We can’t all afford the time or money it takes to attend a professional conference every summer, but we can maximize the opportunities that are available to us, whether through our school, district, or online sources. Summer professional development does not have to be a traditional, passive session with teachers sitting around a large table in a conference room (or on benches in a sweaty school cafeteria)! Rather, PD can and should be whatever targets the growth you have been craving. Alternative PD structures aim to meet the needs of all teachers, so we can meet the needs of all students. (Check out this awesome post on alternative PD structures from Jennifer Gonzalez’ Cult of Pedagogy blog.)
Whatever your situation, there is something you can do this summer that will re-energize you and reignite your passion for working with students. Have you been meaning to start listening to podcasts (just as soon as you figure out what they are)?? Do you have a pile of professional journals on the corner of dining room table you have been planning to get to? Better yet, do you have a mental list of great ideas to write your own journal article? Maybe you are ready to take the plunge and enroll in a new graduate program! When seeking professional development opportunities consider the following:
- Your learning style: Do you love learning independently online? Do you get energized by hands-on workshops?
- Your availability: Is your structured routine perfect for a bi-weekly book club? Do your evenings give you some time to participate in Twitter chats?
- Your interests: Would you like to plan a PD opportunity in conjunction with some summer travel? Are you looking for ways to engage your students through music?
If you’re not sure where to begin take a look at your school district’s offerings, check out the websites of local professional organizations, find out what your colleagues have planned, or try tackling some of the ideas on my Summer PD Choice Board! To make an editable copy of the board for yourself (or to share with colleagues), click here and go to File>Make a Copy. Once you have your own copy you can use the options I’ve included or personalize them. Copy and drag the check mark to keep track of all the opportunities you tackle and enjoy this summer and don’t forget to share your learning!