Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (2022)

Professional development is a vital part of any educator’s career. As a teacher, professional development helps you reflect on your teaching practices, build new skills, come up with different classroom strategies, and generally stay ahead of the curve.

Teachers can actively work to expand their knowledge by seeking and doing professional development. Luckily, abundant training and learning options exist. Let’s explore the concept of professional development for teachers, why investing in yourself is so important, and key professional development opportunities.

What is Professional Development?

Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (1)

Professional development (PD) is a necessary practice in almost every career field. Education is no exception. For educators, learning doesn’t stop after you earn a teaching degree and start a career at a school. In K-12 education, teachers in most states are required to complete some amount of professional development in order to renew their teaching license.

Professional development helps teachers take innovative approaches to school improvement. PD is a broad term that covers topics that include formative assessment, data-driven decision making, policy implications, leadership, community, educational technology, and teaching methodology.

Why Professional Development is Important for Teachers

Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (2)

Professional development helps ensure the best learning outcomes for students, which has to be the number one priority for any good classroom teacher. Here are six reasons why educators need to invest in professional development.

Be a better teacher

Clearly, you should become a better teacher if your professional development efforts actually work. But there are good reasons why teachers see an improvement in performance after doing extra education and training.

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However good your original teaching degree was, it can’t prepare you for the challenges and complexities that you find on the job. A big advantage of professional development is that you can step aside from your role and reflect on how to tackle these real-life problems differently.

As well, you may be exposed to ideas and strategies that you would never have thought of if it weren’t for doing professional development.

Stay on top of education research

Academic researchers are constantly analyzing the current teaching methods and developing a better understanding of effective practices. Teachers have enough work on their plate already and understandably can’t be expected to read every newly published study. PD workshops are carefully designed by experts who have the time to review and study articles as they come out and share the important results.

Research in education has helped us better understand how students learn effectively. The shift from a traditional teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered classroom can be largely attributed to the work of educational theorist John Dewey who proposed children learn best in natural social settings.

Today’s educational research has sparked discussions on the importance of social-emotional learning and play-based learning in the 21st century.

Enjoy your teaching job more

Being a capable and confident teacher leads to higher job satisfaction (see, for example, Ortan et al). You approach the classroom with a positive mindset, manage students so as to create a harmonious classroom environment, and achieve more satisfying instruction outcomes.

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Naturally, therefore, professional development improves job satisfaction. Teachers also report strong dissatisfaction when they feel they need professional development but lack opportunities to get it.

Adjust to changes in the education environment

Educators address a landscape of issues and unique needs when working with students. As our society continues to grow and change, so do the types of challenges educators face. For example, moving to a new district might mean an educator now has a number of English language learners to teach.

Teachers had to quickly adjust their instructional methods when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close their doors, leaving many educators without proper resources for setting up an effective online classroom. Professional development has the power to address specific issues, collect information from experienced professionals, and offer solutions to teachers.

Adapt to policy changes in education

Educational policies make big impacts in schools. Regulations in school size, class size, school privatization, teacher qualifications, teacher salary, teaching methods, curricular content, school infrastructure, and graduation requirements are all influenced by educational policy.

This can be a lot to keep up with, especially for teachers who already have a tight schedule. PD workshops offer opportunities for educators to learn about the policies that are most influential in their classes. By learning about the educational policies that regulate their classes, teachers can make sure they are meeting the requirements of their state and school.

Connect with the teaching community

Professional development can be completed individually or as part of a group. Individual PD opportunities can be great for those with a busy schedule who want to complete training on their own time. But group PD opportunities offer a chance for educators to share their experiences and knowledge and connect with other professionals.

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PD opportunities can bring you closer to your coworkers or connect you with educators around the globe. This allows educators to come together to share their valuable insights and support each other.

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (3)

Professional development gives teachers a chance to be students again. Not only does PD help educators become experts in their field, but it also fosters the talents of teachers who aspire to be educational leaders and make an impact on student outcomes.

Ready to sharpen your skills and learn about powerful insights in the world of education? The good news is that professional development opportunities are highly accessible online, so it’s easy for anyone to get started even if their school doesn’t provide PD resources.

Educators should talk to their administration about required and optional PD opportunities. Most schools have required PD workshops for teachers, but your professional development journey doesn’t have to end there. Here are some great professional development opportunities teachers can access online.

NEA micro-credentials

The National Education Association (NEA) offers micro-credential certifications to educators and aspiring educators who want to develop specific competencies. Micro-credentials are earned via the completion of courses in a variety of topics.

Some of the topics you can earn micro-credentials in include: bully-free schools, using your voice to advocate for students, building effective teams, arts integration, assessment literacy, and technology integration.

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Postgraduate education courses

Graduate certificates are common amongst educators. Some teachers also decide to earn their master’s degree during their first few years of teaching and others wait a few years before re-enrolling in school.

After you’ve graduated and landed a job at a school, going back to college might sound like the last thing you want to do. Luckily, flexible graduate certificate online courses are available. Earning a postgraduate qualification helps you explore topics more deeply, gain new knowledge about teaching methodology, and grow professionally.

EdTech integration

The rise of technology being utilized in schools means that educators need to stay up to date on the latest in educational technology. Both Google and Microsoft offer software that can be highly beneficial to your classroom.

You can take classes and earn certificates from Google and Microsoft to demonstrate that you are technologically literate and understand how to use technology to your advantage in the classroom. You can even take your knowledge to the next level by becoming a Google Certified Trainer and working with other schools and educators to improve their EdTech utilization.

Online PD workshops

There are tons of free online professional development workshops available for teachers. PBS offers courses in planning and preparation, assessment and evaluation, effective instruction, learning environments, and disciplines.

Coursera is another site where you can get access to free training (most courses do charge a fee if you want to receive a certificate). Coursera partners with universities to make learning more accessible. With Coursera, you take courses like Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing or Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms, Basics of Inclusive Design for Online Learning, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and more!

(Video) Professional development - nurturing the teacher as learner: Tai Basurto at TEDxWellsStreetED

Even exploring educational websites like Future Educators is a form of professional development! Every time you as an educator make a conscious effort to expand your knowledge about education, you are doing a huge service to your students.


What do you think is the purpose of the teachers professional development? ›

The purpose of professional development is to improve knowledge and skills in order to facilitate individual, school-wide, and district-wide improvements for the purpose of increasing student achievement. Educators face continuously increasing requirements from federal and state mandates.

How do you intend to grow professional As a future teacher? ›

This means the following.
  1. Set high expectations for student achievement.
  2. Use the most-recent educational technology.
  3. Plan instructional strategies.
  4. Apply higher-order thinking skills.
  5. Use cooperative learning.
  6. Apply classroom management techniques.
26 Oct 2015

What are the benefits of teacher developed professional development? ›

CPD has been shown to increase teacher motivation, confidence and commitment to teaching. Learning new skills and applying them in the classroom can lead to a more stimulating and effective teaching environment.

What is professional development and why is it important? ›

The purpose of professional development is to give professionals the opportunity to learn and apply new knowledge and skills that can help them in their job and further their career. Professional development is all about building your skill set and knowledge base for your field.

How do you prepare yourself as a future educator? ›

6 Ways to Professionally Prepare for Your Student Teaching...
  1. Consider your student teaching experience “a long-term job interview”. ...
  2. Build your teacher community of support. ...
  3. Develop your instructional practices. ...
  4. Explore your new school community. ...
  5. Build rapport with your students. ...
  6. Keep your sense of humor.

How can you improve your thinking skills as a future educator? ›

Build in opportunities for students to find connections in learning.
  1. Use analogies.
  2. Promote interaction among students.
  3. Ask open-ended questions.
  4. Allow reflection time.
  5. Use real-life problems.
  6. Allow for thinking practice.
2 Oct 2019

What is the impact of professional development on teacher effectiveness? ›

We found that professional developmentfocused on specific instructional practices increases teachers' use of those practices in the classroom. Furthermore, we found that specificfeatures, such as active learning opportunities, increase the effect of the professional development on teacher's instruction.

Why it is important for an educator to engage in continuous professional development? ›

CPD enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive – this is mediated by the incorporation of vocational, practical into academic qualifications. It's an important part of continually making personal improvements even after finishing formal education.

How can teacher professionalism improve learning quality? ›

How to Improve Teaching Quality and Effectivness
  1. Make your expectations clear.
  2. Make eye contact and address students by name.
  3. Supplement lectures with hands-on activities.
  4. Recognize students' accomplishments and respond appropriately to their concerns.
24 Mar 2021

What are some examples of professional development for teachers? ›

The top three types of teacher professional development are periodic workshops, in-class observation, and single-session seminars. By keeping a few general principles in mind, you can improve each type of teacher PD.

What are some good ideas for professional development? ›

Professional Development Examples
  • Continuing Education.
  • Participation in professional organizations.
  • Research.
  • Improve job performance.
  • Increased duties and responsibilities.
  • Approaches to professional development:
  • Skill Based Training.
  • Job Assignments.

Why is it important to continue your professional development? ›

Research shows CPD improves professionals' productivity, motivation, engagement and overall performance1. CPD can also provide appropriate qualifications leading to higher paying roles and salary earnings over a career.

How does professional development improve performance? ›

When employees are provided with the right training and development, they'll be given all the skills and knowledge they need to do their job well. As they learn new skills, procedures, and ways of working, when these are put into practice they'll have higher levels of efficiency.

What are your goals as future educator? ›

We as future teachers need to motivate students with learning, exploring, investigating, discovering and inquiring. Together you will be learning and teaching. As teachers, you need to be very organized and creative.

What specific things can you do to improve yourself as a future teacher to be more adept in the curriculum development process? ›

Below are 6 things teachers and educators can do to enhance their personal professional development practices...
  1. Focus on the Subject Matter and the Students' Learning. ...
  2. Try Something New. ...
  3. Make Use of Tutoring. ...
  4. Improve Your Performance. ...
  5. Don't Be Afraid of Taking Risks. ...
  6. Present Better Content.
1 Jul 2016

How can I improve my overall teaching skills? ›

Below are the eight ways you can advance your teaching skills:
  1. Embrace technology. ...
  2. Identify instructional objectives. ...
  3. Use co-operative learning. ...
  4. Ask about students' experience. ...
  5. Meet other teachers. ...
  6. Learn to handle unruly behaviours. ...
  7. Take courses. ...
  8. Use of portfolios.

Why is it so important for teachers or any professional to participate in any continuing professional education program? ›

CPD allows educators to remain competent, effective, and innovative when it comes to the skills and techniques they apply inside the classroom. The need for Continuing Professional Development for teachers is not just for themselves but for their students as well.

How can you grow professionally in the teaching profession? ›

Keys to Improving Teacher Professional Development
  1. Focus on Feedback and Reflection. To improve professional development for teachers, there must be clear focus on the groups attending and what their needs are. ...
  2. Model Best Practices. ...
  3. Set Relevant Goals. ...
  4. Make it Interactive.
10 Sept 2019

How can you continue to grow as a professional? ›

What to include in your professional growth plan
  1. Focus on long-term goals. ...
  2. Analyze job descriptions. ...
  3. Consider your personal expectations. ...
  4. Look for new opportunities yourself. ...
  5. Take on challenges when you have time to practice. ...
  6. Assess the training opportunities you have. ...
  7. Use what you are learning. ...
  8. Find a coach.
19 Sept 2022

How do teachers improve their professional skills? ›

Formal settings include conferences, courses, seminars, retreats and workshops. Informal opportunities for teacher professional development include independent research or investigation, peer learning initiatives or even just chatting with a colleague in the staff room.

How do teachers grow professionally and personally? ›

Getting organized, solving problems, engaging and caring about students are among the key life skills that teachers need in the profession. Because teachers' professional role can be affected by their personal-life factors, they need to develop certain life skills related to their personal life.

What professional knowledge and skills are needed to be an effective teacher? ›

They are prepared, set clear and fair expectations, have a positive attitude, are patient with students, and assess their teaching on a regular basis. They are able to adjust their teaching strategies to fit both the students and the material, recognizing that different students learn in different ways.

What are your professional development goals? ›

Professional development goals are objectives you can set for yourself to help further your career. These might include taking steps to learn relevant skills, expand your professional network, or find more satisfaction at work.

What are your opportunities to develop and improve? ›

Areas of improvement are skills, qualities or abilities that an employee could develop or enhance. Areas of improvement could include time management, delegation, organization, communication and engagement. Many of these skills and abilities are those that employees use daily at work.


1. Why Professional Development is Important for Teachers
(Heinemann Publishing)
2. AE Live 3.2: Designing and Leading Professional Development for Teachers
(American English)
3. Best & Worst Professional Development Workshops for Teachers, High School Teacher Vlog
(Laura Randazzo)
4. What It's Like For Teachers to Sit Through Professional Development Meetings
(Bored Teachers)
5. Best Motivational Speaker For TEACHERS | Professional Development | Jeremy Anderson
(Jeremy Anderson)
6. POWERFUL Motivation for Teachers | Professional Development | Jeremy Anderson
(Jeremy Anderson)

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