5 Professional Development New Year's Resolutions for Teachers


The year 2020 is upon us, and you're likely in the midst of setting New Year's resolutions. In addition to committing to a healthy diet and going to bed on time, teachers should set career goals. Read on for five professional development New Year's resolutions teachers can start implementing today.

Professional Development: Goals for 2020

Happy New Year, educators! A new year holds a wealth of potential for teachers who want to beef up their skills. However, it can be challenging to balance classroom duties with routine professional development efforts. Still, given the ongoing changes in technology, school policy, and classroom instruction, it's more important than ever that teachers are also habitual learners. Keep reading to discover five professional development New Year's resolutions that all teachers should have on their list for 2020.

1. Use Social Media

Social media is a fun and convenient option for teachers. From watching videos on YouTube to listening to podcast episodes on Spotify, social media is a significant first step for teachers who want to make professional development a priority in the new year.

Professional Development on Social Media

Following educators' pages that frequently post content will keep you on course, as well as provide a space for you to converse with like minds over various hot button topics. The best thing about social media is that it's free and available to be used at your leisure. Even if you don't have much money or time, any teacher can participate in regular professional development.

2. Find Your Tribe

Teaching is no easy feat; that's why it's essential to have reliable support. Knowing that you have another person or a group of people who have your back will give you the confidence to pursue intimidating or unfamiliar professional development opportunities. While your tribe may consist of people from a range of professions, including fellow teachers ensures that there are others who you can connect with over the highs and lows of teaching.

Having a tribe of fellow educators will also hold you professionally accountable. They'll be the ones that help you work through any challenges and remind you to rest when you've been in a work hole for days grading papers. Attending local networking events and joining teaching associations is an excellent way for teachers to meet other educators in the new year.

3. Set Doable Weekly Goals

Having big dreams isn't a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming to tackle major goals all at once. Every teacher has been there. The sky seems to be the limit when you're brainstorming the upcoming year's professional development calendar. Then boom, the school year jumps into full swing, and your goals seem more unreachable by the day.

Professional Development goal setting

Breaking your main New Year's resolutions into small, manageable tasks will help you work toward and eventually achieve your target. For instance, if you want to become a better speaker, consider joining a weekly toastmaster meet-up or reading a chapter from a book each day on channeling your public speaking fears into developing a dynamic stage presence.

4. Make the International Leap

The global world holds infinite professional development potential. There are many benefits to international opportunities, which include expanding your network and learning groundbreaking techniques and tools that are changing the scope of education worldwide. Teachers can team up with academic and research groups who are traveling abroad to complete educational projects or opt for a solo venture to an international convention.

In 2020, educators cannot only attend conventions and conferences in the U.S., but also in Asia, Europe, and Canada. Teachers who want a change of scenery as they engage in immersive learning workshops should consider adding international travel and learning to their New Year's resolution list.

5. Apply for a Funding Opportunity

Exploring new professional development opportunities can be costly, especially on a teacher's salary. An ideal New Year's resolution for teachers who want to save a few dollars is to apply for funding. Luckily there are scholarships and grants available for teachers who wish to learn the latest skills, attend a regional or national conference, or initiate experimental classroom projects.

teacher funding

Organizations like the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation provide teachers with learning and leadership grants in modest amounts ($2,000-$5,000), in addition to the McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation, which offers larger teacher development grants (up to $10,000 annually) for longer terms (for a maximum of three years).

New Year, New You

Take a new approach to your New Year's resolutions this year, by pushing the boundaries and trying new professional development activities.

Visit to access Professional Development for Teachers: A Guide.

By Whitney Stovall
December 2020
teachers professional development

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