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Teacher Professional Development Goals

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Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura lives in the Boise, Idaho area with her husband and children. She holds a B.A. in secondary education (English and social studies) from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, a M.Ed. and Ed.S. in school counseling (K-12) from the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of South Alabama, respectively, and a Ph.D. in instructional design for online learning from Capella University. She teaches online at several colleges and universities across the country and has over 20 years of experience in education.

Teacher professional development frequently has a clear goal: falling into formal education, specialized training, or professional-effectiveness learning activities. Explore some common and uncommon goals for teacher professional development. Updated: 11/02/2021

Professional Development

Have you ever heard your principal or supervisor utter the words 'professional development,' and all of a sudden your eyes glazed over? Were you thinking, 'What can someone possibly do to entertain me for half a day (or maybe a whole day or two or three) that will actually help me to grow as a teacher?' Have you really sat down and given any real thought to what it is you hope to accomplish and develop as a professional?

If you answered 'yes' to the first two questions, this lesson is probably for you. In this lesson, we will define some long-term goals for professional development and discuss ways of working to attain those goals.

Professional Development Defined

Before we take a look at professional development goals, we first must clearly define what 'teacher professional development' is. In the educational field, professional development is any kind of formal education, specialized training, or advanced learning activity that helps teachers improve their skills or professional effectiveness.

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Professional Development Goals

Some teachers do not really give a great deal of thought as to what their professional development goals are. Most find workshops that look interesting and hope that their principals will give them the time off to go, or in some cases, teachers are given professional development by individuals brought in by the school or school district--whether they ask for it or not. And that's as far as it goes. But thinking about what your goals really are will help you to develop in the way that you want to.

When thinking about your professional development goals, understand that there is a process involved. This process usually involves defining the things for which you want or need to increase your skill set. In addition, the process can involve exploring avenues within your profession that you have not yet planned for. Sometimes, when trying to figure out what your goals are, it can be helpful to sit down and make a list. Start with the things you're really good at, and then work your way to the things you want or need to learn how to do. This will usually give you some direction.

Let's look at some common goals that are often overlooked:

1. Becoming More Technology Savvy

This one is overlooked much of the time, when in fact it is very important. New technologies are constantly emerging, so it is important for us to keep up with the latest trends and issues in the field. Maybe you want to learn to use a Smart Board. Maybe you need to upgrade your computer skills and learn to do things like keeping a grade book online or integrating the Internet into the classroom. Countless school districts are now purchasing laptop computers for their students, so it is important that you know how to use them.

2. Publishing a Journal Article

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