6x: Getting the Most out of Professional Development
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Sometimes it’s hard to get excited about professional development. Maybe it’s on a topic you’re not really interested in. Or maybe it’s the end of the day, and you’re exhausted from setting up your new classroom. Whatever the reason, these tips should help you become more enthusiastic and get the most out of your professional development.
1. Be present and build bridges
Be prepared to collaborate with your peers, take in new information, and use others at the session as resources. Put away your devices and be open to learning from the presenters and from other attendees.
2. Listen for goals you want to accomplish
During the training, reflect on areas where you need more help. Choose a couple of strategies from the workshop to apply in your classroom.
3. Be ready to take notes
Jotting down key points and questions will help you remember them later. Use whatever method works for you: pen and paper, a favorite note-taking app, or taking photos of key slides and group brainstorming notes.
4. Find a colleague or a community of learners
Ask the presenter if there will be a way to follow up with other attendees afterward. Make connections and exchange contact information with other attendees during the training. After a few weeks, check in with your new contacts to see how you’re all progressing.
5. Set aside time for self-reflection
Brainstorm on your own, with colleagues, or with someone you met at the training. Think about new strategies you have tried. What worked? What else might you try? Remember, change is hard work, and it rarely happens overnight.
6. Celebrate your achievements
When you try a new strategy that helps you meet a goal, be sure to recognize your achievement and celebrate it! After experiencing positive results, you’ll anticipate future workshops with relish!
Professional growth is a crucial part of being a teacher. The early education field is always changing, and to support the children in your classroom, you need to stay current. Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way to help children thrive and succeed.
This article supports the following NAEYC Early Learning Program Accreditation standard and topic areas
STANDARD 6: STAFF COMPETENCIES, PREPARATION, AND SUPPORT
- 6B: Professional Identity and Recognition
- 6D: Ongoing Professional Development
Photographs: © Getty Images
Erica Holland is the project coordinator at Child Care Aware of River Valley, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and an adjunct instructor at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith.