7 Ways Professional Development Helps You Become a Great Educator

Taking workshops or courses can invigorate your teaching.

7 reasons why you should consider professional development

Great teachers are both passionate and purposeful. They are passionate about their students and what they teach, and purposeful in their design of teaching. Great teachers develop over time through their commitment to learning—both their students’ and their own. And because they recognize that the most important factor for students’ success is the quality of instruction, great teachers pursue continuous improvement.

Here are some reasons why professional development will help you grow.

1. You'll learn something new.

Taking a relevant course or workshop can inspire you to try things you haven’t tried before. For instance, Universal Design for Learning could aid in reaching all students in a changing student population. Project-based learning can benefit English language learners, where collaboration with other students can lead to language acquisition in informal learning settings. 

2. You can exchange ideas, stories, and experiences.

Hearing from other educators can be invigorating and affirming. Too often, teachers hear “what” and “how” to teach, rather than being asked about challenges and what they need to be more effective. Group work with your colleagues connects new knowledge with the practical realities of the classroom.

3. You'll get deep learning experiences.

Taking a course, for instance, can help you integrate theory and practice to develop skills in areas important to your teaching. Exploring new curriculum content or pedagogy allows you to use cutting edge theory and practice in your classroom. Personalizing the professional development to your teaching makes it more effective.

4. You'll explore topics through short-term sessions.

Workshops provide exploration of current topics in subject areas or classroom practices. Since standards are always changing, you can practice new teaching methods with peers before using them in your classroom. 

5. You can take time for self-reflection.

The rigors of the classroom may not leave much time to reflect on your practice. Professional development offerings often will ask you to think about your current practice and what you’d like to improve. The benefits of becoming a reflective practitioner can be lasting.

6. You'll develop skills for integrating a creative process in your classroom.

Just as the artist approaches a blank canvas with ideas that develop over time, you can approach teaching as a process of allowing students to take ownership of their own learning. A creative process includes imagination, design, innovation, and originality. Through engagement with faculty, you can discover how to bring the creative process into your own classroom. 

7. You'll receive points or credits toward license renewal or an advanced degree.

Professional development helps you keep your license up to date or gain credits toward your next degree. So while you're gaining new skills and learning from your peers, you'll also be keeping up with your professional obligations.

Professional development allows you to reimagine teaching and learning. Through the collaboration of teachers with knowledge of student needs and faculty with knowledge and experience in areas of critical need—combined with your passion and purposefulness—you'll continue to grow as a great educator.