Trying to balance work and personal obligations can make some teachers feel that finding and completing professional development requirements is a nuisance. However, when professional development (PD) is well-curated and speaks directly to the social, moral, and informational classroom issues that are most important to them, it’s a highly enriching, personally fulfilling process.
The objective benefits of ongoing professional development have been proven time and time again, and it’s why some states across the nation have gone so far as to require staff and administration to participate in regular professional development. By doing so, educators remain current with trends in technology, culture, and hone their classroom skills to best serve the evolving needs of their students.
When done right, professional development doesn’t have to feel like an added burden for educators. #1 Premiere Continuing Education offers a diverse portfolio of courses for educators and administration to make online training easy and thorough. Here are four tips for how to make planning professional development for teachers a success.
1. Know Your Options
Not all professional development is created equal, and if you want to get the best results for teachers and students you need to know what makes a PD curriculum effective.
There are three general types of PD courses to choose from: workshops, in-class observation, and single-session seminars. There are many in-person and online options that are available for all three to meet a range of budget and time constraints.
Depending on the skills your teachers need to develop, one format may be better than another. For instance, a workshop setting can include hands-on training, role playing, and data analysis that can be useful for practicing skills that go directly into service with students. Observation, on the other hand, allows teachers to analyze teaching strategies applied in real situations. Finally, seminars and conferences give teachers the opportunity to experience a broad range of ideas and trends in education, connect with experts, and explore new paths towards improving student outcomes.
Speaking with teachers about their needs can help you make the right choice of professional development formant.
Singular professional development experiences often produce limited results that don’t translate well from teachers to students. New concepts and classroom practices need to be reinforced by repeated exposure to be effectively implemented in the classroom. Look for PD programs that offer options for refreshing content and updating skills.
Effective professional development programs should be content focused, utilize active learning, include collaborative elements, use modeling as a teaching tool, and include experts in the field for coaching and support. Ideally, a blend of some or all of those elements will make a PD experience rewarding, engaging, and offer multiple pathways for teachers to implement new skills and ideas in their classrooms.
2. Find the Right Courses for Your Teachers
Teachers may be required by administration or the state to participate in professional development, but the information they receive can make all the difference for achieving better social, personal, and educational outcomes for their students. Administration should endeavor to find professional development opportunities that are evidence-based, follow current trends in education, and empower staff to support more diverse student needs.
In the post-pandemic world, classroom dynamics are rapidly changing, and teachers can find themselves unprepared for new developments in education. Issues like student engagement, mental health, and classroom management have introduced new challenges for teachers and administration that require training and expertise to address.
Classrooms are already challenging environments to work in, and when good teachers feel ill-equipped to deal with evolving circumstances they don’t understand, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and poor performance. 44% of K-12 teachers report experiencing burnout as a result, which leads to more sick days, lowered enthusiasm, and most importantly, a diminished experience for their students.
The first priority of administration when structuring professional development for staff should be addressing areas where teachers feel underprepared and lack the knowledge to affect change. Administration should regularly check with their teachers, schedule meetings, and seek feedback to understand pressing needs for PD, and then work to connect them with opportunities that will fill in the gaps.
3. Keep it Manageable
When planning professional development for teachers it’s important to keep the content manageable. This means not overwhelming the learner with more information than they can digest or retain.
It’s also vital to select professional development courses that stay within reasonable time frames to avoid overloading participants. Also, experiences with some variation in content and activities will help keep professional development fresh and engaging for participants.
Administration can further demonstrate support for their teachers by making PD a part of their job rather than requiring additional time commitments and effort. Building in early dismissal or dedicating entire school days to professional development can make a huge difference for teacher enthusiasm and participation.
4. Get Feedback
Afterwards, it is useful for the learner to have an opportunity to give feedback on their experience. Knowing if participants feel they achieved the identified learning outcomes, how they might use this new information to support their professional role, and how the learning opportunity might be improved is valuable information when determining future activities.
Successful Planning for Professional Development for Teachers
Planning professional development for teachers is an essential component of supporting an effective educational workforce. Content needs to be accessible and goal-directed for optimal learning outcomes that will in turn support teachers in educating their students.
The online learning resources at #1 Premiere Continuing Education allow educational institutions to take advantage of numerous high-quality courses that offer relevant, informative, and inclusive experiences for education professionals.