I did a Google search this morning for “Good Resources for Teaches” and a number of blogs and independent websites came up. Some focus on technology resources, others on basic teaching techniques and yet others on lesson plans and ideas. Then I thought to myself, “Why aren’t ‘Professional Development Courses for Educators’ on there?” Professional development courses are, in my opinion, one of the greatest resources a teacher can use. State leaders agree! That’s why professional development is mandatory for most educators’ license renewal.
Now this might sound like a shameless plug for you to take classes at Trinity but it’s not. Instead, I want to tell you about how what I’ve learned from working at the Office of Continuing Education has made me a believer in professional development and lifelong learning.
1.) You should never stop learning. It’s in our human nature to be curious and to not nurture that curiosity limits us. I’d go on and on about why you should never stop learning but my staff has already done that: 10 Ways to Never Stop Learning By Tina Mahaffy
2.) Professional development courses here at Trinity and most of the time elsewhere are taught by professionals in the field. We are talking about current K-12 classroom teachers. Theses instructors know exactly what you are going through each day because they have not only been there but they are there now. Stressed about changes to the curriculum? Your instructor is dealing with the same changes and you can learn how he or she will tackle those differences.
3.) Your classmates are your peers. The only difference between you and the teacher next to you is at what school you teach. If there are any differences it is usually that one teacher has been teaching for 30 years while another has only been teaching for 5. One might be a Special Ed teacher, another’s focus is ESOL. These are people who can relate to you but have different perspectives. Perspectives you could learn from.
4.) We all need a challenge in life. Without them, life gets stale. If we don’t challenge ourselves to try new things or to take a risk, we are going to be doing the same things at the end of our careers that we were doing at the start. With most people entering the workforce at 23 and retiring at 65, that’s 42 years doing the same old thing. It might sound scary to take on the SMART Board or teach a less entirely with iPads but these new ideas have their merits. It could be a challenge at first but the rewards are great.
5.) We learn a lot about ourselves when we take a new course. Strengths and weaknesses show themselves when we work on assignments that aren’t really our thing. Our good teaching techniques and our bad habits come to light when we have to really take a moment to reflect on them.
6.) Knowledge is power. It doesn’t always seem that way but it’s true. The more equipped you are in the classrooms with lesson plans and tools, the more children you can reach. You’ll be empowering them to keep up and not get left behind. Isn’t that the reason you became a teacher in the first place?
We still have classes starting this spring and we will have over 130 this summer (schedule coming soon!). Get out there and keep learning!