Professional Development for Teachers

Whether it’s inspired by the global pandemic or just a desire for vocational mastery, professional development is a hot topic for teachers and schools alike. On one hand, schools seek to employ, produce, and retain top-quality teachers in an effort to increase institutional value. On the other, teachers often seek ways to become the best instructors possible, as well as position themselves as more competitive candidates for top employment vacancies.

his mutually beneficial concept of professional development makes even more sense when you realize that top-tier teachers create better learning outcomes for their respective students like test scores, GPAs, and even attendance. The better a school scores in these kinds of areas, the more reputable and desirable a school becomes, increasing its value. Similarly, the more students an institution can produce with the tools needed to be successful after graduation —and a favorable feeling towards their school—the more likely they are to have influential alumni and donors. 

Now, as you might expect, there is a limit to these “top quality” teachers. What’s more, there’s a limit on teachers in general. Considering the fact that 42% of all teachers in a 2021 study considered leaving the industry or flat-out retiring in the last 12 months, the need for well-rounded and fully-committed instructors is as pressing as it has ever been for educational decision-makers. This void also means that in one way or another, schools are having to invest to get well-developed teachers, either by paying a higher salary for someone upfront or by providing career development opportunities for those with less impressive resumes after they are hired. That being said, XR Technologies is here to help fill the gap. A teacher shortage doesn’t have to mean getting underqualified teachers for tough subjects. We can help connect schools with highly qualified professionals. 

Back to professional development though, since it is so mutually beneficial, it begs the question: what does it really look like? What is professional development for teachers? What are examples of professional development for teachers? And, what is the best professional development for teachers? We take a look at these questions and more in the following blog.

What is Professional Development for Teachers?

Essentially, professional development for teachers refers to any form of continuing education or training that results in increased skills, furthered topical knowledge, or new and improved educational practices. The ultimate goal of this training is to boost student outcomes by equipping teachers with the best foundation possible. Professional development for teacher examples include:

Educator conferences:

These opportunities tend to bring together several different perspectives and viewpoints from within the education sector, including administrators, teachers, and other staff members, over the course of several days filled with keynote speakers, workshops, lectures, and more. The diverse perspectives at conferences also come from the demographics of schools represented. That is to say, some teachers may be operating in highly-populated inner-city schools, while others teach in smaller rural settings. These conferences provide an opportunity for these viewpoints to compare and contrast methods as well as listen to several speakers and lecturers. 

Topical seminars and lectures:

Typically short, one-time presentations, attending seminars and lectures provides the opportunity to engage with a topic expert without all of the logistics involved with conferences. These can serve several purposes depending on the topic. For example, they can be broad and thought-provoking or niche and informative. Topics could include anything from how to accommodate students with learning disabilities to the most effective ways to organize a classroom.   

Educational theory courses: 

More robust than a conference or a single seminar, these courses can help provide teachers with the best approaches and tools to learning. Often backed by a mix of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and other topics, these courses provide a theoretical framework for teachers to rely on when conducting their classes. These can be found both online and through local colleges.

Subject matter courses: 

These courses are similar to what a college student would take, delving into the real substance of a subject. For example, a general math teacher may have taken a few years off from teaching Calculus 3, so they go back through the course to make sure they are up to speed on everything. In fields that are more likely to change over time, like computer science which adds new coding languages every once in a while, these courses also provide an avenue for teachers to gain the most up-to-date knowledge of their subject.

Teacher professional development workshops: 

The idea of a workshop is to provide a one-stop resource for teachers to learn all the pertinent skills, techniques, and ideas necessary to expand their expertise. While they can be done online or in person, they typically will go at the teacher’s pace. 

What Are the Professional Development Needs of Teachers?

When trying to consider what kind of professional development is best, it’s important to evaluate the needs of the teachers. More experienced teachers might not need as much theoretical training, but still find value in lectures and conferences. Newer teachers might be best served to find a workshop or set of courses that provide them with the basic tools needed to thrive in education. In general, there is also legal impetus for professional development, as it is required to renew a teaching license. 

Let XR Technologies Help

Finding high-quality teachers is hard. Especially in everyone’s favorite subject, math. XR Technologies provides a one-stop process as a service for schools. In addition to supplying quality math instructors, we also provide instruction, data, software, curriculum, and secondary support for our partner schools. Our service is all about partnership. We take care of the math so you can focus on your school. Learn more about how we can serve you today!

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