Imagine standing before a classroom filled with eager eyes, not only delivering knowledge but also igniting your class to question and explore. That is the magic of teaching, honed by continuous learning all throughout your career. But as any other skill, it requires dedication and commitment to become the best educator you can be. This is where professional development comes in. A way for you to not only teach but inspire.
Think of professional development as an investment to your teaching career, taking you to new heights. By embracing it, you unlock a variety of benefits:
Stay ahead of the curve
The education landscape is constantly evolving, whether through new technologies, student needs, etc. Professional development pushes you forward and equips you with the skills to develop innovative strategies and tailor them to your different learning styles. The possibilities are endless!
Reignite your passion
Teaching, like any other job, can have its challenges. Through learning and development you are able to reignite that passion that made you want to work in education. Through courses, workshops and conferences you can connect with like-minded professionals and find fresh perspectives, sending you back to the classroom with enthusiasm.
Student success flourishes
Enhancing student learning through professional development is a great feeling. The knowledge and experiences you gain through your development as a Teacher translate directly into the classroom, with more engaging lessons and effective teaching strategies.
All this is great, but you may still be asking yourself how you can start your journey and become the best educator you can be… Finding the right resources is key and we’ll be taking a look at some below.
Effective Professional Development resources for school staff
Whether you are a teacher, or support students in the school as a teaching assistant, there are a range of tools and resources you can make the most of to build confidence as an educator.
Arguably the most common, online courses can allow you to develop without putting your job on hold. These programs are often self-paced, meaning you can complete them in your own time. Additionally, you are able to select your modules, depending on what it is you are looking to learn.
Popular online courses for teachers can be found in the following websites:
Coursera offers a range of courses from top universities around the world. Some will offer you a shareable certificate upon completion of the course which is particularly useful if you are looking for a new opportunity and want to showcase your commitment to developing as a teacher.
A highly recommended course would be “Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Introduction” by Commonwealth Education Trust.
Another great option where you can find a variety of courses is Future Learn. You can browse from both free and paid courses, where you can learn about topics surrounding special needs, behaviour management, STEM and much more.
Similar to Coursera, these courses are also from top universities worldwide.
Similar to both Coursera and Future Learn, you’ll find an array of courses from institutions worldwide.
Webinars are online events where a group of people participate and listen to a speaker deliver a presentation surrounding a particular topic. Often times, the speaker will share their screen and provide visual tools to support their presentation.
As opposed to online courses, these are live sessions which take place online at a particular time. This offers certain advantages as most of the time, speakers will open the floor for questions. Because these sessions are live, you may miss out depending on your commitments.
Luckily, many speakers will record the webinar and send it out to participants who can watch it afterwards in case they missed it.
A quick Google search presents you with a few options and websites hosting education-related webinars, including:
The rise of social media has presented us with many opportunities, one of these being professional development.
Making use of communities will allow you to engage with like-minded individuals who are looking to expand their knowledge. Some of the most popular channels where you’ll find teaching communities are:
Although Reddit may not be amongst the most popular networks, you can find various subreddits where teachers come together to share resources, discuss personal experiences as well as look for advice.
Facebook Groups are another fantastic way of enhancing your professional development. These groups post on a daily basis, and offer a space to network with other teachers, share ideas, stories and even relevant articles. Some are tailored to primary, secondary or SEN, whilst others are for all teachers.
If you’re a Teaching Assistant, don’t worry! There are many communities dedicated to Support Staff where you can connect, network and engage with others.
Positioned as the network for professionals, LinkedIn is the place to be for anything work related. As an educator, you’ll find several groups to share ideas, discuss topics and network.
Professional development for teaching assistants and support staff is just as important and will undoubtedly help you grow as an educator. Our best piece of advice would be to create your own personal professional development plan based on what you feel you need to work on.
We often think that once we finish school, our learning stops there. That couldn’t be further from the truth! In order to grow in your field and develop your skills, learning is key. How you learn is completely up to you. Some prefer to listen to webinars whilst others prefer learning in their own time. Whatever the case, take a look at what works for you and invest in your development!