Your time is limited, and perhaps so are some of your skills. As a teacher, it’s important that you improve your abilities regularly, whether you’re learning how to better manage your workload or discovering how to use technology in your classroom.
It may seem impossible to find a time for this professional development, which is a stress in-and-of itself. However, you don’t need much extra time to develop your skills—just one hour a week. Here’s how.
It’s hard to sit in traffic, listening to music, when you could be doing so many other things. Make this time productive by downloading educational podcasts. You can download them to your phone or music player and plug in instead of tuning out.
A few educational podcast channels to check out are:
- Ask a Teacher
- The EdReach Network
- Classroom 2.0
If you’ve already built your PLN on Twitter then you know how powerful it can be for learning new things and meeting new people. Turn to this platform for Twitter chats as well, which serve as a more social professional development opportunity.
Each chat is usually focused on one topic, and sometimes hundreds of educators will be participating by tweeting thoughts or answers to questions using a specific hashtag.
There are educational chats happening almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Use this calendar to find ones that are valuable to you and fit within your schedule.
Go-at-Your-Own Pace Course
There’s nearly $18 billion spent on professional development each year, and if you’re spending money on a course to improve your skills, it better be good. Sign up for a program like Edconnective to work in a structured program without taking too much time out of your schedule.
Other fee-based, self-paced programs are offered by:
Learn One Tool a Month
Make time one Sunday a month to master a single classroom tool. To make this process even easier, have each month focus on one subject. For example, you can break your months up like this:
- October: Literacy—Whooo’s Reading
- November: Math—Geoboard
- December: History—Google Cultural Institute
Watch a Webinar
Put in your headphones on a rainy Sunday afternoon and listen to a live or pre-recorded webinar. To find a one worth your time, check out EdWeb.net. They offer at least one “lesson” Monday through Thursday, sometimes there’s even more than one a day. Add one a week, or one a month, to your calendar so you’ll be sure to make time for it as you would any other event or appointment.
Professional development doesn’t have to take a lot of time. If you fully dedicate one full hour a week, even a month, to learning something new, you’ll make progress without being stressed or missing a fun event.
Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn, an online fundraising platform that allows students raise money by reading books. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Hernan Piñera.