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October 12, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of Professional Development Days

3 cheers for PD days – precious time to build your teaching toolkit!

At Learners Edge, my team is full of professional development super fans. Granted, it’s our job – but we do consider ourselves lucky to actually believe in what we practice and preach. We’re also tuned-in to teaching enough to know that professional development (PD) opportunities are usually viewed from one of two lenses:

  1. Love it.
  2. Hate it.

PD is a necessary opportunity to focus on your instructional practice and consider new ideas for implementation. With the goal of supporting students and yourself, every educator has a million outcomes to meet!  It’s daunting, to say the least, but PD can be the key. So instead of preaching to the choir – I say we lift up the naysayers and the PD pessimists, to see if we can encourage a slight shift in mindset for the next round of required learning. Andin order to truly reach the intended audience, I’ll keep it short and sweet!  Here are some insights on how to make the most of your next PD Day!

  1. Break out the blue jeans and your favorite kicks – comfort makes all the difference.
  2. Bring laptop (only if you must), paper and pens (are best) – plan to take notes.
  3. Leave phone in your car or your purse  -keep digital distractions at bay.
  4. Treat yourself to a great cup of coffee or super-nutrient smoothie – something special for cheers to new learning ahead.
  5. Sit by peeps who love to listen; avoid side-chatters who like to lead their own conversations.
  6. Sit in the front – if you haven’t tried it, I dare you!
  7. Make eye contact, smile, and nod to the presenter – trust me, they need you to do this!
  8. Bring a small snack to share with your table-mates – all teachers love treats – it’s true, don’t deny!
  9. Before you show up for your session, think about two things – even better, do a quick pre-assessment:
    • What you already know about this PD topic
    • What you want to learn about this PD topic
  10. Be the kind of learner you hope to see sitting in your classroom – present and connected.
happy days ahead

This list might seem like pure common sense – and maybe that’s the point. It’s easy to prioritize all the other demands of teaching and turn PD into something you “have to do” vs. something you “want to do.”

Just in case you’re still not buying it – here are some more wise writings from other experts on the importance of professional development:

  • This article from Global Digital Citizen is worth a quick read. It connects personal development with professional development and suggests seven personal growth questions teachers should ask themselves.
  • This advice on why PD matters provides further perspective:

Good teaching is not an accident. While some teachers are more naturally gifted than others, all effective teaching is the result of study, reflection, practice, and hard work. A teacher can never know enough about how a student learns, what impedes the student’s learning, and how the teacher’s instruction can increase the student’s learning. Professional development is the only means for teachers to gain such knowledge. (pg. 18)

  • Another resource shares how to enhance personal growth and professional development as a priority for every teacher.

The truth is: teaching and learning are endlessly intertwined and there are plenty of professionals to trust and lean upon as we endeavor to do both!  Curriculum coaches, colleagues, and other PD providers (like Learners Edge!) strive to help you support all students.  Listen and look – ideas and inspiration are floating everywhere just waiting to land in your lap. All you need to do is pull up a chair!

For some great online PD, where you get to choose the topic, check out our Personalized Continuing Ed options!  Inspire yourself with content of your choice and earn valuable credit!


Learners Edge is passionately committed to providing you with continuing education coursework, materials, and tools that will help you succeed in your classroom and in your career.

Offering more than 100 print-based or online courses for teachers, you can earn the graduate credit you need for salary advancement and meet your professional development needs. Contact us today to get started!


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