3 Essential professional development opportunities to seek out at your next school
Over the past several decades, the education industry has witnessed tremendous professional growth and changes, and with that comes the added challenge for every teacher to stay on top of their own professional development.
As schools adopt new practices and methodologies, teachers must regularly update their knowledge to keep up with these changes. With this in mind, when prospecting new schools, teachers should look for essential professional development opportunities offered by a school.
Read on to learn more about why teachers should choose a school that offers professional development for teachers and the specific types of professional development opportunities teachers should seek in a prospective school.
Why choose a school with professional development for teachers?
Choosing a school that provides professional development opportunities for teachers encourages them to keep up with current industry standards, update their teaching techniques, and provide a more suitable learning experience for students.
Teachers receive the necessary training to improve essential skills such as organization, efficiency, communication and more. Through professional development opportunities, schools can support teachers in staying current and adjusting their approach for optimal learning outcomes.
Schools that encourage these opportunities are reinforcing an environment of continuous improvement through continuous learning. Teachers that participate in this environment are not only able to apply this ideology to their own aptitudes but also influence a lifelong love of learning in their students.
Finally, the knowledge and expertise achieved through these professional development opportunities and the willingness to learn and expand their skill set open doors for teachers to new leadership or growth opportunities.
Professional development options for teachers to look for in a prospective school
In keeping with the ISB mission, professional learning at ISB is founded on the premise that challenging and joyful learning for students begins with staff learning. To build on this foundation, it is essential that all ISB staff continuously learn and develop their capacity to serve our diverse students and their families. The needs of all students guide professional learning planning and the implementation of a program that reflects research-based best practices.
A collective commitment to an inclusive community
Does the school offer regular, structured learning opportunities for teachers and support staff? As educators, we can sometimes forget that our own minds need to be nurtured as well as our students’. Between supporting students daily and busy lives outside of school, teachers can sometimes lose track of the exciting and interesting professional development opportunities happening around them.
Schools that encourage teachers to develop professionally by providing them with structured opportunities help nurture teachers' talents and make them feel motivated to improve their craft.
A collective commitment to creating a caring and inclusive community is evident in the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) professional development provided to school principals, teachers, as well as all student-facing support staff. ISB partners with the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning (IFSEL) in building an experiential understanding of what SEL is and how it can be integrated into academic areas to facilitate powerful learning for all ISB students.
Strengthening our Child-Safeguarding policy and guidelines remains a priority. The ISB Child Protection Leadership Team (CPLT) continues its partnership with the Council of International Schools (CIS) as the main resource for assessing the effectiveness of our Child Protection practices and educating our community on prevention and response. The ISB CPLT leads training not just for employees but for everyone on campus with our students.
Lastly, to be able to lead more meaningful work in advancing initiatives around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), our DEI leader with other teachers and staff will engage in further DEI professional learning with the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the NESA Center.
Does the school invite experts to share their tips and tricks with teachers? Who has the school invited to speak? Who do they consider to be thought leaders? Guest speakers with appropriate industry knowledge can make for enriching workshop or discussion experiences.
Combined with professional learning for the purpose of curriculum development, ISB teachers with the leadership team engage in professional development to improve their teaching practice and develop a student learning-centered collaborative culture. ISB believes that the school’s leadership team is meant to empower teachers to explore the thinking behind their practice and collaborate with them in achieving student learning goals.
Professional development experiences previously offered at ISB include working with Thinking Collaborative on Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching training and working with Dianne Sweeney on Student-centered Coaching.
Prioritizing employee wellness and mental health
Does the school provide support services to new teachers? What kind of support is available to them should they need extra help? Education is an exciting, albeit a fast-paced sector. Without structured support systems in place for teachers, changes can become difficult to manage, or could result in unnecessary stress on teachers.
Learning how a school reacts and supports its teachers to get through these challenging periods, such as wellness and professional development opportunities, can help teachers determine if they’re making the right choice.
At ISB, we take pride in maintaining a culture of learning. We are a community of learners and support the ongoing learning of our faculty and staff by providing them with professional development opportunities throughout the school year.
The school dedicates an appropriate allocation of resources to support effective professional learning for all staff and as a community, we ensure that we recognize and celebrate the learning of students and staff alike. A Wellness allowance can be used on all manner of activities or opportunities including massage, gym memberships, new workout equipment, and more.
ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.