Ultimate Guide: Teacher Professional Development

professional development Jul 01, 2024
Vector image of teacher presenting online PD session.

Image by Biscotto Design / Adobe Stock

Professional development (PD) is a critical aspect of the teaching profession. Educators need to stay updated with the latest strategies, technological advancements, and educational research.

As an educator, you'll find that most school districts have a PD requirement. In order to help as many teachers as possible, we've put together this comprehensive guide to PD.

Let's explore the various facets of professional development for teachers. In this article, we cover its purpose, benefits, and the types of PD. You'll also learn how to find and participate in effective professional development programs.

What is professional development for teachers?

Professional development for teachers refers to the ongoing process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, and expertise. After all, continuing education is essential for those who work to educate others.

It encompasses a wide range of activities, including workshops, conferences, online courses, peer collaboration, and formal education programs. The goal is to enhance teachers' instructional abilities, classroom management techniques, and overall effectiveness in fostering student learning.

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Why do teachers need professional development?

The primary purpose of professional development is to improve teaching quality and student outcomes.

By engaging in continual learning opportunities, teachers can:

  • Stay current with educational research.
  • Develop new skills and instructional strategies.
  • Integrate technology into lesson planning and instruction.
  • Address diverse student needs.
  • Enhance subject matter knowledge.
  • Foster a collaborative environment among colleagues.
  • Find new means for supporting students.

Teachers need professional development to remain effective and responsive to the evolving educational landscape.

The benefits include improved student achievement, career advancement, and increased motivation. It also prepares teachers for changes in curriculum, technology, and demographics, making them more adaptable.

Additionally, professional development enables teachers to connect with peers, share experiences, and collaborate on innovative methods.

Teacher looking at laptop with young students.Image by Seventyfour / Adobe Stock

How much professional development does a teacher need annually?

The amount of professional development required varies by state and school district. On average, teachers may need between 20 to 40 hours of professional development annually.

It is essential for teachers to stay informed about their district's specific PD requirements. This is to ensure compliance and professional growth.

Do teachers receive payment for PD hours?

In many cases, teachers receive compensation or stipends for attending professional development sessions.

Some school districts may offer professional development throughout the school year during work hours. Others may provide additional pay for participation outside regular hours. Compensation policies vary, so it's important for teachers to understand their district's policies.

Some educators may have concerns about the cost of PD hours. If price matters, look to virtual professional development conferences like The Educator Summit. It's an affordable option to earn your required hours.

What is an example of professional development?

An example of professional development is attending a workshop on differentiated instruction. In such a workshop, teachers will learn strategies to tailor their teaching to meet the diverse needs of students.

This type of workshop provides practical, hands-on experiences and opportunities for immediate application in the classroom.

What's the process for earning professional development hours online?

Earning professional development hours online typically involves the following steps:

Step 1: Select an accredited program.

Choose a program that is recognized by your school district or state education department.

Step 2: Register for the course.

Enroll in the online course or webinar, following the provider's registration process. Don't forget to check if your school has a budget to pay for your PD, or if the PD program has special group or early bird prices.

Step 3: Complete the coursework.

Participate in all required activities, such as watching videos, completing assignments, and engaging in discussions. Online, self-paced programs are the best for those who want to learn on their own time. It's a great way to avoid travel or a hectic schedule.

Step 4: Receive your certification.

Upon completing the course, you will receive a certificate or documentation of your participation. Some programs generate unique certificates to recognize your hard-earned work and fulfill your district's requirements. This includes The Educator Summit.

Step 5: Submit your documentation.

Provide the certificate or documentation to your school district or state education department to receive credit for your professional development hours.

You can also earn graduate-level professional development semester units or credits for your completion of The Educator Summit training. Learn more at Courses4Teachers.

Teacher high fiving a young student.Image by Drazen / Adobe Stock

What are good ways to earn professional development hours?

To find effective professional development courses, start by identifying areas where you need to improve or gain more knowledge. This self-assessment will help you choose relevant programs.

Look for reputable programs that align with your professional goals by:

  • Checking reviews.
  • Seeking recommendations.
  • Considering the program's content and format.

Utilize online resources and local educational institutions for comprehensive lists of opportunities.

Participate in educational conferences to gain insights from experts and network with other educators for additional resources, training, and networking opportunities.

Do online PD programs count toward professional development?

Yes, many online professional development programs are recognized by school districts and can count toward required PD hours. You need to verify that the program is accredited and meets your district's criteria.

Online PD programs offer flexibility and a wide range of topics, making them a popular choice for many teachers.

Explore the unique and valuable online learning sessions available at The Educator Summit and meet our presenters.

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Why should you choose The Educator summit for your professional development?

The Educator Summit offers an unparalleled opportunity for teachers to engage in professional development that is entirely online, self-paced, and accessible.

With our Winter and Summer Summits, educators can dive deep into engaging workshops, connect with colleagues, and earn credits. Benefits include:

  • Our self-paced professional development event is completely online. Participate from anywhere at any time.
  • Earn personalized certificates reflecting your completed PD hours, customized to fulfill your organization's requirements to earn PD credit.
  • Access our content for over 90 days to revisit training sessions and reinforce your learning.
  • Earn college credit hours while completing PD requirements. Please check with your university if they are currently accepting PD for college credit hours.

Join The Educator Summit to stay ahead with the latest educational strategies and innovations. Register today for our upcoming Winter or Summer Summit and experience the best in professional development for teachers.

Have more questions? Contact us for more info or check out our FAQ.

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