YOU are your own best professional development


Teaching | Thursday, October 31, 2013

YOU are your own best professional development

YOU are your own best professional development

Teaching resources. Ideas. Philosophies. Best practices. They’re all right there in front of you. So don’t wait for a school-sponsored PD session. Jump out there and start learning.

Thanks to Sanderling’s Connected Educator Month activities, I recently attempted to find my very first Twitter messages.

One of the first was something deep, like “Anyone wanna teach me how to use Twitter? #twitternewbie”, but one of my first retweets was a pretty good one.

sjunkins pd retweet

I’m often amazed at how often I hear this, too. Many teachers have this aversion to new technology and require an hour of group instruction in front of a computer before they’ll even consider a new tool, let alone think of a creative, engaging way to incorporate it.

School-provided professional development can give you some valuable skills. It gathers teachers together in the learning process.

But if you’re waiting for school-provided PD to answer your every question and guide you on the path of high-quality teaching, you’re waiting on the wrong thing.

Because YOU are your own best professional development.


YOU know your strengths and weakness best. YOU know what you need to capitalize on them.

YOU know your true vision of what you want to become.

YOU have felt the excitement when the light bulb appears above your students’ heads and they get it.

YOU. Not your school’s PD coordinator. YOU.

So take all of them: strengths, weaknesses, vision, excitement and more and run with it. Go do some learning.

[RELATED: Share! Creating without sharing is selfish]

Information, lessons, philosophies, ideas — all at the command of a basic Google search or request to your personal learning network.

There’s never been a time so many resources have been available, and tomorrow there will be more.

Let’s look at our students as great models for this, because they are personal learning gurus.

Imagine a teenager is playing Halo or Grand Theft Auto 5 and is stuck. He has played the same part of the game over and over again and has exhausted every idea for beating it.

Does he set the controller down and say, “Well, I give up. I guess I’ll never see the end of this game.”?

No. He heads to YouTube. Looks for a walk-through video.

Or he texts his friends who have played the game for ideas.

Or he Googles a discussion board about the game. (Honestly, he’s probably already a member of multiple discussion boards and doesn’t need a Google search to find them.)

One of the top search phrases on Google for Grand Theft Auto 5? “Grand Theft Auto 5 cheats.” There are things kids want to do on the game, and they’re using each other as a resource to do it.

Hmm … sounds like a good process, doesn’t it? Set a vision, find resources to help you realize your vision, and act.

So, where do we go from here? If there’s something we need to learn, we don’t wait for the next PD session at school.

We start digging. Searching. On Google. On Twitter. In blog posts. In education websites. In journals available online.

YOU can set the perfect course for your own improvement.

YOU have the power in your own hands.

YOU are the driving force.


YOU are your own best professional development.

How have you led your own professional development? What do you think of this idea or of today’s world of infinite resources? Leave your ideas in a comment below!

(For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links, “like” Ditch That Textbook on Facebook and follow @jmattmiller on Twitter!)


FREE teaching ideas and templates in your inbox every week!
Subscribe to Ditch That Textbook
Love this? Don’t forget to share
  • Chris Rogers says:

    Amen! Great post!

  • >