Anyone who stops growing starts dying. And why should you be a teacher, helping others learn when you’re not learning yourself? A great teacher is a great learner! He keeps seeking ways to develop himself. He seeks new knowledge and new ways of doing what he does. Great teachers (just like great schools) place great priority on professional development. They do all they can to keep learning so they can be better teachers for their students.
A great teacher is a great learner himself. He places priority on his continuous professional development!
Furthermore, in this 21st century, professional development has become very easy with the increase in technology use. Teachers can make use of technology for their professional development. They can keep improving on what they already know and also on how they teach, with their smartphones, tablets and laptop.
The following are 4 tips for professional development for teachers.
1. Just Google It
The internet is so versatile there’s hardly anything you’re looking for you cannot find there. Whether it’s how to cook a particular food or how to brush your teeth properly, the internet is full of many resources (articles, interactions, images, audio and videos) to help you do it. Teachers can explore the opportunities of the internet by searching for educational materials.
So whether you’re looking for new ways to teach a particular topic or concept or you’re searching for instructional materials for a particular topic, you can just Google it and find amazing resources available for you. There’s just no reason to teach the same thing the same way over & over, you can improve on it by just googling it. And like a colleague normally says, “Ask Google first before you ask a friend”; it’s richer and faster!
2. Take Online Courses
The time we are in makes developing ourselves very easy, especially with online courses. Apart from the conventional schools we attend, we can always take online courses to develop ourselves. As teachers, we can take subject-related courses – like physics, geography or economics. But much more, teachers can equip themselves with other educational courses like assessment techniques, effective lesson note writing, effective instructional materials etc. Also, you can learn general skills like communication skills, presentation skills, critical thinking skills, marketing skills etc.
Courses like this help the teacher become a better person in the classroom. Also, the teacher has the opportunity to learn alongside other teachers from around the world and network with them. This has a way of broadening your ideas and showing you what is also possible. Finally, you can get a certificate for the online courses you take . . . which I believe will be very relevant in the coming days in Nigeria.
3. Attend Seminars and Workshops
It is also important to attend seminars and workshops that you perceive will be helpful. There are usually lots of seminars for teachers and while you cannot attend every advertised seminar, you should attend at least one or two every year, apart from anyone organised by your school, usually in your school. This will help you keep growing and developing yourself as a teacher.
While some of these training may be offered free, many of them will require the teacher to pay a token. In my opinion, it is worth it. Once you judge that it is a relevant and practical training or workshop, then you shouldn’t be reluctant to pay for it and attend. Whatever you place value on, you will be willing to pay for it.
4. Read, Listen & Watch
I’m sure you must have heard the saying “readers and leaders”. The more you read, the more you learn. And not just reading anything but reading relevant articles and information that will help your profession and make you a better teacher. From blogs to websites, to online journals, you can always find something that will help your teaching and that you can use immediately in your classroom. Likewise, you can listen to podcasts and watch videos online as well.
I encourage the management of schools to reward teachers who make personal efforts to develop themselves. When a teacher returns with a relevant and verified certificate (either physical or online) that shows evidence of training received, he/she should be rewarded. When a teacher shows evidence of attending a teacher seminar or workshop and he begins to use what he learnt in the classroom, then he should be rewarded as well.
This will create a culture of learning among teachers and help them continue to develop themselves. Ultimately, this will improve the standard of the school as students will be more engaged in the classroom and also perform better.
Do something today that will develop you as a teacher!