7 Tips to Take Ownership of Your Professional Development

While schools and districts offer formal professional development, teachers themselves also have the opportunity to learn on their own. Yet with such busy schedules, some teachers struggle to find the time or drive to participate in self-driven learning.

So why should teachers find the time? One article stated it best:

“What makes a professional stand apart from others in his or her field? Of course, she has the educational chops and the hands-on experience that makes her well-rounded and widely respected in her field. But true professionals don’t stop there. In fact, they never stop – especially when it comes to learning.”

For those looking for a place to start, we’ve gathered together seven tips to begin implementing right away:

  1. Learn from Others
    Connect with colleagues, particularly those whose work you admire, to ask questions, get their opinion, or simply gather ideas. Open classroom doors are a good indicator that others are willing to chat—take fellow teachers up on the invite, as well as leave your own door open. 
     
  2. Look into Available Resources
    Many times teachers have access to more learning tools then they may realize. Consider taking advantage of free tools, such as webinars, eBooks, and podcasts. Also look into resources that your school or district may provide—such as Atomic Learning.
     
  3. Track Your Time
    If you have a set number of required professional development hours, make sure you keep a running file of your learning. Set up a place to digitally store certificates of completion, scanned agendas, or pics of sign-in sheets for easy access.
     
  4. Find Time to Connect
    Work with fellow teachers to dedicate a set time to connect and share. These are great ways to re-energize and learn from each other, simply by setting aside a portion of a regularly scheduled meeting or setting up a separate time for a “Lunch & Learn” style gathering.
     
  5. Get Twitter-pated
    For many teachers, Twitter has become a go-to for professional learning. Whether you are just getting started, or already have a growing network, find time to track down a few great new connections to keep you inspired in the coming year. (Personally, we’re big fans of @AngelaMaiers, @gcouros, and @lesliefisher—you can also follow us at @atomic_learning.)
     
  6. Find a #Hashtag
    Hashtags are a great way to find articles and resources focused on a particular topic via twitter, if you have a term in mind, say student engagement, you can begin with adding a pound sign before it in twitter search: #studentengagement. If the results aren’t what you’re looking for try an online hashtag cheat sheet, such as this one.
     
  7. Join a Twitter Chat
    If you’re looking to connect with like-minded people on a particular topic, Twitter Chats are for you. Held at a set time frame each chat utilizes a specific hashtag (such as #cpchat for connected principals) and maintain a dedicated focus. To find a chat topic of interest to you, check out a directory.

Looking to learn something new today? Check out Atomic Learning’s online courses on hundreds of topics—starting with basics like Twitter for Educators, and digging into deeper topics effective professional development, shifting instructional approaches, and other highly-relevant topics.

Don’t have access to Atomic Learning? Request information on how you and your entire school can access these courses and hundreds of others..

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