Like many other careers, educators greatly benefit from professional development, continuously evaluating and honing teaching methods and strategies to motivate students. Thomas Gaudreau, an educator and former principal, shares the importance of professional development for teachers.
What is professional development?
Many teachers seek out professional development opportunities either through their employer or on their own. The world around us is constantly transforming, with new technological developments and societal changes, so it is important for teachers to keep up to date while improving upon their skill sets.
Professional development can either be informal and done independently or with formal training. Teachers can read, study, and research material on their own or form study groups with other teachers as a form of professional development, says Thomas Gaudreau. Formal training methods for professional development may include courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences.
Benefits of professional development for teachers
One obvious benefit of professional development is that it provides teachers with different ways to engage and motivate students, helping them reach academic success. Staying current will help with teachers connect with students by using methods that are preferable to them.
Thomas Gaudreau also says that professional development opportunities will help with retention at both schools and within the industry itself. Providing opportunities for staff can boost employee morale and foster a healthy work culture, and teachers therefore would want to continue working within their school district. Teachers also have high turnover rates and it is estimated that many leave the field within their first five years. Professional development may increase teachers’ confidence in managing their classrooms.
Professional development tips according to Thomas Gaudreau
Sometimes it can be difficult to find opportunities for professional development if they aren’t already supplied by your employer. Even if they are, it might be difficult to manage your time effectively to fit it into your schedule.
First of all, Thomas Gaudreau suggests connecting with other teachers and asking about any professional development courses or workshops they’ve attended that may be useful. There may be reviews available that would be a good indication if a particular session is right for you.
If you want to undertake professional development on your own, social media is an effective tool to find reading material including blogs, articles, research studies and case studies. You can network with other teachers that are interested in the same educational topics and can perhaps find other opportunities this way. Using social media and technology is professional development in itself, as you are staying current.
By seeking out and participating in professional development opportunities, teachers improve on their skills for the benefit of their students. Teachers that are dedicated to lifelong learning and continuous improvement are excellent role models and leaders.