The list of tasks for a teacher is ever-growing. Lesson plans. Progress reports. Daily communication. These are just a few of the priorities for an Early Childhood Educator! However, there is one priority that every individual in the education field needs to make time for (other than lunch, of course!) and that is professional development.
So, how do you find the time for professional development?
First, you need to acknowledge that professional development is a necessary part of your job.
Just as your students grow and learn from exposure to new resources, so will you.
Professional development enables you to stay current in your field. Teaching is a field that is ever-changing and you will benefit from keeping up with the latest trends. Classroom hacks, developed teaching philosophies, new studies, and statistics can help you in practical ways as an educator.
Professional development allows you to share and network. As a lifelong learner, you know that it is important to connect with others who are having similar experiences. Having access to professional development will provide the opportunity for you to learn from others, reflect, and even share the wisdom you have gleaned in the teaching community.
Secondly, choose a goal or purpose for your professional development.
Is it accreditation or certification you are hoping to achieve? Maybe you would like to expand your strategies of fostering literacy within your classroom or there may be a new classroom trend that you are hoping to learn more about. If you set a clear and realistic goal for yourself, you will be more apt to work toward it.
Thirdly, find professional development that fits your needs.
When you enjoy the professional development you have chosen, it will make a world of difference. Look for resources and forums that have a range of topics and connect to your goals. Flexible, on-demand options can be found at HiMama Academy. Having quick and easy access to various options will allow you to fit relevant professional development into your busy schedule.
Lastly, set aside time to dedicate to professional development.
Look at your calendar and be aware of what days or weeks are busiest for you. Keep in mind classroom events, parent meetings, and special lessons when choosing the time you set aside to complete your hours. Set reminders where you need them – your phone, your planner, post-it notes in your teaching corner will help keep you accountable. If you have a colleague to join in your professional development journey, you may find completing your hours a social activity also. Be consistent with the amount of time you are spending on professional development, and don’t be discouraged if you fall behind on your timeline. Just continue to work towards your professional development goal.
Remember that professional development is an important part of your teaching. Both you and your students will benefit from the wisdom you gain. Be kind to yourself as you juggle all your responsibilities; you are doing a great job!