The conventional thought is that teachers work hard during the school year and once the kiddos leave the building on that last day of school, their work is done. This could not be further from the truth. If you are an educator, you know that your professional development hours continue into the summer months, and with good reason.
You can choose what you learn.
Frequently during the school year, there are workshops that can help teachers think more in-depth about the topics covered within their curriculum. But when these workshops fall on a busy school day, teachers either have to leave their students with subs or stay long after their work day should be over. Being asked to leave a class and sit through district-directed professional development sessions can cause frustration, leaving educators detached and unengaged.
During the summer, however, there’s way less stress to deal with. Teachers usually have the liberty to choose the day they would like to attend a workshop and also the content they would like to learn. This type of autonomy puts educators on a much more positive route to implementing what is learned in a session. And more emphasis can be placed on the topics being discussed rather than the inconvenience and disruption of scheduling professional development around class time.
Your opportunities to collaborate expand.
Often, the pool of educators taking part in professional development is much larger in sessions held during the summer. And these sessions may include not only the people from your school, but also those from across the district who feel just as passionate about a topic. This can be a forum to start fresh and think outside the box with like-minded individuals who also understand your struggles and frustrations. Sharing with others from different locations gives participants a new perspective on the problems at hand. It is also a great way to embrace creativity and try new ideas proven to be successful by peers in similar classroom settings.
You have time to digest and plan.
One of the biggest concerns that gets voiced over and over again is that there is just not enough time to plan a proper implementation for the new programs or activities learned within a professional development setting. Subsequently, district expectations to immediately begin instruction with this new knowledge leaves teachers feeling as though they may fail in their delivery to students. Spending time in professional development sessions during the summer can curb this fear of failure by giving teachers adequate time to take in what was learned. Teachers can then think it over and apply specific, individual teaching strategies, while planning implementation carefully and methodically for the upcoming school year.