Educators spend all school year working on professional development. It makes sense then that these efforts would continue during the off-season — even if it’s by the pool instead of in the classroom.
Keeping up with professional development over the summer is critical for effective teaching. There’s nothing easy about fostering an optimal learning environment for students, and starting two steps behind on day one of the school year isn’t a good way to kick off.
Most districts don’t offer concerted professional development courses over the summer. That means that it’s up to teachers to embrace their own personal and professional growth and put a plan into place that will set them up for success next year. How to do it? Here are four ideas for staying on track with professional development this summer.
#1 Focus On What You Enjoy
Summer is the perfect time to really dive in to the areas of professional development that you’re passionate about. Tailoring your PD efforts to the things that truly spark your interest is a great way to ensure that you stay motivated. It’s also an opportunity to dig a little bit deeper into a subject that you might not have as much time to devote to during the school year.
#2 Level Up Your Tech Skills
Every year brings new technologies — and new ways to interact with existing tech — into the classroom. Use your off time to get better acquainted with various tools you might use in your blended classroom. Take an online course and become a Google Certified Educator (the certification exam is only $10!), or study up on specific tools you can use with your students, such as video platforms and kid-friendly search engines. The more you learn about what tech is out there, the better you can incorporate it into your classroom.
#3 Attend a Conference
If you’ve got the time and the budget, consider attending one of the many educational conferences that take place over the summer. They’re an excellent way to network with your peers and find out what strategies are working for them. They’re also a chance to learn about advancements in professional development — particularly ed tech tools like ours — that could be of use to you later. Worst case scenario? You gain a bit of insight into how to expand on your professional development and eat a few free lunches in the process.
#4 Hear From the Experts
A simple Google search for professional development webinars brings up a wealth of free resources for teachers who are looking to grow their knowledge base over the summer months. Set yourself a goal, such as watching two a week, and discover how easy it is to achieve professional growth in between cook outs and beach days. Circle back to tip #1 and focus on the topics that you’re most intrigued by, but make a point of branching out into other topics too — you never know when you might learn something invaluable.
You don’t have to be all work and no play this summer (and you shouldn’t be!), but avoid the summer slide on professional development by brushing up when you can and in the way that makes the most sense for your schedule and your goals. Come August, you’ll be feeling energized and refreshed, with all the fuel you need to go full speed into the year ahead.