Perfecting your craft as an educator is an ongoing part of the teaching profession. This involves on the job experience in the classroom as well as supplemental courses and training. Earning a clear teaching credential usually includes additional coursework to augment the preliminary certification granted at the college or university level. After you secure your first regular teaching position, you are expected to keep up with the rigors of the job by enrolling in workshops and classes in order to improve your knowledge and performance.
Most of this continuing education will take the form of campus or district in-services on new technology, educational theory and practice, guest consultants, or training in new skills and procedures. Whether you are working with college prep kids, honors students, English learners, special needs children, or all of the above, you will need to stay current with the latest trends in meeting the needs of the young people you have in class. Your school and district will let you know of the requirements and opportunities presented to you as an employee.
Beyond your school, however, lie many other venues for continuing education. If you do not already possess an advanced degree, returning to graduate school will bolster both your confidence and competence. Most districts also place you higher on the salary scale when you earn additional credits or diplomas. Check your district’s compensation guidelines and remember to submit the proper paperwork and certifications to your district office.
Secondary level social science teachers are wise to pursue a Master’s degree in their chosen field. Graduate level work in history, psychology, sociology, political science, ethnic studies, women’s studies, regional or cultural studies, philosophy, religious studies, anthropology, archaeology, geography, economics, public policy, museum curation, or even business will strengthen your curriculum and your standing with your district, administrators, colleagues, students, and their families. Choose the program that best answers your needs and inspires your passion as a teacher.
You may also choose to earn a Master’s degree in the field of education. Most colleges that offer teacher credential programs also have these kinds of programs specially designed for teachers. This kind of training will help you in curriculum design, dealing with classroom management and discipline issues, interacting with students and their families, and helping those with special needs. If you are eventually interested in working as a school administrator, a Master’s or doctoral degree in education might be the best way to go.
Special weekend events are offered all year to add specialized training to the arsenal of teaching skills. I attended a CUE (Computer-Using Educators) Conference in Palm Springs, California in the spring of 2010 with my colleagues in the Digital Arts and Humanities Program and garnered many new ideas for multimedia and interdisciplinary learning. I also participated in many other staff retreats and seminars over the years that were held off campus and provided an entire weekend to build teamwork and competency in new areas. Take advantage of all these events and attend as many as you can.
Reading is another important part of continuing education. Visit the education section of your local bookstore or online sellers. Follow educational sites on social media and subscribe to teaching periodicals. Sign up for training in the latest software for use in schools. Ask your colleagues for help with new technology and ideas. Spend time visiting and observing other teachers at your school. Be an early adopter of new grading programs. Try to move away from paper and embrace digital classrooms and curricula.
Whatever you do, stay current in your craft. The world of technology changes at an astronomical rate, and your students will have the latest gadgets and programs. Keep up with them as best you can. Incorporate software programs into your teaching. Read the latest books on teaching. Follow the advice and guidance of your administrators. Seek out your colleagues in other departments as well as your own who know more.
As in the business world, international diplomacy, and the garden in your own yard, whatever does not grow will wither. Do what you can to grow as a teacher. Both you and your students will benefit from your efforts.
Copyright (c) 2019 Torin Finney. All rights reserved.
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