Louise Potter –
What is professional development?
It is defined as “ the process of improving staff skills and competencies needed to produce outstanding educational results for students” (Hassel, 1999).
Many times we come across teachers who are constantly stating “ I have been a teacher for more than 20 years. I know what I am doing!” I do believe he/she knows what she is doing, the fact is, do the students know what he/she is doing?
Having a career as a teacher means that you are open to changes. It is said that a generation gap is a difference of opinion between parents and their children regarding beliefs, ideas and habits. This gap has now diminished. One can even say that there is a generation gap between siblings. Habits, ideas and beliefs now change like a bolt of lightning.
As teachers, we must have the urge to keep our skills and concepts updated . Our students come to school every year a little bit different than the year before . The only way we can keep up with them is by developing our teaching skills and soft skills.
Below I will mention some basic reasons why we must keep on studying and broadening our minds:
- Because students deserve it – Great teachers create great students! Yes! Teachers DO influence students and it is up to the teacher to plan his/her class in the best possible way for the students within their interests.
- Education is the passport to the future: The well prepared students and teachers of today are our future. Education is on the run 24 hours a day. The purpose of a good education is no longer a ticket to a good job. It is the tool through which we can change the world.
- Education paradigms shift: Students change, teachers change , styles change and classrooms change. Teachers need to be prepared for the rapid changes in the world today ,specially with the technology underlying everything we do.
- Qualification keeps you in the market: the more you develop your personal and professional skills, the more you will outstand in the market. Getting a job will never be a problem for you. Your carreer will take off.
- Knowledge empowers: knowledge enables you to address your students learning difficulties and effectively solve them. It empowers you to fight for you rights and better educational conditions.
- Sharing: It is critical for teachers to learn and share their experiences with others. Different backgrounds, different social and cultural contexts can add alot to your professional development process.
- If educators expect students to improve, they must do the same: we cannot expect students to change if we continue to do what we have always done. Being familiar with new approaches, we become less fearful of implementing them in the classroom. We expect more from our students as we expect more from ourselves.