Shortly after the
back-to-school dust settles, you’re faced with the jam-packed realities of teaching during the fall.
Anyone who has spent time in the classroom knows these months are daunting. Progress monitoring, rigorous content, field trips, meetings galore, benchmark testing, and a growing stack of papers to grade all combine against increased commitments with family, friends, and holiday planning. No wonder this timeframe is sometimes coined the “
Alas, your responsibilities, like
professional development, remain amidst pumpkin-flavored treats, Friday night lights, and changing colors. Finding time for PD can be tricky during the fall months, but staying on top of these hours is essential since most states require continuing education credits to hold a valid teaching certificate.
How can I find time for professional development?
Your school or district might schedule some professional development opportunities for teachers, but the responsibility for finding professional learning often remains on your shoulders.
You can’t add hours to the day, but with creative time management, you can infuse PD into your day-to-day life.
Teacher professional development ideas
With a little brainstorming, you can learn something new and valuable to apply to your
lessons, classroom management, or subject area.
Arrive to school one hour early or stay one hour after school. A small schedule change, even one day per week, can carve out time for consistent professional learning that you don’t have to take home. Take an online PD course or complete a technology certification like the Google Certified Educator recognition or the Common Sense Educator training.
Incorporate PD into topics you are already teaching. Look three to four weeks in advance at your lesson plans to identify a subject area you’d like to learn more about before you begin the unit. Online professional development allows you to dive deeper into edtech products to take your lessons to the next level. Complete a virtual PD session to learn how to bring the 5E Model, Science and Engineering Practices, experimental design, or inquiry to life.
Reimagine the way you use science labs. Do you have an upcoming science experiment planned? Take an online PD course to learn how to deliver the lab (such as growing plants) using an interactive simulation instead. Eliminate messy lab cleanup time and boost student learning, all while growing professionally.
Apply for a grant. Search for educational grants that include professional development so you and your students can grow at no cost. Elementary math teachers can explore the Frax Educator Grant Program (open October-January) or the Reflex Educator Grant Program (open July-October) for game-based math solutions. Selected teachers will receive full access Frax (for fractions) or Reflex (for math facts) through the end of the school year.
Have some fall-themed PD fun with your peers. Grab your teaching besties and attend a local professional development conference in your area. Wear your favorite fall outfit and plan a celebratory group meal at the end of the conference day to combine socialization with PD. If you’re driving a further distance for your teacher PD day, scout out a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, haunted house, or cute boutique to see along the way.
Fall in love with teacher professional development
Whether by the fireside, at your classroom desk, or among teaching colleagues, professional development can be both enjoyable and productive this autumn. Grab your coziest sweater and get ahead on professional learning—your
summer self will thank you!
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