Summer is quickly on its way and you may have vacation on your mind. We don’t blame you. But let’s be honest, even while you’re sipping lemonade poolside or escaping the heat inside your local bookstore, you’ll still be thinking about improving your craft. You’ll spot a new book on the shelf and think, “That would make a great read aloud” and then you’re spending hours on the internet searching tie-in activities from science experiments and art projects to multimedia presentations.
How do we muster that level of excitement for more formal professional development? Here are five tips for making the most of your next professional learning experience.
- Find a topic that interests you. Don’t think of professional development as only a box that needs to be checked off your to-do list. Sure, you’ll earn the PD credits, but peruse the catalog for offerings that you’ll enjoy and learn from, whether it’s incorporating more technology, improving project-based assignments, or engaging your students in the classroom. Ellie Reich, Professional Development Product Manager at ASU Prep Digital reminds us, “Time flies when you are interested and excited to engage.”
- Set aside dedicated PD time on your calendar. It’s easy to postpone professional development because of busy schedules, so go ahead and mark it on your calendar, making it a priority. Be sure not to double book with other appointments or responsibilities, like child care. Ms. Reich prefers scheduling professional development early in the summer while the positives and negatives of the school year are still fresh on her mind. Her approach is to apply new learnings to class content for the fall so she can then “focus on family and relaxation the rest of summer.”
- Get comfortable and be present. Determine where you focus and learn best. This could be a coffee shop with your favorite drink or your home office while in pajamas. Relax, tune out distractions, and prepare to be involved. Alison Hernandez, Director of Professional Development & Learning Initiatives at ASU Prep Digital encourages participants to be present by being “proactive and engaged by asking questions, sharing insights, and engaging in discussions during the sessions.”
- Find a friend. Invite a peer to register for the same course so that you can exchange ideas, enhancing the learning experience. Ms. Hernandez encourages participants to
“take advantage of the time to connect with other educators and to build meaningful relationships.” Ms. Reich wholeheartedly agrees, adding that working from a coffee shop with a colleague and bouncing off ideas is a winning combination.
- Be sure to reflect. After the training has ended, spend some time reflecting while the concepts are fresh in your mind and you’re feeling inspired to implement new ideas. Jot down some notes or text a colleague to keep the momentum, learning, and collaboration going. “Professional development is an ongoing process,” says Ms. Hernandez, “Stay curious and be proactive about seeking new learning opportunities.”
Ready to seek out your next great professional development opportunity? Browse ASU Prep Digital’s Training Calendar for Summer Bootcamp sessions and register today!