8 Easy Ways to Get Professional Development This Summer
Hello, summer! Congratulations on finishing another school year. After closing this academic chapter filled with highs, lows, and everything in between, you deserve some hard-earned rest and summer fun.
Summer is also the perfect time to pursue professional development (PD) opportunities to hone new skills and get excited for the upcoming school year. With so much penciled into your teaching schedule, you might have struggled to squeeze in PD while school was in session. Take advantage of this classroom-free time with these eight easy development ideas.
Teacher Professional Development Over the Summer
- Complete online certifications: Take advantage of online classes and get certified in a new area this summer. One idea is to complete a technology certification course, such as the Google Certified Educator recognition or the Common Sense Educator training, so you can stay up-to-date and better serve your students in their digital worlds. You can also amplify your skills with subject or grade-level-specific training to stay current on teaching strategies. Many organizations offer free certifications to complete at your own pace to fit in easily with your summer plans. Be sure to obtain a physical or digital copy of your certificate to track your PD hours based on the continuous education requirements for your state.
- Attend a conference: Professional development conferences are a great space to get inspired and network with other teachers and administrators. Research conferences in your city or state, or attend an online conference at your leisure. Plan ahead and determine which breakout sessions you want to attend to maximize your time.
- Explore the world: Feeling adventurous? Seek out travel-based PD conferences and experiences that can take you to another part of the country or world that you’ve never explored before. Learn new educational skills and check some places off your bucket list! Explore programs like the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term Program, Teacher at Sea Program, the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, GEEO, and other unique PD experiences.
- Get involved in your community: Seek out learning opportunities in your own backyard, from museums and libraries to local community centers or community colleges. Spending time with your community can also help you understand the children and the families you serve, allowing for deeper trust and relationship building.
- Read and listen: Soak up some Vitamin D while bettering yourself for the start of the school year. Listen to an educational podcast while walking, running, gardening, or catching rays by the pool! Grab a professional development book that catches your eye. You can even join or start a summer book club with fellow educators to stay connected and grow your professional network.
- Study up: Summer is a great time to prepare for a new educator certification exam. Have your eye on teaching a new grade or subject in the future, securing that instructional coach license, or pursuing administration? Grab a study manual and tackle a set number of pages each week to develop a consistent, manageable study plan. Research testing dates and locations to plan accordingly and give yourself enough time to study.
- Explore new teaching tools: Try different digital tools this summer before students enter the classroom. Many edtech programs offer free trials that start the same day. Check out our math and science solutions that you can try free for 30 days.
- Gizmos (grades 3-12) offers a library of more than 500 math and science simulations, STEM Cases, and virtual labs to bring real-life learning to the classroom, plus professional development.
- Reflex (grades 2-6) is a fun, game-based way for students to master addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts (and PD for teachers). Summer is a great time to learn about the ExploreLearning Reflex Educator Grant Program, which provides teachers with free 12-month access to Reflex to help students build fact fluency.
- Frax (grades 3-5) teaches foundational fractions using the latest research and interactive galaxy-themed games. Check out the Frax PD catalog to take instruction to the next level.
- Science4Us (grades K-2) incorporates literacy and STEM with thousands of online and offline activities that can be completed in as little as ten minutes. Plus, PD and training sessions for teachers.
- Join a Virtual Learning Community: Connect with teachers nationwide at the click of a button. On Facebook, you can find groups that focus on different topics and learn from teachers like you. For example, Gizmos Adventurer Basecamp covers grades 3-12 science and math topics for Gizmos users, while Reflex & Frax: Teachers' Clubhouse focuses on math fact fluency and fractions.
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