As educators, we’re constantly learning. And yet, with all the options for great PD out there, how do you streamline your own professional learning so that it’s right for you. In this week’s article, we share 6 ways to take the overwhelm out of your PD experience and get what you really need.
This is a topic near and dear to my heart especially as we’ve looked at how we deliver professional learning here at Mindsteps. One of the critical changes we’ve made is to make PD much more personal. That means that in every workshop we create, we build in opportunities for you to apply what you are learning immediately to your own practice, using your own materials. That way, you know exactly how to use what you learn in your own classroom and can be sure that you’ll make a huge impact with your students as a result.
(NOTE: click here if you want to schedule a PD session at your school or organization this year).
It’s all about cutting through the fluff and designing a PD experience that actually matters.
Here are six ways to cut through the fluff and get the most out of your professional learning.
- Purge your files. Those handouts you’ve been saving from workshops of yore? Those PowerPoint slides you’ve been holding onto? It’s time to send them to the recycle bin. The truth is, if you haven’t looked at them by now, you won’t read them. Ever.
- Select an area to work on and then stick with it. There is much to learn about teaching and instructional leadership. If you try to learn it all at one time, you’ll only overwhelm yourself. So, choose an area of focus for the school year. Do you want to get better at planning rigorous lessons? Are you face with new standards and really need to focus on understanding and teaching them? Has your system instituted a new teacher evaluation system and do you need to get good at implementing it? Pick a focus and stick to it.
- Think about how you learn best. Do you learn best by watching others? Working with a coach? Reading a book? Watching a video? Going to a workshop? Determine how you will learn best and invest in that learning format.
- Schedule it. Set aside time each week to learn and take action on what you are learning. It can be as little as 15 minutes but it will make a huge difference in your teaching.
- Make yourself a priority. We know you’re under a lot of pressure right now. But you deserve to invest a little in yourself. Your professional growth is important to your job satisfaction, your effectiveness, and most important, to your students.
- Don’t expect yourself to do it all immediately. It’s okay if it takes you weeks or months to work through the content and implement it in your classroom. Take your time and work at your own pace.