Teachers are the backbone of any school, playing a significant role in the development of students, other educators, and the school as a whole. They go beyond the classroom, conducting extracurricular activities, mentoring students for their careers, and guiding new peers.
Just as any other profession, schools need to ensure teachers upgrade their skills regularly. Professional development for teachers involves learning activities and processes that enhance their knowledge, competence, and expertise. Rather than being passive, teachers who engage in their professional development become proactive, applying newly acquired knowledge to teach efficiently. They can attend conferences, seminars, online training classes, and e-learning courses to develop themselves professionally.
Improving student learning outcome
Imagine still using bullock carts for transportation instead of modern vehicles. Just like transportation, educators who evolve as researchers and practitioners find more effective ways of teaching and implement them.
Teachers should consistently seek creative ways to help students learn and assess their learning. Professional development helps teachers stay in touch with new educational trends and worldwide perspectives and methods of teaching. This enables them to implement their insights and help students develop skills to succeed globally. Professional development also encourages teachers to reflect on and develop creative ways of assessing students and crafting personalized and practical lessons. This not only helps them assess students but also understand students as learners.
Research shows that continuous professional development leads to better instruction and improves students’ learning outcomes by 21%. This helps schools attract new parents to enroll their children.
Integrating technology into school
Schools cannot adequately prepare students for the use of future tools if the school itself is using outdated technology. Teachers play a critical role in implementing technology into the school. Technology is a key component of school growth, and teachers’ professional development helps them become technologically educated and use it efficiently. Teachers need to upgrade their technological skills not only to teach students but also to help students acquire knowledge and skills using learning technology.
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Technology is not limited to the classroom. Various apps, websites, and even social media can help the school grow, reach out to parents, and spread school activities to a maximum number of people. If teachers learn to handle social media and use different apps and websites, it will contribute to the overall growth of the school.
The National Education Policy (NEP) emphasizes educational technology and courses like coding, and professional development regarding technology will help teachers prepare their schools to fit into the norms of NEP. Technology has become a critical tool after Covid, and it is essential to learn ways to reach out to students even during school closures. This can help schools stay prepared for future educational crises.
Helping each others become better educators
Teamwork is the foundation of a potential school. No one can understand a teacher’s challenges more than other teachers, making collaboration and teamwork crucial parts of teacher professional development. If teachers learn collaboration skills as part of their professional development, they can effectively form and engage in professional learning communities. These communities provide opportunities to share research and experience and evaluate each other’s learning engagement in the classroom.
Professional development also helps teachers reflect on their practices so that they can identify areas for improvement and work on them. Good collaboration makes the school environment more fruitful and peaceful.
Improving organizing and time management
Teachers’ work is not limited to teaching. They also have to spend time developing curriculum, evaluating students, and completing paperwork. Professional development helps teachers stay organized and manage time effectively. It also helps them improve their personality.
If teachers learn to allocate their time according to their tasks, they can save much time and increase their productivity. This skill helps teachers reduce stress and anxiety, making them more confident and focused on their work. A teacher’s work-life balance is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment in the school, and professional development helps teachers maintain it.
Setting professional goals and equipping students for their future
Professional development enables teachers to reflect on the outcomes of their work and set SMART professional goals, which in turn help them develop further. Through this process, teachers can set more achievable and realistic goals.
Given the rapid pace of technological change, it’s essential for students to be prepared for the future. This transformation will both eliminate some jobs and create new ones. Teachers can play a crucial role in equipping students with the skills they need to become better professionals and succeed in a changing world.
To be effective in this role, teachers must continuously grow as professionals. This growth not only benefits teachers but also impacts students and school growth. Therefore, schools should emphasize the professional development of their teachers and contribute to it. School leaders can provide teachers with a variety of books to help them grow professionally, mentally, and emotionally. They can also offer online courses, workshops, and opportunities to interact with other experts in the field. A strong backbone of professional development is essential to building a strong school.