Teacher Professional Development: What Skills are Priorities Now?
By. Teresa Marchant
Professional development opportunities:
Teacher Professional development opportunities have drastically changed due to Covid and additional advancements in technology. These unforeseen changes have been challenging, not just for us as educators, but for students as well. Frequent instructional interruptions due to illness, quarantines, and school schedules will impact future learning and may result in additional behavioral problems in the classroom.
We need help to meet the diverse needs of our students and to help mitigate the damages caused by the pandemic. Interventions and online instruction will continue to be important topics for professional development. Specific interventions that would include how to use systems of academic and behavioral support are extremely relevant as we return to school this fall.
What are systems of support?
Having MTSS (multi-tiered systems of support) can help students academically and it can be used for behaviors as well. After learning how to identify students who need help either academically and behaviorally, teachers are then trained to offer support or interventions for their students ’needs.
We want real-life applications within your professional development opportunities. For example, something as simple as a “check-in check out” sheet you have created for us to use. This template allows their “buddy” or extra adult to spend a few minutes before and after school to reinforce positive behavior as well as it will help monitor behaviors. This extra person is then supported by the teacher as well as the student.
Additionally, students have experienced interruptions in their learning this past year and will need interventions to close their learning gaps. Professional development opportunities that focus on these types of interventions will continue to be needed beyond this current situation. We will know more once we begin assessments, view the data, and identify ways to best help our students achieve success.
Technology skills have proved vital for teachers and students. These skills helped to lessen the stress on teachers who knew how to use these products to engage students virtually. We have learned first hand of their importance. These tools have been and will continue to be an integral part of online instruction.
Teachers will also want these relevant topics on their schedules. During this past year, we have attended many professional development events virtually. We have learned that these can be just as effective. Also, keeping in mind various time schedules and recordings of these sessions are a great way to connect to additional teachers.
This upcoming year, we desperately want to help our students reach their full potential. Stakeholders need to develop exceptional and timely professional development offerings so we can achieve this goal together.