Teaching is as much a learning experience for educators as it is for students. The challenges of the pandemic have made people more aware of the need for educators to continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the changing world and its changing students.
Good teaching is not an accident. Effective teaching comes through study, reflection, practice, and hard work. A teacher can never know enough about how their students learn, the barriers to learning, and steps to take to increase student learning. Continuous professional learning provides the means for teachers to develop these skills. Why should we invest in ourselves as educators through professional development?
Improve Teaching Skills
Innovations and technology have changed to ways we live and learn. Yet many of our teaching and assessment methods are outdated. Teachers need to discover more effective ways to reach students. Through these newly learned strategies, teachers can go back into their classrooms and implement changes to better meet their students’ needs. Professional development also offers ways to teach more efficiently by using new delivery methods, evaluation styles, and documentation strategies.
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Change the Routine
Teaching can become monotonous and boring. Professional development allows teachers to step out of their routine and become the student rather than the teacher while also giving teachers a boost from the normal grind of teaching to inspire the passion of educating.
Stay Ahead of Trends
Participating in professional development exposes you to new ideas and perspectives of things upcoming. These new ideas and perspectives allow teachers to be ahead of the game in learning about current resources and trends in teaching. Many times these new trends can also make your teaching life easier.
With all the changes recently, such as distance learning, teaching comes with the overwhelming pressure to reach students in new ways. Professional development offers solutions to reduce stress. Teachers owe it to themselves and their students to use professional development opportunities to look for ways to reduce the pressure.
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Better Student Learning Outcomes
Teaching is a profession that is constantly changing in every way possible. Research supports the positive correlation between teachers attending professional development and student achievement. It has been proven that students exhibited better results with teachers participating in professional development to improve their knowledge of how students learn.
Education courses that many teachers participated in are no longer reflective of the skills that students need today in the classroom. We’ve seen recently how quickly the world can change, modifying the needs of schools and students. This renders professional development a necessity in order to keep teachers up to date in the ever-changing world of education in order to meet the student's evolving needs. Students now need skills like
- critical thinking,
- taking initiative,
- collaboration, and
- adapting to the changing world.
Education is a learning cycle without an end. A truly dynamic teacher knows that their position as a teacher comes with also being a student. While professional development can sometimes be inconvenient or feel like a waste of time, the facts show that it is an asset to both teachers and students. It is essential to invest in yourself as a teacher. Social Studies School Service offers several professional development methods to continue our commitment to your professional growth through webinars, micro-credentials, and this blog.
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Melissa Knowles has worked in education seventeen years. She earned her bachelors’ degree in Elementary Education at the University of South Alabama, a master’s degree in Library Science from University of West Alabama in 2009, and her Educational Specialist degree from University of West Alabama in 2010. She has earned several technology-related certifications and is currently working on a certification as a technology coach. In her work as a certified trainer for Social Studies School Service, she builds curriculum maps, develops micro-credentials, and trains educators on using the programs, as well as leads and hosts webinars on various topics.