Competency 5: Engage in Professional Development
- Demonstrates the disposition for life-long learning and continuous professional development
Engaging in Professional Development is not something that I struggle with; rather it has become a daily expectation. My school district requires that each teacher obtain 12 hours of professional development per school year, and the Texas Education Agency requires that teachers complete 150 hours of professional development in order to renew a teacher’s certification certificate. There are many ways in which I complete these required learning hours.
I thoroughly enjoy attending virtual conferences and webinars related to Educational or Instructional Technology. I find these fun, and generally very informative. Discovery Education, for which I am a Discovery Education Network STAR Teacher, provides some wonderful “VirtCon’s,” on topics like Technology and Science. Some of my professional affiliations – TMEA, TCEA, TI:ME, ASTD – also provide webinars, local events, and annual conferences which I attend whenever possible.
In addition to attending professional development hours, I also provide them for other teachers in Instructional Technology subjects. In my duties as the Technology Liaison for my school to my district, I am required to provide 30 hours of professional development to the teachers of my school/district, though I typically provide more than the required amount per year.
One local Technology conference that I look forward to attending every year is the Region 4 (ESC4) Tech Apps Conference, hosted annually in October (this year’s conference will be happening on October 24th). The conference provides 5 hours of professional development credit, allowing each participant to choose 6 sessions that most completely fulfill their learning needs. All sessions are taught by teachers for teachers, and offer a non-threatening way to learn about the trends in Instructional Technology first-hand.
While these are all examples of professional development that I participate in, my attendance alone does not speak to my ongoing desire to learn as much as I possibly can. I have a deeply held aspiration to be the best in my field, or at least the best in my specialization. The only way that I can get there is to learn constantly, and I have no intentions of stopping now. In the past 8 years, I’ve attended 498 hours of PD, and taught an additional 183.5 hours, and counting. Nearly all of the hours, both in attending and providing Professional Development, are in Instructional Technology.