Three More Tips for Squeezing the Most Out of Your Professional Development
Put the two paragraphs here
I have so many great tips about making the most of your professional development, but they require a decent length explanation. To keep each post to a reasonable length, I have written it as a three part series. This is the second post in that three part series.
If you haven’t read the first post, the tips I included in it were mainly about knowing yourself and your needs. Read the full post here. The tips included in this second post are mainly about the timing of taking your courses.
Here are three additional ways to squeeze the most out of your professional development.
1 – Make your classes count for more than your license renewal.
Maintaining your teaching license is the main reason for taking professional development classes. After all, you can’t teach if your license isn’t current. An important part of maintaining your license is ensuring you have the right courses taken and submitted before your license expires. Let’s examine the ways you can get extra mileage out of each class you take for your license.
The first thing I would suggest you do when choosing a professional development class is to look at what your needs are and then find classes that fit those needs as well as your licensing requirements. Don’t stop at applying professional development classes toward your license renewal.
…look at what your needs are and then find classes that fit those needs as well as your licensing requirements.
In the North Dakota/Minnesota region, most of the classes you take for a license renewal can apply toward a pay scale advancement. So be sure to not only check the timing on courses for your license but also check to see if the timing of those courses works for a pay scale advancement. Check with your school district to see if they will accept the class(es) before you register.
Another way to get mileage out of your professional development is to apply to one of NDSU’s graduate programs in education. Not only will you earn a Master’s degree, you will also be able to use those classes for your license renewal requirements and possibly toward another step on the pay scale. Earning a Master’s degree sets you up for career advancement and allows you to earn some extra money by teaching professional development classes for NDSU. Check out our blog post on teaching professional development classes to learn more.
2 – Take classes early in your license renewal cycle.
I know, you just finished taking classes for the license renewal you just applied for, and you want a break from taking classes. Or, maybe you just started teaching and haven’t had to apply for a license renewal yet. Maybe, you don’t even know you need graduate-level professional development credit to renew your license in North Dakota. Whatever the case may be, I urge you to take classes as soon as your license cycle begins.
We often get calls from teachers who are nearing the deadline to renew their teaching license and they still need to find a majority of their credits. These teachers generally end up taking whatever course is available to fulfill their credit requirements. There are several things wrong with this approach. The biggest reason is that this approach does not allow you to choose specific classes that meet your needs. When you end up taking a class simply because it is available at the right time, you miss out on learning about things that can help you improve your teaching. Sure, there is a chance you might find a class highly suited to your needs, but don’t assume that will be the case every time.
When you wait too long to look for a class, you may end up spending more money. Classes that are listed as a recording fee only are less expensive but they fill up faster so your selection of classes may be limited to ones that are more expensive. Furthermore, if a class has already begun, you may have to pay a late registration fee.
When you wait too long to look for a class, you may end up spending more money.
Occasionally, instructors cancel a professional development class due to unforeseen circumstances. Taking classes early allows you more time to find a replacement class.
Another issue with this approach is that you end up taking too many credits at one time. Piling the work of obtaining three or more credits on top of an already long list of teaching and personal obligations is a recipe for burnout. Instead, opt for taking one or two credits per year so that you can pick and choose the classes that help your teaching situation. Taking a few courses each year gives you sufficient time to focus on the class topics and keeps your coursework at a manageable level.
3 – Subscribe to and read our monthly newsletter.
Before you stop reading this post… hear me out on this tip. There are several reasons why you should subscribe to our newsletter (if you haven’t already) and why you should read our newsletter every month. Our newsletter offers a list of upcoming classes. New classes are highlighted in this newsletter and once in a while, there are classes offered at no cost to you. Generally, these FREE courses are paid for by a grant. Timing is everything, though, because individuals who subscribe to and read our newsletter right away get to know about and register for these courses first. These individuals have the opportunity to save money on professional development. WIN!
Timing is everything, though, because individuals who subscribe to and read our newsletter right away get to know about and register for these courses first.
Another reason to read our newsletter is that we promote many of the outreach events held on campus for k-12 students. There are numerous enrichment activities for youth across North Dakota and Minnesota. In many cases, these opportunities are FREE or at a very low cost. Because they are offered through NDSU, you can be assured that they are high-quality programs.
And finally, our newsletter is how we communicate important information to our k-12 teachers and administrators. We send out transcript information and other timely information. The best part is that we do not sell or provide anyone else with your contact information and we only email once per month (unless there is something BIG you need to know about.)
Please subscribe to our newsletter so we can continue to keep you informed.
Let us know in the comments below what professional development classes you would like to see us offer. Also, tell us what information you want to hear from our office. We want to ensure that the information you receive from us is of value to you.
And, don’t forget to read the final post in this series about my top tips 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!