As a teacher, you need to complete teacher professional development opportunities to maintain your license. However, you can also learn a lot of great information to support you in the classroom. There are also online tools to support you as well. Your school and district may tell you about some events in the area. However, there are many teacher professional development opportunities out there if you know where to look. Try some of these options for the opportunities that will benefit you the most.
For teachers who can’t attend a class, there are several organizations that provide online courses and webinars. For example, Intel Teach Elements and Teachers First provide free classes. Some other online options include:
Books are another option for teachers who can’t attend classes. Is there a particular area that you need help with? Could you use advice about classroom leadership or teaching techniques? How about educational psychology, technology, or motivation? Then, check out these books on each of those subjects.
- Leadership: What Good Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things that Matter Most by Todd Whitaker
- Teaching Techniques: Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathon Bergmann and Aaron Sams or Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess
- Educational Psychology: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Peter Tough
- Technology: Digital Leadership by Eric Sheringer
- Motivation: The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning on the Tuned-Out Child by Richard Lavoie
Talk to other teachers at your school for more book recommendations, too.
Conferences typically last several days and may require you to travel and stay in a hotel. There are several conferences that occur each year.
- ASCD Annual Conference (best practices and teaching ideas)
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (education technology)
- APPA/PCAPPA 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibit (leadership in educational facilities)
- Distance Teaching and Learning Conference
- ASU and GSV Summit (innovations in personal learning)
Unlike conferences, workshops tend to only last one day. Teachers attend workshops on topics that interest them. Here are just some of the institutions that offer workshops on a regular basis:
- Foreign Language Resource Center
- Museum Institute for Teaching Science
For conferences and workshops close to home, check with the colleges and universities in the area. Some of them offer workshops and courses that teachers can take outside of graduate programs.
As you determine which teacher professional development opportunities to pursue, think about what topics (like learning some do's and don'ts of classroom management) are important to you. Meeting the needs of your students and strengthening your teaching skills are the goal. You determine which professional development options are best for you.