5 steps to choose your summer professional development

5 Steps to Choose Your Summer PD

Choosing your summer PD is essential as we look forward to the fall. Just as we discuss personalizing learning for students, we as teachers have a responsibility to personalize learning for ourselves. In this post, I’m going to take you through the five steps I use to determine my own summer professional development.

5 steps to choose your summer professional development

Advancement Courses  sponsors this blog post. All opinions are my own.

1 – Determine Your PD Objectives

First, I look at the areas of concern and special interest for me. Sometimes an area of concern occurs because teaching requires new capabilities that have not been needed before. There are three main focuses I take when choosing the right course: areas of concern, areas to strengthen and keep up to date, and timeless areas of interest.

Areas of Concern

As I work to help students in these times, I know that understanding their trauma and social-emotional needs is important for me to be a better teacher. Additionally, I need to understand the research behind that topic. So, social-emotional learning is definitely on the list. 

Additionally, just like with students, we tend to struggle to get motivated to work on our areas to improve. As for me, I like to improve through a strength or two, which comes next.

Another area of concern is my own wellness and good health as it has been hard to force myself to rest sometimes (just using those words together sounds odd). So self-care or “Educator Wellness” is definitely an area for me.

Areas to Strengthen and Keep Up to Date

Technology is a strength for me. But I always want to learn new things, understand current research, and analyze what I’m doing versus current best practices. This category is a subject area I’d like to keep up to date.

Timeless Areas of Interest

For me, leadership is always of interest because it is a stated goal of my class to be committed to world-class excellence.

Additionally, I always look at gifted and talented instructional practices because I believe that every child is gifted and talented. Some of the most engaging teaching practices for any student can be found in this area.

2 – Find Courses to Meet Your Needs

Advancement Courses is my go-to platform for professional development. On their website, I can easily click on the areas of interest for me and apply certain filters to meet my needs. You can also filter their course selection by grade level, credit options (either for graduate credit or continuing education), and more.

filter and choose your summer professional development

I filtered and chose my summer professional development while in my favorite coffee shop this week!

3. Review the Objectives and Products of the Course

Now, I have identified some courses that interest me. Right now, when I look at the filtered list, I see several including:

Then, I look at each individual course to see several things. What will I learn? What will I do? Is this something that will take me to a new level that will help improve my classroom?  Each course on the Advancement Courses’ site includes a syllabus, course objectives, and approval information.

I teach in Georgia and also have to make sure our schools’ accrediting organization will approve, so I can choose any of their CAEP and/or regionally accredited graduate credit partners when selecting a course and gain the semester hours of credit. You can see the Where We Count page to better understand the requirements in your area.

4. Create a List of Finalists

As I look at the courses, I have a Google Doc I use to take notes on the courses as I review the syllabus and learning objectives. I also write my concerns and notes for sharing with my administrators to get their feedback for selection.

NOTE: Advancement Courses always recommends seeking approval from your district or state governing body prior to registering for a course to verify acceptance. 

So, I emailed the finalists to my administrator responsible for accreditation and she sent it to our accrediting organization for preapproval. It is better to check ahead of time to make sure that everything is perfect and I suggest getting in writing that it will be approved by your school and accrediting organization. This just saves times and prevents problems. For me, this narrowed down my choices because I have to have another subject-area course relating to my subject area.

5. Pick the course

After getting feedback and approval from administrators, I pick the course and set out for an adventure.

This year, I'm taking Teaching Computer Science in 6-12 for Graduate Credit hours. I have six months to complete it so I'll register and start the first week of June. Personally, I like to complete work early in the summer so I can get through the work.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere