don’t know what to get us as gifts. Asking for them to purchase or contribute to a course or conference you really want to attend is often a great idea. They love that they can help you get the PD you need and you get to attend something you’ve been thinking about forever. Win-win!
Description: This is perfect if you’re looking to try out some new teaching strategies, like Arts Integration and STEAM. These grants are available for up to $10,000/year for up to 3 years. This would be a great chance to apply for those larger learning opportunities, like our Arts Integration Certification Program.
If you’re looking for some new ways to afford the PD hours you need, these options might just be a good fit. No matter what you choose, remember that high-quality PD can make a world of difference. It can keep you fresh, rejuvenated and excited to be in the classroom each year. Let’s make this the year of great PD!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.