Many people confuse personal professional development with corporate professional development. The two concepts are completely different. While one is focused on attaining higher education and the other is geared at enhancing skills in the workplace, there are actually clear differences. Personal and corporate development have to do with setting goals, developing talents and abilities, and maintaining productivity in the workplace. Let’s look closer at these concepts to see why they’re so different and what the similarities are.
Supervisors can request further clarification on how personal professional development goals would fit into a district and school goals. For instance, an administrator may want to know how differentiated teaching will impact her classroom. She should also ask how her personal development plan will integrate with the rest of her career goals. For example, if she wants to go into teaching early childhood development, will she be able to make the same kind of career changes as she might if she moved into teaching after high school? She needs to know how her plan will interact with her career goals.
Understand the Need
Districts and schools need to consider their instructional methods while determining how to align their personal professional development goals with instructional methods used in the classroom. Most districts require teachers to complete a professional development plan that addresses classroom management and teaching strategies. However, some districts don’t require teachers to complete such plans. If your classroom management and teaching strategies are at issue, it may be important to consult with a professional who has experience working in your classroom to get a better understanding of how the classroom is managed.
Many people confuse “life advice” with professional life advice. Life advice doesn’t focus on improving one’s professional skills, but rather includes suggestions for making successful personal and business decisions. This could include aspects of your personal life such as your diet, fitness level, hobbies, volunteer activities and interests, your finances and other aspects of your daily life.
To effectively teach the subject matter taught in the classroom, you need to pay special attention to effective teacher techniques. Effective teacher techniques may be used to combine personal and district goals for teaching. One of the most effective techniques teachers can use to integrate the two is called differentiated instruction. By using differentiated instruction, the teacher can help the student learn the subject matter in different ways based upon prior knowledge. For example, if the student has already studied Spanish in high school, the teacher can ask the student questions about the Spanish language and introduce Spanish phrases that the student may not have learned in English class.
There are many other practices teachers can use to create an environment of success in the classroom. Most districts require teachers to develop professional growth plans and post them on the classroom bulletin board. These plans should include targeted instruction for students’ personal professional development needs and goals, and they should be supported by practice tests.
Other professional development activities that teachers can participate in include visiting conferences, speaking with professionals in other disciplines and checking out the websites of professional development organizations. It is important to have a variety of activities available to teach the same material to various skill sets in the classroom. For example, if the teacher wishes to introduce math to the classroom, he or she could speak with a parent of a student who has already completed college and begin the education there. In addition, the teacher could speak with a college professor about a particular topic or attend a seminar on teaching mathematics. These types of activities help teachers stay abreast of the latest research in their field.
Finally, professional development should involve a series of one-on-one or group coaching sessions with individual students each year. During these sessions, the teacher can discuss the student’s strengths and weaknesses, teach him or her about effective time management, set up class discussion sessions and plan lessons around the strengths of the student. In the spring of the first year, the teacher may want to take the student out for a lunchtime outing so that he or she can get to know the child better before continuing the year one course. These one-on-one sessions are very important for developing the teacher’s skills and helping him or her to meet his or her professional development goals.