As an educator, you understand the importance of on-going education and the necessity too be a lifelong learner. I am always seeking avenues to learn more… about everything I possibly absorb. Finding professional development to fit your liking is not a problem. The problem exists in which professional development path to charter.
Fortunately there are many avenues on how to access information and increase one’s knowledge set. Today’s technologically advanced society affords us with more options than ever.
RECOGNIZE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
So now that the school year is over, first make sure to refresh yourself and take a breather. You did it… again! You were successful in your teaching efforts and now you reflect on what went right and what didn’t. Now this is the time to look forward and make decisions on where to place focus in the area of professional development.
If you are like me, the always, must-have staple is a good book. Perhaps your focus is classroom management, or otherwise skill-based. Maybe you want to hone a specific technique in art. There are so many great publications that fit every category of teaching and learning imaginable. Start there and build.
PERSONALIZED PD WITH PEERS
I find one of the most valuable and personal professional development opportunities is SO readily available that it’s obviousness is often overlooked. One on one discussion with a colleague. That’s it.
Often when we discuss with our peers and colleagues our focus is centered on the specific ‘fire’ that needs to be extinguished. That is actually ok, and certainly necessary as someone else’s perspective is always good to hear.
We forget however that our colleagues are a wealth of information that we have access to, and can tap into with little effort. So I suggest to schedule time with a colleague, or two, or three during your time off. Let these contacts know what you hope to achieve during your meeting. The meeting does not have to be formal, the local coffee shop or eatery can be a great place to meet.
Plan ahead and draft a few bullet points for discussion. Just as with everything else you do as an educator, you’ll soon find the discussion to organically navigate it’s path. You and your colleagues will not only exchange great ideas, but camaraderie will build in strength. Who doesn’t enjoy good company? There, you’ve just created your very own personalized mini-PD.
USE 21ST CENTURY TECHNOLOGY
If you are reading this now, then you have another amazing tool to seek professional development…your computer.
You could go to a live conference specifically geared to a topic of your liking. Conferences are wonderful for interacting with peers in the same field who all share a common interest. I really enjoy live conferences because they are in themselves dynamic, and filled with an air of excitement. For me however, they sometimes are information overload and a little stressful only because I would like to attend all the sessions but I must CHOOSE which sessions to attend, and which sessions to not attend. Yikes!
I have a great idea, and alternative to live conference attendance for professional development. One that is simple, convenient, affordable, and tailored to my schedule! It’s the EducationCloset Summer 2018 Arts Integration & STEAM Online Conference.
These conferences are simply amazing and once I ‘found’ the resource a few years ago, I have attended them all without fail! There are many perks to this online conference but I want to point out a couple things…
- Attendance to the conference can either be same/day-live or if you are busy otherwise, you can attend anytime afterwards, with full access to all the presenters and their handout resources.
- The information presented is so valuable and because it’s all archived, you are able to watch any of the presenters over and over again! This has been invaluable for me because I often like to take notes and therefore am able to press the pause button, or even rewind any part.
I could go on, but your own discovery into this treasure trove of valuable resources will be the best method.
Summer is a great time to relax and refresh and an educators work life is driven by a bell schedule. Take the time for yourself, meet-up with friends and exchange ideas, and plan your professional development around you!
Dolph holds a Bachelors of Science, Product Design from Art Center College of Design and a Masters degree in Education. Dolph has spent most of his teaching career as a 6th grade teacher in the elementary school setting, with a focus on Gifted and Talented Education, but is currently teaching 4th grade in Fullerton, California. He is married and is the father of Bonnie and Clyde, Golden Retriever littermates, one cat and two American Quarter horses.