Summer Professional Development Ideas for Teachers

Once again, summer has arrived. Time to kick back, enjoy some beach time, and (if you’re like most teachers) search for some meaningful professional development opportunities.

Summer Professional Development

Yes, we know it might not be your favorite activity, but professional development can help you refresh your skills and start the school year on the right note. It can also be an excellent opportunity to rack up some higher education credit, or a ceu (Continuing Education Unit).

Unfortunately, accessing quality professional development has become much more difficult since the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote learning sent us all into a tailspin, and professional development opportunities became scarce. 

While we have recovered to some extent, life still isn’t back to normal. Your school district may no longer offer that summer institute for professional development you could count on in the past. As a result, K-12 teachers need to be creative in seeking out new avenues for professional learning.

Here at TeacherVision, we’ve got your back. Here is everything you need to know about professional learning opportunities this summer.

What is the best professional development for teachers?

The best professional development is hard to define, but it should ultimately provide strategies and resources that you can use in your teaching practice right away. 

For example, have you checked out the TeacherVision blog

With more than three years’ worth of weekly or twice-weekly updates to choose from, you can easily find what you need to reach your learners immediately. 

Here is a selection of blog topics to bookmark and get you started:

"All educators can benefit from professional development activities, whether they teach preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school."

What are professional development activities for teachers?

Professional development activities are learning experiences for teachers. They boost teacher skills and expertise, which translates into better learner outcomes. They also allow a teacher to earn a ceu, which over time results in professional advancement.

Professional development opportunities can occur in a formal setting, such as a summer institute or conference at a local community college. Or they can be accessed more informally through webinars or other online learning experiences.

Professional development activities can cover a wide range of topics and skills. For example, you might use them to enhance your teaching of SEL (Social-Emotional Learning). Or you might take the time to plan for your own self-care during the school year.

All educators can benefit from professional development activities, whether they teach preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school.

What should teachers do over the summer?

The summer flies by. Even so, there is time to go on a long-awaited trip or to spend time relaxing with friends and family.

Still, the learners in your classroom this school year will thank you for spending extra time honing your skills. This task doesn’t have to be burdensome. There are many opportunities online. Maybe you could even take in a few webinars poolside.

This summer might be the best time to finally master differentiation in your first-grade classroom or an appropriate grade-level review for your incoming community college freshmen. 

Thanks to TeacherVision, it’s easy to take advantage of these opportunities and still have time to go on a hike or to put in some extra hours at your summer job.

What does summer PD mean?

Many of us remember a long-ago day when summer PD meant taking several full days out of our precious summer to sit in a classroom.

Part of the pandemic legacy is a fantastic array of options when it comes to summer PD. You can have any experience you want, whether it’s the synchronous experience of a class on Zoom, or a more convenient asynchronous activity, like reading a few articles or completing an online tutorial.

Speaking of online teaching, more teachers are providing their instruction online than ever. To meet that growing need, TeacherVision offers plenty of resources to support your online instructor or tutor skills.

What are the benefits of summer professional development?

The benefits of summer professional development can be summed up in two words: student outcomes.

The research is clear that quality instruction is one of the most significant factors in student success. 

Of course, professional development can also take place during the school year. However, engaging in professional development when school is in session can often feel like that old metaphor of building the plane and flying it at the same time.

Summer PD allows teachers to have a complete refresh and to start the school year with the same goals and strategies that they plan to end with. The result is a wonderful sense of consistency that your students (and you) will appreciate.

For example, if you want to develop a plan for teaching SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) this year, you can read our blog post 'How to Incorporate Social-Emotional Learning Into Your Curriculum' to point you in the right direction all year long.

What time of year is PD for teachers?

Traditionally, most school districts offer several “professional development days” throughout the school year. 

On these designated days, students have the day off from school, and the teachers come in to participate in district-approved professional development.

However, this approach can be problematic for several reasons. For one thing, students lose their momentum with these missed days of instruction. Student learning can feel disjointed with these interruptions.

Additionally, the learning opportunities provided by the district do not always meet the needs of everyone. For example, a middle school ELL teacher has very different needs from an elementary school teacher.

Fortunately, online resources like TeacherVision are a great alternative to this kind of “one-size-fits-all” professional development. For example, ELL teachers can find an array of resources just for them.

"The result from getting in your Summer PD is a wonderful sense of consistency that your students (and you) will appreciate."

What are the benefits of summer PD for teachers?

One of the greatest things about summer PD is that you are free to explore topics of interest to you. Are you planning a trip to the Grand Canyon? Online summer PD can go right along with you. Are you building your language skills by spending time abroad? Again, summer PD is the perfect accompaniment to your travels.

You are also free from the structure of the school day. That means you can engage in professional development first thing in the morning or even in the middle of the night. Want to brush up on creating better assessments? You can work on the Grading and Assessment Workbook for Teachers over morning coffee on the patio. Are you interested in trying your hand at some fun new technology? Take in Technology Tools to Integrate In Your Classroom over a campfire while your kids roast some S’mores.

Why is summer PD important to teachers?

Summer PD allows teachers to think clearly about the ups and downs of the past school year, to recalibrate and readjust. In the break between one school year and the next, teachers can consider what they already do well and what they need to do better to improve student learning outcomes. It gives them the distance they need to devise a successful plan.

For example, many teachers struggle with the organization of materials and routines. They might want to look at Six Routines For an Organized Classroom to avoid repeating the pitfalls of last year.

Others might wrestle with an appropriate work-life balance, coming home late every evening with stacks of papers to grade. They might appreciate Take Back Your Evenings to help ensure that this pattern doesn’t continue.

What are summer PD options for teachers?

With a TeacherVision membership, summer professional development for teachers will never be the same again - you can easily access everything you need for your summer PD this year.

The handy Professional Development Collection has been helpfully curated, so you can find whatever you need quickly. There are resources for elementary school teachers all the way up through higher education.

 

Blog post written by Amy Gardner, a World Languages teacher with 15 years of classroom experience teaching grades 6-12 French and Spanish.

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