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The Importance of Professional Development For Educators

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Education is a never-ending process. It doesn’t stop after earning a degree and starting a career. Through continuing education, career-minded individuals can constantly improve their skills and become more proficient at their jobs. In the field of K-12 education administration, it is particularly important for school administrators to encourage teachers to pursue professional development, not only to ensure the best learning outcomes for their students but also to be more effective and satisfied in various other aspects of their work.

Students Have Better Learning Outcomes

Educational technology, school district guidelines and curriculum standards are constantly changing, making it challenging for teachers to keep up with trends and best practices in the field. Professional development transforms teachers into better and more apt educators by enabling them to create relevant and tailored course instructions for today’s students. Research by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences concluded that student achievement can improve by as much as 21 percentile points as a result of teachers’ participation in well-designed professional development programs.

National Board Certification is one path for teachers to pursue professional development and keep up with the latest educational standards to ensure optimal student learning. One study by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools found that student performance on end-of-course tests in Algebra II, Biology, Civics and Economics, Chemistry and Geometry was significantly higher for those students taught by National Board Certified Teachers than students of teachers without National Board Certification.

Teachers Learn Better Ways to Teach

When educators discover new teaching strategies through professional development, they are able to go back to the classroom and make changes to their lecture styles and curricula to better suit the needs of their students. However, these changes are hard to evaluate because they are typically implemented gradually. Professional development for teachers makes them more efficient in their presentations and course evaluations by exposing educators to new delivery methods, evaluation styles and record-keeping strategies.

Teachers Develop Better Organization and Planning Skills

In addition to the hours spent presenting in the classroom, much of teachers’ time is spent on student evaluations, curriculum development and other paperwork. Professional development training can help teachers to become better at planning their time and staying organized. This ultimately makes teachers more efficient and gives them extra time to focus on students rather than the paperwork.

Teachers Gain Knowledge and Industry Insight

Students expect teachers to be subject matter experts for the topics they teach. This means teachers should be able to answer any question a student throws their way. Professional development programs can enable teachers to expand their knowledge base in different subject areas. The more professional development a teacher undergoes, the more knowledge and industry insight he or she gains.

Teachers Want to Continue Their Education

It’s easy for teachers to become burdened by the grind of teaching. Professional development gives them an opportunity to step out of their routine — they get to be the student instead of the teacher. This keeps educators engaged because they feel like they are receiving the professional help they need to be better teachers. After all, professional development nurtures the talents of teachers who aspire to take on educational leadership positions, and teachers must learn from other experienced leaders to become effective future leaders themselves.

Implementing professional education development has benefits for both teachers and students, but most importantly, it helps teachers become better educators and develop into competent future school administrators.

The state of North Carolina understands the importance of continuing education for its teachers and school leaders. Public Schools of North Carolina has implemented a NC Professional Development Office that focuses on providing schools with leadership, resources, technical assistance, and consultative services in related to professional development with improved student achievement as the end goal. The site lists various resources for administrators and teachers to develop skills and learn best practices according to the latest standards in the education field.

One development option for teachers who are interested in taking on a leadership role and pursuing school administrator certification is an educational leadership master’s degree. Queens University of Charlotte’s online MA in Educational Leadership program offers the personal support and leadership skills teachers need to stay current in the field while becoming better educators and preparing to become effective school lead

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