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How to Create a Professional Development Plan for Teachers

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If you're a teacher looking to progress in your career, creating a professional development plan is an idea well worth considering. This blog post will teach you how to create a doable, well-organized plan.

PD: Creating a Plan of Attack

Professional development (PD) is a critical part of being a teacher. The field of education is always changing; that's why it's important to stay up to date on current best practices and to continue to hone and sharpen your teaching skills. After all, it's only the fate of the future generation that's on the line.

All jokes aside, one of the best ways to stay on track with your professional development is to create a yearly PD plan. Here are the steps you can take to do so.

A teacher creates a professional development plan

Assess Where You Are Professionally

Before you can begin to establish your professional development goals and make a plan to move toward them, you need to have a good sense of where you currently stand. Take some time to think about your current teaching philosophy and practices.

For example:

  • Are you doing your best in the classroom?
  • Are you succeeding according to your own - as well as your school and/or district's - standards?
  • Are there any educational strategies or tools you'd like to use but aren't?

Be honest with yourself. Consult with colleagues and supervisors and reflect upon the feedback you've recently received in order to develop as complete a picture as possible of where you stand professionally.

Determine Your PD Goals

Now you can move on to thinking about where you want to be, both in terms of your short-term and long-term PD objectives.

For instance:

  • What do you want to achieve during the school year?
  • What do you want to achieve in your teaching career in general?
  • Are your fellow teachers using approaches in the classroom that you're interested in trying out with your own students?

These questions can help you paint a specific picture of your dream teaching career.

A teacher determines his professional development goals

Identify Instructional Gaps

Once you know where you are and where you're going professionally, your next move is to identify the steps you can take to get from here to there. For example, if one of your goals is to increase your use of technology in the classroom in order to make materials more accessible and interesting to your students, but you're currently relying on a projector and a blackboard, this is a gap you can work toward closing in your professional development plan.

Develop a PD Plan

After you've established your PD goals, it's a matter of organizing them into a clear plan. First, you'll want to state all of your goals as specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART). Then list the steps you'll need to take to achieve them. Broader professional development goals can be broken down into smaller segments you can achieve within the school year.

Your plan should also include a timeline for when you want to achieve certain goals and list the resources that'll help you to get where you want to go. Using the technology example from earlier, a conference you want to attend about implementing technology in education and administrative approval for a tool you want to buy should both be included in your plan.

For the purpose of keeping PD details clear and organized, we recommend using an existing online professional development template to create your own plan. This example is one of several good options you may want to consider.

A teacher creates a professional development plan

Just the fact that you're thinking about creating a professional development plan is a good sign. Now all that's left for you to do is, well, do it. Good luck!

For more information and resources about teacher professional development, check out this resource on Study.com.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
September 2019
teachers professional development

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