Three Final Tips for Making the Most of Your Professional Development
This three-part series of posts on making the most of your professional development has been really fun to write. I enjoy letting you in on little secrets that will help you stretch your dollar or time a little further when it comes to your professional development. Actually, that is one of my secret superhero skills. My mom taught me a lot about making the most of every dollar. Along the way, I’ve also become fascinated by how to stretch every last second out of each day. (Because 100 years or less is not enough time to accomplish all the things I want to do.) What I’ve found is these two concepts often go hand-in-hand.
If you haven’t read my other two posts in this series, you really should check out my three tips about understanding your professional development needs and my three tips about using the timing of your professional development to your advantage.
This third post in the series, offers three final tips focusing on less obvious ways of making use of your professional development.
Here are my three tips.
1 – Ask for Professional Development Credit
A few times each year we get phone calls from instructors of school exclusive professional development classes who, on the first day of class, want to get their class approved for credit through NDSU. Often these instructors did not realize their class is eligible or even useful to the relicensing process. It is not until an individual participating in the class asks how they can register for credit that the instructor realizes they should get their course approved for professional development credit.
…ask whether or not credit is available through NDSU’s Distance and Continuing Education program.
If you are taking any class promoted as a professional development opportunity, ask whether or not credit is available through NDSU’s Distance and Continuing Education program. And, when possible, ask the instructor well before the start date of the course. When you ask the question early you allow the instructor time to get the class approved and let other participants know credit is available.
2 – Share Your Knowledge
If you have a professional development class or event that is already established in your school district, I encourage you to share your knowledge with other school districts. Sharing your knowledge can take on a variety of angles but here are a few ideas.
Perhaps you have a successful class or event that another school district could benefit from. Find ways to share the details of planning that class or event to ease the workload of another school district. Let the other school districts know they too can apply for professional development credit through NDSU.
Maybe you are an expert in a teaching methodology, curriculum, or topic. Offer to lend your expertise and experience to another district’s training opportunity. Or, consider teaching a class, in your area of expertise, online through our office so that the class can be available to teachers in other districts or states. I am currently developing an upcoming post about things to consider when designing a professional development class. I will link the post here when it is available.
Making the most of every dollar the state of North Dakota provides our public education system makes good sense.
Probably the easiest way to share your knowledge is to invite other district teachers, especially rural districts, to participate in your professional development opportunities. This may be in the form of attending face-to-face, allowing them to use a video-conference system, or letting them register for online classes you may offer. Either way, I think you will find by allowing teachers from outside your district to participate, your course will benefit from a more robust and inclusive discussion.
Making the most of every dollar the state of North Dakota provides our public education system makes good sense. Let’s figure out ways to tap into the collective knowledge of our state’s k-20 teachers for the good of all students in North Dakota.
3 – Finish Your Class
This may seem obvious… doesn’t everyone finish a professional development class for which they registered? Sadly, no.
…unfinished classes cost teachers money.
There are a number of people who register for a class who do not complete the required coursework and as a result, they receive a grade of F or unsatisfactory. Life is busy and things happen, we understand there are times when teachers just aren’t able to finish a class. However, unfinished classes cost teachers money. Teachers lose credits for the class because an unfinished class or class with a failing grade cannot be used toward license renewal and often not toward a pay scale advancement. Yes, replacement credits can be earned through another professional development learning opportunity but it means an additional cost and extra time. Don’t forget to consider the lost earnings a teacher misses out on when they must postpone their pay scale advancement another month, semester, or year.
We encourage you to do whatever you can to finish the class you are in. If you have had something happen which limits your ability to finish a class, consider speaking with your instructor to determine how and when you can finish your class. Let’s save some money and time this year and finish those classes.
I have found many newer teachers and teachers new to North Dakota haven’t figured out the North Dakota license renewal process and could use little reminders now and again.
Now that this three-part series has wrapped up, consider mentioning these tips to new teachers. Or send them the link to these posts. I have found many newer teachers and teachers new to North Dakota haven’t figured out the North Dakota license renewal process and could use little reminders now and again.
Please subscribe to our newsletter so we can continue to keep you updated when new blog posts are released. Let us know, in the comments below, what tips you have for making the most of your professional development.
About the Author
Connie Jadrny, is the marketing and public relations coordinator for NDSU Distance and Continuing Education, a program of the Office of Teaching and Learning.
In more than 14 years at NDSU, Jadrny has learned a lot about the professional development needs of k-12 teachers.
In this series of posts, she intends to pass along bits of wisdom from the professional development industry.
Let’s learn together!