Do-It-Yourself Summer Professional Development

Monday, June 22, 2015 -- Scott Sterling

Summer is a huge opportunity for professional development. Dedicated teachers around the country will be spending their “free time” attending conferences, reading books, and doing anything else they can to grow as an educator. Your district or school probably offers quite a few activities, but here are some things you can undertake on your own.

Reading—a lot

The past few summers, we’ve published lists of the hottest education books to crack open for the summer. They can be as diverse as inspiring, political, or pedagogical books. Everyone has different tastes. You might not want to go deep into taxonomies when you’re sitting next to the pool. The common denominator is to keep your mind working and open to new ideas.

Wade deeper into new ideas

During the school year, you might spend your time on the Internet looking through Pinterest for cool classroom organization ideas, but when you come across something deeper—like an exploration of project-based or flipped learning—you simply don’t have time to give it consideration. Now, you have the time.

Go deeper into professional magazines and blogs, like THE Journal, Education Week, or (ahem) this one, and find something interesting to get more involved with. You don’t have to adopt any of the ideas next year, but at least, you’ll be more informed when things come up during your professional learning community (PLC). To save time, look into a Web bookmarking system like Evernote so that you can find these great articles more quickly.

Take a MOOC

In the past few years, the universe of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has rapidly grown. You can now learn about nearly anything you could possibly want to study—usually for free. You now have the time to learn a new language, study how to code, or get deeper into neuroscience. Consider anything that could pay dividends in your educational practice.

Start or expand your PLN

The teachers who you connect with online make up your personal learning network (PLN). The biggest social network for finding these people tends to be Twitter. The #edchat weekly chat is a popular place to hear some thought leadership. Read and follow some blogs. Join some groups on Google+ or LinkedIn. Just like in other businesses, networking is important in education. Summer is the perfect time for this because there are thousands of other teachers out there looking to do the same thing.

Interested in more than DIY professional development this summer? Edmentum offers a range of product training, school improvement consulting, and instructional and technical support services. Learn more about how Edmentum Services can partner with your school or district here.