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When Should an Educator Pursue Professional Development?

By The Room 241 Team February 5, 2013

Most educators are familiar with the power of motivation. For a student to perform well, he or she must have the proper motivation to learn. Obtaining an education is challenging and requires a significant amount of hard work. Without proper motivation, students can let a lot of things slip, and the quality of their education suffers accordingly.

Motivation can be difficult for any student, even one who is also a teacher. For many educators, pursuing professional development may be a job requirement. Unfortunately, educators are just as prone as their students to stumbling through their own schooling when they approach it without proper consideration.

For an educator, knowing when to pursue professional development is an important part of the process. A busy teaching career can make schooling a challenge. By stopping to consider when to pursue further education, teachers can ensure that they, too, have the motivation necessary to excel in their classes.

For growth

A desire for personal and professional growth is one of the best reasons to pursue further education. When an educator feels a yearning for further insight into his or her field, the choice to seek out professional development can seem an obvious one. Educators should use this desire for motivation in the pursuit of their education.

There are some questions being raised about how effective the pursuit of further education is in the improvement of teaching. In a Princeton-Brookings publication, study results indicated that not all further education added to teachers’ effectiveness. For educators with a desire for further growth, this is an important factor to consider. How well will a certain professional development path improve one’s abilities?

A personal desire for growth is a solid motivating factor for seeking out additional schooling, but educators should remain aware of their ultimate goal. When pursuing professional development, the primary purpose is to become a better educator. With so many education options available, it can be easy to get sidetracked in the pursuit of education goals that add little to one’s ability to teach. Educators can avoid this pitfall by staying focused on what is most important.

To meet job requirements

Professional development is a given for many in the field of education. At some point, almost every educator faces a job requirement of meeting certain professional development goals. This can also provide a sense of motivation for educators who are considering further education. It may not be as glamorous as pursuing education for growth, but it is every bit as real.

Teachers are often given some latitude in how they fulfill their professional development requirements, allowing for some self-direction. This can be a valuable moment for an educator facing mandatory requirements. As any educator should know, choice is a huge motivating factor for students. When pursuing further education, even mandatory, it can be helpful for educators to choose a way that motivates them. Results will be better and less time will be wasted.

To meet changing times

For some educators who have been teaching for a long time, opportunities for professional development may be necessary to adapt to changing times. While many of the core principles of education remain constant, not all do. There are also other things to consider, such as technological advancements that established educators may need help adapting to.

For established educators, professional development may seem like an infringement. Many feel they know what they are doing, and understand teaching in a way that comes only through experience. While this may be true, new educational opportunities can still prove quite rewarding. Even established teachers should remember that their ultimate goal is to provide a quality education. Professional development can only enhance that.

A matter of choice

Some educators may not have the opportunity to choose when they pursue professional development. For many, circumstances outside of their control dictate the requirements to them. But for any teacher facing such requirements, it can be useful to remember what makes for the best learning experience. By choosing, as much as possible, the path and motivation behind their professional development, educators can help ensure they have the best experience possible. This will benefit not only them, but the students they teach over the entirety of their careers.

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