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Summer Professional Development Without Conferences and Meetings

Summer Professional Development Without Conferences and Meetings

Summer break is a time for relaxation, but teachers still want to keep their minds active, grow their practice, and return to school a better educator than when they left at the end of the school year. That being said, not everyone can travel to expensive conferences or spend extra time at workshops.

Here are a few ideas for summer professional development (PD) that can be done at home, on the beach, or anywhere.

Consider outside-the-box ideas

During the school year, when you hear about some cool new idea for your classroom, you probably don’t have time to fully research it, much less implement it. Now that it’s summer break, you have plenty of leisure time—or, at least more time than during the school year.

Maybe it’s time to rethink your approach to grading or homework, and you’d like to dig into some literature on flipping the classroom or competency-based learning. Perhaps you’re due to have more ELL students or those with varying exceptionalities, and you need some new intervention and differentiation strategies. Or, you’re simply bored and want to learn. Whatever the case, now is the time to transform your methods.

Expand your PLN

Just because you didn’t go to an education conference this year doesn’t mean that you can’t hear from and meet inspiring educators from around the world. You can start with your personal learning network (PLN) and then reach out further.

First, check out the wealth of Twitter chats out there for teachers. Here’s a list from ISTE, and new chats are being established all the time. You can also participate in some groups on LinkedIn, or check out Edmentum’s Educator Network. Or, just spend an hour on Instagram or Pinterest—you’ll find plenty of ideas, resources, and materials no matter what grade or subject you teach.

Take a MOOC

A massive open online course (MOOC) is a great way to learn from home. The offerings, which used to be more collegiate in nature, are growing to encompass all sorts of professions—including teaching. There are simply too many to cover here, so if you’re interested, consult this list from MOOC List.

Read—then read some more

Teachers often don’t have the time to read for themselves during the school year (though is there ever really enough time for reading?). There is a wealth of books that discuss education and PD, including some that go deep into trending topics. Reading is both a stress reliever and a mind expander, even with books and magazines that have nothing at all to do with education. Fit as much of it into the summer as you can.

Professional development is important, but remember to take some time for rest and relaxation this summer too! After all, you’ve earned it!

This post was originally published June 2016 and has been updated.