When it comes to professional development (PD), you’re probably way too familiar with the mixed feelings—some even of dread—associated with your PD requirements. On one hand, you want to grow professionally and stay up-to-date on the latest findings in education, but on the other, you have papers to grade and lesson plans to write!
To make matters worse, these mandatory hours are often boring, irrelevant and sometimes painful to sit through, especially if they’re in sweltering auditoriums! You might be tempted to close your eyes and sign up for whichever professional development your finger lands on. And if you don’t complete teacher development you may lose pay, and we all know that’s simply not an option.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! We’ve put together some tips to help you find relevant professional development courses that will not only boost morale but also enrich your teaching experience.
1. Ask for Guidance from Colleagues
The whole point of taking professional development courses is to become a better teacher, right? So if you’re at a loss about which courses to take, ask colleagues about their own experiences, especially those who have been completing PDs for several years. They’re sure to have had at least a few good experiences finding professional development.
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Ask for specifics on:
- Options in your district that are worth your time.
- Uncharted and little-known out-of-district PDs.
- The most loved and hated experiences.
- Topics that have been useful in the classroom.
- The most strategic time of year to complete PD.
- Reimbursements and their approvals.
2. Use Online Reviews to Find Quality Professional Development for Teachers
Although searching online for feedback may take more time than asking your colleagues, it can still help you find excellent PD courses. You might even get more candid feedback from people who are writing an anonymous review of their experience with a particular educational company, curriculum or trend.
Be sure to search online for professional development course offerings for teachers that include user comments, reviews or testimonials so you can filter out the bad courses and choose something valuable.
3. Find Online Courses
Did you know you can satisfy PD requirements from the comfort of your couch, the gym or the beach? It’s true, but it may not be common knowledge for everyone. If sitting for long lectures in the school auditorium or cramming into a crowded classroom with tiny desks is not your ideal way to learn, look for on-demand options.
There are plenty of enriching webinars you can stream at your convenience. What’s more, mobile devices let you take in PD material at the park, on a commute, or even during a workout.
4. Find Thought Leaders in Education
Sometimes the talking heads you’re supposed to be learning from aren’t exactly world-class speakers—some don’t even seem to believe in what they’re supposed to be enlightening you about!
So instead of wasting your time listening to amateurs, do some research to find the thought leaders in whatever professional development area you’re trying to build your muscles. Are they offering courses? If so, pursue them. Your district may not search for these options and present them to you, but they may provide support for you to go by reimbursing your travel expenses and the PD engagement’s enrollment costs.
Professional speakers not only have established expertise in their fields, but they also have passion. That means the course will be more engaging, and you’re more likely to take something from it.
5. Double Dip
While PD is primarily designed to help you be a better teacher in the classroom, some topics can actually have relevance that could help you live a better life. As long as you’re doing something mandatory, you might as well do it in a way that improves your personal life at the same time.
There are plenty of topics you can use for personal development, including:
- Personal finance, even if you don’t teach the course.
- Retirement, because every teacher needs this information.
- Entrepreneurship, for your side hustle.
Here’s our best tip so far. Ramsey Education is offering professional development for K-12 educators—and they’re available now! We guarantee you’ll enjoy learning from best-selling authors and experts, Chris Hogan and Anthony ONeal.
The first bundle includes four 30-minute webinars. Topics include:
- The Importance of Teaching Financial Literacy
- Fostering an Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Achieving Your Dream Retirement
- The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Online
Ramsey Education Professional Development features:
- Mobile friendly - you can watch from anywhere, anytime
- Standards-based student activities (16 total; ranging from kindergarten to grade 12)
- Information regarding additional classroom resources, curricula and reading components
- Content delivered by entertaining and enthusiastic experts
- Certificates of completion (2 hours total)
To learn more about the topics covered at our affordable introductory pricing, visit our store!