Professional Development Plan Template

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

An important aspect for educators is to grow professionally throughout their career. This lesson explains professional development and provides a template to use as a tool for tracking and monitoring one's development as an educator.

Why Professional Development?

Like most professions, teaching evolves. This means that what we were doing fifty, twenty-five, or even five years ago may not be what is best for our students today. Research in the field of education helps guide us as professionals to determine what we refer to as best practices, methods and pedagogy that will achieve maximum results with our students.

Best practices can change quickly, so how can we stay on top of what's up-and-coming? One way schools and districts monitor and maintain professional development practices is to require educators create and maintain a Professional Development Plan, or PDP. This plan is used to outline goals and monitor professionals over time. Let's take a closer look.

The Professional Development Plan

Like we said, the PDP is used to help educators stay on top of their practice. How does this work? The PDP is a living document that records goals, identifies methods of achieving them, records steps taken towards meeting the goal, and measures overall progress. Though PDP's can vary widely depending on the school, district or intent, most contain these criteria:

  • Long-Term Goals - The educator identifies one or more goals they would like to achieve in about 6 months to a year. For example, a teacher may want to use more up-to-date planning methods, such as backwards planning.
  • Short-Term Goals - The educator identifies several short-term goals to be used to achieve the long-term goal, or determines short term goals independent of the long-term goal. Short-term goals for learning a new planning system may be to attend a seminar, join a professional book club, or observe co-teachers who use the method.
  • Actions - The educator identifies actions that can be taken to reach goals. In our example, the teacher may need to ask administration to fund a seminar, or research a book club.
  • Measurements - The educator identifies methods that can be used to measure the progress towards achieving the goals. Think of things such as check-list.
  • Time frame - The educator identifies a realistic time frame in which to reach short-term and long-term goals. Should learning planning take six months? A year? Teachers need to plan how much time these things will take.
  • Opportunities - The educator identifies professional development opportunities, such as workshops or classes, which can be used to reach goals.
  • Evidence of Achievement - The educator indicates how it will be apparent the goal has been achieved. Will it be after a unit has been written and successfully taught, or after the principal has observed a lesson and given feedback?

You'll notice this plan is relatively open-ended. This is by design. Educators come in a wide variety of skills and subject specializations, and therefore have a wide variety of areas in which they need development. Also, many schools and districts require teachers to work with a mentor or other lead professional to create, monitor and measure goals. Though administrators often check in on PDP's and an educator's professional growth, the on-the-ground work is typically manned by teachers themselves.

The Professional Development Plan Template

Now that we have a solid idea of what a PDP is and the criteria used in one, let's take a look at what a sample template looks like. We'll put our pieces into place with some imaginary teachers, Ms. Smith, who wants to learn backwards planning, and her co-teacher Mr. Brown.

Professional Development Plan Template

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