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Continuing Education Courses for Teachers

The Key to Continuing Education Courses for Teachers

What’s the single most important factor in creating student success?

It’s not the curriculum, or the school district, or the budget, or even demographics. Research has shown repeatedly that teachers matter most in student achievement – more than any other aspect of the school experience. And professional development for teachers, in turn, helps these educators improve their own classroom and leadership skills – which keeps the cycle of improvement going.

While it’s hard to think about taking on new work when you – like most teachers – are already stretched thin, professional development courses are for you – they build up your strengths, bolster any weak spots you may have, and get you inspired again. And the possibilities are many – sharpen your technology skills, focus on wellness, shore up your classroom behavioral knowledge, learn about teaching students who have cultural differences, enhance your research skills – all will benefit you, make you feel more grounded, and reinforce the reasons you’re in the classroom in the first place.

Professional Development for Teachers Online

The key to making professional development work for you is to have it available when you’re available, complementing the skills you most desire.

Online courses do just that. They are varied, self-paced, and worth anywhere from one to four semester credits/units, so you can match the amount of work required to the time you have and the priorities you set. While continuing education & professional development hours are a requirement for all teachers – most states require an average of around six graduate credits (or 120-180 professional-development hours) every five years for license renewal. Those credits can be earned by attending or presenting at a conference or webinar, pursuing educational technology certifications, publishing educational articles or books, and completing continuing education courses.

What Are Your Continuing Education Goals for Teaching?

Of course, your students always come first; if they aren’t learning and achieving, you may not be as fulfilled as you would like to be as a teacher.

So becoming an expert in a specific area or embracing a new pedagogy makes sense. But keep in mind you’ll earn more than credits and expertise from continuing education courses. TeachHub – a website created by the K-12 Teachers Alliance – lists these goals for professional development.
They include:

Goals for Professional Development

Avoid Burnout

Taking care of your students means taking care of their teacher.

Use Tech Tools

Ever-changing technology can be daunting. Jump in.

Create An Online Presence

Start a teacher blog, or a classroom website for your students.

Grow Colleagues Relationships

Network, find a mentor, use colleagues as resources.

Incorporate Mindfulness

This isn’t natural for busy teachers who already feel overwhelmed.

What Does a Professional Development Plan Look Like?

There are many examples online; search the terms “individual continuing education & professional development plans” and you’ll get plenty of models, dozens on Pinterest alone; some are downloadable, printable, and free. They can be set up as spreadsheets, Word documents, or in graphic form. Some of the common elements:

  • State the action you will take (What would you like to be better at? What would you like to know more about? What skills do you want to pursue?)
  • State your area of focus (This can be subject matter, classroom skills, or self-focused improvement in areas such as mindfulness or time management)
  • State your reason for this action and area of focus
  • List any related activities
  • Outline your time frame
  • Pinpoint how you’ll know when you’ve succeeded
  • Note which teaching standards your goals align with

Professional Development Planning Idea:
List your goals down the side of a page, and then break those goals down into 3-month, 6-month, 9-month, and annual increments across the page.

Choosing the Best Online Continuing Education Course for You

So, where do you start when you want to find a course that will enhance your abilities, fit into your busy life, and fulfill your continuing education requirements? Try these popular professional development courses for teachers:

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For Institutions

We partner with learning institutions to provide online continuing education solutions for their teaching staff.