Summer Professional Development for Teacher
The summer has just begun issuing a well-deserved time for educators to relax, rejuvenate, celebrate, and learn! You read that right. That last word in the first sentence wasn’t a typo. The summer is a busy season for educator professional development. This reality counters conventional wisdom that frames teaching as less than a year-round profession. Unfortunately, most professional development experiences are done off contract hours meaning they are often unpaid or lowly paid events. On the flip side, the experiences available to educators who seek them out are increasingly more dynamic, impactful, interesting, and fun when compared to previous iterations.
The disparities of opportunities available to educators from their local districts provide an amazing opportunity for organizations of all types – for-profit, non-profit, state, international, etc. In fact, due to this reality, summer professional development opportunities provide ideal circumstances for your company to make an impact. For example, summer experiences typically attract action-oriented professionals who want to make a difference and become better in their field. Additionally, the well-known time constraints associated with the school day and year are no longer in place. You can create deep, sustained events unencumbered by an educator’s schedule. Lastly, summer experiences are often inter-district experiences. In short, by hosting or participating in one (or more) professional development events you are interacting with people from multiple districts you could work with in the future.
If you are entertaining the thought of being involved in professional development this summer, at least one question still remains; “what type of experience do we want to be a part of or create?” To help spark the discussion around that question, I have provided a list of options with short descriptions for you to consider and bring up at your next team meeting.
· Webinar Series:
I receive a number of webinar opportunities each week. Many look great and I attend live or get the recordings. It is that second part that is key… I don’t always get them. Webinars aren’t new, but it is rare that an organization uses the recording email as another opportunity to connect or promote its brand.
· Social Media Spotlights:
Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc. can all be used to promote an event, product, or service, but you can also use these platforms to showcase a practice, model, framework, etc. which educators can then link to and register for.
· Summer Conferences:
Most likely, these already exist. What you can do is reach out to those conferences and be a partner to promote your work. Consider sponsoring a segment of the event, lunch, or happy hour.
· Back to School In-Service:
It is never too early to think about the next school year and officially these are still during the summer. Reach out to districts to see if you can provide a training session, breakout event, or panel discussion about teaching and learning. You can then leverage that experience to tailor your services to the culture and goals of that district.
I feel compelled to say that even if you are reading this after the 22-23 school year has ended, it isn’t too late to organize a summer professional development experience. There is still time to utilize the summer season as a launching pad for your service or product. Educators are available. How will you connect with them and make your summer professional development one they can’t wait to share with their colleagues?
Written by: Craig Perrier
Educational Thought Leader and Practitioner
Craig is the High School Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, VA. He also is an online adjunct professor of education for Framingham State University and the teacher certification program, Educate VA. Previously, he taught at American Schools in Brazil for six years and for six years in public schools in Massachusetts.
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