11th December 2020
Choosing a career in teaching means choosing a lifetime of learning. From the moment you leave university until you are standing in your first classroom you’ll be learning how to become a teacher, the very basics of managing a class and planning lessons – but throughout your career, you’ll also need to seek out opportunities to expand your knowledge through continued professional development. Adding to your skills, specialisms or knowledge of teaching practises and strategies benefits not only your CV but every pupil that you go on to teach.
Continuous professional development means improving your qualifications and skills with additional training. Courses could be provided by your school, agency or outside organisations. You may chose to learn about new teaching methods and the research behind them, or develop your knowledge of a particular subject or specialism for professional development. Choose courses and CPD opportunities that reflect your career aspirations to maximise future opportunities.
Training during your career could take a number of different formats:
Once you have chosen which area of teaching to focus on, you’ll need to seek out relevant courses and opportunities. You can use a Professional Development Plan to lay our your career aspirations, it’s helpful to make sure you are on track to achieve your goals and can guide your choices when it comes to choosing training courses.
Whether you are teaching in Canada or in the UK, you’ll find a very wide range of free courses available online. Futurelearn is one organisation that provides free online courses for teachers continued professional development. Courses available include titles such as Creating an Inclusive Classroom: Approaches to Supporting Learners with SEND in Computing, Teaching Practical Science: Biology and Youth Mental Health: Helping Young People with Anxiety.
A number of large universities have fantastic online learning platforms offering free courses on a wide variety of subjects, such as Teaching Mental Health In Literacy at the University of British Columbia. The Open University has some highly-rated courses that are available worldwide – their ‘microcreditionals’ cover the very latest in research and practices in subjects around online teaching, mental health and technology in schools. Course fees vary and the qualification is accredited by the university and counts as postgraduate credit towards further study.
Developing your career doesn’t just mean studying academically. You’ll need to gain the experience to manage your own mental health and wellbeing as your career grows. CPD courses around mental health and wellbeing are beneficial on both a professional and personal level. Find a selection of free wellbeing courses online with Hays here.
If you do find yourself struggling with your mental health, reach out! Teaching can have stressful moments and your colleagues or mentor can often help you overcome stress if it’s being caused by elements of your work role. Only take on additional training if you have the time and mental energy – pushing yourself too hard will lead to burnout.
In the UK, all mainstream schools have 5 days per year dedicated to training in school. Teacher training days usually comprise of a mixture of school admin including discussing issues and school policies, team building and training. There may be a specific focus dependant on the school’s needs, such as SEN training sessions delivered by an outside specialist educator, or creating management strategies to tackle negative behaviour in classrooms. If planned correctly, these training days can be a valuable element of your continuous professional development, strengthening team bonds and sparking inspiration to take back into your classroom.
We hope this article has shown just some of the options available to teachers looking to further their knowledge and career by taking advantage of the exciting opportunities that continued learning brings and all the advantages this can give you in the teaching profession!
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