Teacher's Guide to Professional Development
Table of Contents

College or University Coursework

Public and private schools in most cases require their teachers to possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. While a Bachelor’s degree in Education will prepare you for running a classroom, a Master’s in Education will help you better understand your role as an educator. Depending on the level and subject matter, the master’s degree can provide additional skills for improved teaching, open the door to potentially higher pay, allow the teaching of a different group of students, or open the avenue of advancement in education, such as in administration.

Master’s in Education also gives you a look at the way that the administration system works, so you’ll see how choices are made and why. Along with a better grasp of the methods of teaching and the theories behind them, you’ll be able to tell which systems are most effective in the classroom and why. Master’s programs also often include education technology coursework, so you’ll likely come away with more tools to assist students at all levels.

Subject matter competence

A career in teaching can be both satisfying and challenging. Good teachers make positive impacts on young people on a daily basis. You may teach all subjects or specialize in one or two subjects. To teach in most specialties, a degree and state certification in that endorsement area is required. Typically, kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct one group of children in a broad range of subjects, including reading, science, and math. Teachers of middle school and high school students generally concentrate on one or two specialty subject areas, such as math or science. Within these broader areas, a teacher might instruct multiple courses. For example, a high school teacher specializing in the subject area of science might teach courses in chemistry, biology, and physics.

Effective Teaching Methods

Being an effective teacher is a challenge because every student is unique. Your classroom is a dynamic environment, bringing together students from different backgrounds with diverse abilities and personalities. However, by using a combination of teaching strategies you can address students’ different learning styles and academic capabilities and make your classroom an effective and motivational place for all students.

Engaging in regular professional development programs is a great way to enhance effective teaching in your classroom. With educational policies constantly changing it is extremely useful to take courses where you can gain and share inspiration with your peers.

Child abuse and violence prevention

Every year, the safety and well-being of nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S. In 2018 estimate of 4.3 million total referrals alleging abuse and neglect involving approximately 7.8 million children, 1,770 children died from abuse and neglect. [U.S. Department of Health & Human Services report]. The role of teachers in preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect is crucial. Most states require all teachers who are seeking initial or permanent state certification to take a workshop on this topic. A teacher has to learn how to recognize and report suspicion of child abuse. Futhermore, with the knowledge about domestic violence, bullying, human trafficking, sexual abuse teachers can provide safe envorement for every child. Bullying in schools is a systemic problem that affects all school districts. Reports show that 1 in 5 students have been bullied in school during the school year. [National Center for Educational Statistics]. Bullying can be destructive but also subtle enough that teachers are not aware of it. Bullying can lead to long-lasting psychological and emotional problems, students dropout, and even suicide. It is crucial for teachers to recognize the signs of bullying and oppose it. Students need school to be a positive environment where they feel safe. This reduces their own stress and potential aggression, allowing them to focus on the education necessary for them to be successful in their lives.

Domestic Violence

Every school is likely to have children affected by domestic violence. Teachers are well placed to play an essential role in identifying and responding to domestic violence since they have contact with children more than any other service. Children who have been exposed to domestic violence sometimes experience serious problems at school as a result. Schools are vital partners in domestic violence response, uniquely positioned to spread prevention messages and to sensitively intervene to support students. Even if teachers may not be able to stop domestic violence, they can make an extensive difference to children’s lives. To be able to help students, teachers have to learn more about how to identify victims of domestic violence, how to talk to kids living in an insecure environment and what to do to help.

Physical and Mental Health

Good mental health is critical to a student’s success in school and life. Students who receive social–emotional and mental health support achieve better academically. Students spend a lot of time in school and it is one of the best places for both educators and students to become increasingly aware of mental health, mental health problems and mental disorders. Teachers should be part of the circle of care that surrounds a student in need. This requires input from teachers and the sharing of necessary information. Learning about suicide prevention, drug abuses or students dropout prevention will help teachers better understand and support their students. Implementing positive behavior intervention strategies in class will help educators experience greater success and have a stronger impact on student achievement.

Suicide prevention

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the US. Suicide rate curve increase in 56-percent in less than two decades [National Center for Health Statistics’ (NCHS) Data Brief, Number 352, October 2019]. K-12 school districts are optimal settings to implement suicide prevention training. The key question here is: How well does a teacher understand what behavior in youth signals suicidal risk, and is a teacher well-positioned to help? Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs. Teachers are in a prime position to notice when a student is acting out of character or if academic performance drastically changes. Many states are now required to participate in this type of training which will equip you to feel more prepared and confident to talk with your students about mental health.

Students dropout prevention

Chronically absent students and dropouts are serious challenges for the educational system in the USA. Over 7 million students missed 15 or more days of school, that’s about 1 in 6 students [Department of Education]. At the same time, high school graduation is a distinct marker of success in education and a high school diploma is a necessary pass to the next level of training and education. Young people who do not graduate high school are less likely to be employed, earn less income, have worse health and lower life expectancy, and are more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system and require social services. If a teacher is equipped with the knowledge of how to support a student who is struggling or planning to drop out, the teacher can prevent the student from leaving.

Multicultural Education

Multicultural education pursues equal educational opportunities for every student, regardless of racial, ethnic, or social-class groups. The significance of multicultural education is that it gives individuals the opportunity to examine their own social and cultural biases, break down those biases, and change their perspective within their own setting. To achieve this teachers need to create equal educational opportunities for all students by changing the school environment on the way that it reflects the diverse classrooms. Multicultural education is essential to improving the academic success of students of color and promoting for all students ideas of equal, justice and pluralistic society.

Technology

Technology is a powerful tool that can support and transform education in many ways, from making it easier for teachers to create instructional materials to making a classroom for students more interesting and exciting places. The effective use of digital learning tools in classrooms can increase student engagement, help teachers improve their lesson plans, and facilitate personalized learning. It also helps students build essential 21st-century skills and succeed in the careers of the future.

Teachers can leverage technology to achieve new levels of productivity, implement useful digital tools to expand learning opportunities for students, and increase student support and engagement. Teachers need to learn realistic ways to integrate technology into their classroom that will enhance their basic educational objectives, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles, and more. Discover all the different types of technology to benefit all types of learners (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic).

Students with Special Needs

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), enacted in 1975, mandates that children and youth ages 3–21 with disabilities be provided a free and appropriate public school education. 1 in 5 children in the U.S. have learning and thinking differences like dyslexia and ADHD. In the school year 2018–19, the number of students who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.1 million (National Center for Education Statistics). At the same time students with learning disabilities (LD) dropout of high school at nearly three times the rate of all students. 57 percent cited disliking school or having poor relationships with teachers or peers. There are many ways to help kids who learn and think differently thrive in school and in life. At the same time only 30 percent of general educators feel strongly that they can successfully teach kids with LD. More training and resources are needed to help diverse learners thrive in general education classrooms. There are many ways to help kids who learn and think differently thrive in school and in life.

Students with reading comprehension problems

For students who have trouble reading, it’s hard enough to just get the words right. But to pair those words with their meaning is a seemingly insurmountable task. If a teacher can identify this issue and learn how to chunk information, students can understand what they’re reading and fall in love with texts.

Students with written expression problems

Writing poses quite a few challenges for students with LDs – some may have trouble holding their pencils, and others find it difficult to communicate. If teachers learn strategies that bring writing to life for students who often don’t even realize all the neat things they have to say, that will make a big difference for students and help to thrive in school and in life.

Managing student behavior

Every student has had days when going to school was a drag. Students with LDs are no different. Because school forces them to tackle big challenges head on, it’s often their least favorite thing to do. This can lead to behavior problems that teachers will have to defuse creatively. If a teacher knows how to model behavior and what proactive actions a teacher can take to prevent behavior problems, it will help both sides – teacher and student with LD communicate better and improve relationships.