Our Top Summer Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Are you looking for professional development opportunities during summer break? Veteran teacher, Shannon, outlines different types of summer professional development that you will want to consider during your time off. She also supports you to consider your goals and provides helpful guiding questions so you pick the most meaningful option. .

Updated on: June 6, 2019

teacher professional development during summer


As summer vacation quickly approaches, you are probably looking forward to unstructured days and some much-needed rest and relaxation. But the summer break also means it's time for some professional development. Before committing to any existing professional development ideas, consider your goals:

  • Are you planning to improve your overall instruction by learning a new technique?
  • Do you want to network with fellow educators?
  • Do you have a specific goal, such as becoming an AP instructor?
  • Are you thinking about adding an endorsement to your certification or starting a master’s program?

If you haven’t already made plans, here some ideas to improve your skills and continue learning this summer.

Workshops, Conferences, and Seminars Workshops

Conferences, and seminars are what come to mind for many of us when we think of professional development. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to work in a district that offers PD seminars or workshops through the summer, which usually mean little or no cost to you. If you are seeking clock hours instead of credits, this can be a great way to go. You can usually earn several hours in a short time, only giving up one to five days of your summer. You will likely connect with teachers in your specific curriculum area, too, since topics are typically focused rather than general. Workshops, conferences, and seminars generally focus on current best practices and may include instructors or keynote speakers who are experts in the latest educational trends.

Online Courses

There are numerous online offerings for teachers these days. Rather than overextending yourself during the school year, why not take an online course over the summer when you have the extra time? One significant advantage of online courses is that you can often work at your own pace through the class. Then you will still have time for that planned getaway this summer. Some courses will have regular check-ins which you can still manage if you bring your laptop or tablet with you as you travel.

University Courses

If you live close to a university or college, you may be able to sign up for a summer session course. Summer sessions are usually shorter, which will leave you with some unscheduled weeks. Having lived near Seattle for most of my teaching years, I was able to take advantage of courses designed specifically for educators as well as undergrad classes, which allowed me to add a history endorsement partway through my career. My experience is that summer courses are a little more relaxed and leisurely. The campus is quieter, and the professors tend to be more accessible.


If you can't make it to the class, bring the course to you. Webinars can be a great way to gain new skills or learning, and all you need is an internet connection. With a quick online search, you will find several free webinars offered for teachers. Webinars are typically offered on a specific date at a particular time. Be sure to read carefully to determine the time zone of the webinar, so you don't miss out. 

Book Studies

Many school districts offer book studies throughout the school year but not during the summer. Why not arrange your own book study over the summer? You know there is at least one book on your shelf that you’re dying to dig into, but the experience will be more valuable if you share it with fellow educators. You can arrange an online forum to discuss the book or meet in person with colleagues. And be sure to check with your school or district’s administration to see if you can earn credit or clock hours.


Is money an issue? Do you want to participate as well as plan your professional development? Check out www.edcamp.org. Edcamps are facilitated for teachers by teachers, and there is never a charge to attend. The purpose is for teachers to empower each other by sharing in conversation. At Edcamps, teachers suggest topics and join in the discussions that best suit their needs. Edcamps are offered at various locations throughout the US.

Travel Opportunities

There are several travel-study opportunities for teachers. It may be too late to register for a program this summer, but why not do some research to make plans for next year? Many opportunities can be paid through a grant, fellowship, or school district funding. I spent four weeks refreshing my Spanish at the University of Salamanca in the summer of 2016, and my school district reimbursed my tuition. Traveling abroad not only gives you that hands-on cultural experience to share with your students but will also renew and rejuvenate you for the following school year.

What type of professional development do you plan to do this summer? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Shannon Krzyzewski is a veteran educator with over twenty-five years of experience teaching Spanish, English/Language Arts, and Social Studies at both the middle and high school levels in the Seattle area. She is now a freelance writer, editor, and educational consultant residing in Montana’s Flathead Valley.


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