50 Professional Development Ideas For The New YearThere is never a better time than “NOW” to start working on one’s own professionaldevelopment as a teacher. However, often unless by chance you find yourself in theperfect school with perfect colleagues – it is hard to get started and you’ll find yourself ina rut teaching the same thing in the same way (or different things in the same way), overand over.Here’s a list that will certainly contain something to “prime the pump” and get youstarted developing more as an educator. Not all will be for you – but many will. Findwhat will work for you.……………………………………………..1. Take the Basic TEFL Certificate Course. This course reviews all the main aspectsof teaching English AND it is free. Based on the Shaping The Way We Teachinstructional video series, you watch the video lessons and complete the quizzes. Lots ofadditional readings but they aren’t required. Go here.2. Look at things differently. Sometimes it is the key to making change. Try standingon your desk and thinking about your class. What can you change that will make adifference? Also try some quotes to get your mind Go here.3. Try some twitter chat. Twitter chats are offered once or twice a week and you canparticipate by sharing your thoughts in 140 characters or less. #eltchat #educhat are twolarge ones but there are lots of local twitter chats. Go here for a full list.4. Try some real teacher talk. Find a colleague or teacher working in a similarposition as yourself. Schedule a weekly coffee/chat session to share ideas and just getsome valuable perspective.5. Keep a reflective journal It is as simple as stapling some paper together and eachday / week, recording your thoughts about what’s happening in your teaching life. Getinspired with my own Zen And The Act Of Teaching journal. Go here.6. Browse the British Council Teachers. A place full of readings, videos and links tohelp the English language teacher develop. Follow their FB page too. . Go here.7. Look at your calendar and schedule to attend some conferences. Make thedecision to “get out there” and see what is new in the world of teaching. Always some
conferences that are close or take in a conference that is far away and also have awonderful “working” vacation. Go here.8. Get inspired by some stories about teaching. Stories can be powerful sources ofinspiration and nourishment. Go here.9. View / Review some teacher training presentations. Here are my own specific toELT but there are many more on the internet. Also search Prezi or Slideshare foreducational presentations shared by teachers. Go here.10. Decide to learn more about using educational technology . It is an essential skillthese days. The ELT and Tech tutorials and links will get you started. Nik Peachey offersgreat tips and reviews. Also these bookmarks. Go here.11. Browze the A-Z of ELT blog. A powerful resource of posts by Scott Thornburyabout teaching and language. Read the comments, the gold is there. Go here.12. Do some action research. Set a simple goal for yourself in the classroom. Think ofyour teaching and classroom as an experiment you monitor and control. Be brave andalso share your findings! Go here.13. Learn about the reflective teaching practices. A powerful component ofprofessional development is the notion of “the reflective cycle”. This presentationhighlights this. Go here.14. Brush up on your grammar. Yep, can’t be avoided and you can always knowmore. It is a valuable knowledge base for a teacher. Go here.15. Join in the discussion on ELT Professionals LinkedIn. Hundreds of discussionposts daily on teaching English. Try the megalist of past topics. Go here.16. Take some quizzes. Find out what kind of teacher you are. There are many quizzesonline to help you “self” discover. Try – What kind of teacher are you? My classroommanagement style. Go here.17. Check out TED talk videos regularly. Very inspiring talks about education. Newones weekly. Try the random HD player I made or view the EnglishCentral TEDChannel. Go here.18. Chart how you’ve progressed as a teacher. Ask yourself, “What do I know nowthat I didn’t know then? Make a list of these things, see visibly how you’ve developedand then think of where you might head. It is powerful. Go here.
19. Go Facebook. So many great groups and pages that can add to your knowledge base.Make friends with fellow teachers and follow some wonderful pages. Start here20. Hold a PD Day at your school. Set aside a half day or a few hours and have eachteacher share a lesson idea. It will help your work environment and create lots of positivevibes among teachers.21. Brush up on Classroom Management. Listen to an authentic story read by acelebrity. Really helps students to listen to this kind of authentic narrative drivenlanguage. Go here.22. Follow some Youtube professional development channels. So many schools,organizations and teachers offer wonderful videos online to help you learn about teachingEnglish. OUP, MacMillan, TEFL Videos to name a few. Go here.23. Attend free online conferences and webinars. Nowadays, you don’t have to travelto conferences, just use your browser! iTDI, eConsultancy, Teacher Talk, WizIQ to namea few.24. Make your own personal and professional webpage. Get your resume up onLinkedIn and network there but also think about promoting yourself with your ownwebpage. So easy to do online with some splendid tools. Go here.25. Start following some great ELT Blogs. Check out the blogroll of any ELT blog.Here’s a nice list with the Random ELT Blog generator to start. Go here.26. Join the Teaching Village. This collective blog started by Barb Sakamoto iswonderful and a wealth of knowledge. Join and share an article! Go here.27. Brush up on your knowledge of educational leaders. So many thought leaderswith profound knowledge about teaching and education. Also get inspired by interviewswith ELT teachers and leaders. Go here.28. Study and learn the IPA Pronunciation is a crucial skill set that teachers ofEnglish should know. . Go here.29. Interview yourself. Whohub offers a great tool for educators to interviewthemselves and share their own thoughts about teaching. My example here. Start here.30. Join The School Of TEFL community. This site started out as my owncommunity to share with my colleagues. We taught there and shared. Now, it has
blossomed and contains a lot of valuable resources and ideas. A short sign up is all thatyou need to do (to keep out spammers). All is free. Go here.31. Start blogging. Blogging is a great way to meet like minded teachers, build yourPLN (Personal Learning Network) and reflect upon what happens in and out of theclassroom. Post and blog on EFL Classroom 2.0 – it’s easy. Edublogs is a great serviceto use (and also create student blogs there). Also, microblogging platforms like Posterousor Tumblr. Go here.32. Larry Ferlazzo’s Best List. Larry Ferlazzo is the crown jewel of “teacher sharers”So much on his site, always updated. Browse now! Go here.33. Join A Professional Organization. There are so many local organizations andprofessional bodies that can provide you with valuable networking and information. Gohere.34. Share your stuff online. There are so many social networking places to share yourown lesson ideas and materials. Teachers who do so and get valuable feedback reallydevelop into strong teachers. Here’s my own take on this – We Keep What We Give.35. Start thinking about your career and the long term. So many teachers operateday by day and month by month. Start thinking and planning about where you will be in2 years, 5 years, 20 years. Make a plan and start the process of deciding what you haveto do to get there.36. Learn the jargon. Every discipline has its own “lingo”, ELT is no different. Learnto “talk the walk”. Study a glossary or learn some acronyms - Go here.37, Reach out to somebody. Learn to not put so much on your own shoulders. Findsomeone you can talk to at school. Don’t keep things in and bottled up. Keep open allyour lines of communication.38. Do some reading. There are so many books one might choose to read and gainknowledge from. I’ll offer my own The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Teacher:Selected Writings. Go here for a great recommended list.39. Spend more time on your non teaching self. The key to good teaching is howwisely you recharge your batteries and take time for your own self outside of teaching.These tips will get you on the right track - Go here.40. Find out the top websites for teaching. A quick way to get many of the bestwebsites for teaching English. Go here. Also the #1 in ELT series. Go here.
41. Ask students what they want. The key to a great classroom is a proper andongoing needs analysis. Negotiate the classroom with students. You’ll learn so muchfrom them! When one teaches, two learn”. Go here.42. Learn about using video in the classroom. Video is the new text. Find out moreabout “Extensive Watching” and how to use video in the classroom with this guide. Gohere.43. Visit Colorin Colorado. A great professional development site focused on ESLand ELLs. A wealth of knowledge. Go here.44. Videotape yourself teaching. This is an excellent way to get some valuableknowledge about your own teaching microskills. Simply set up a camera at the back ofthe class and start there. Or just use an audio recorder (your cell phone will work).45. Write an article about teaching. There are plenty of websites and journals whowould welcome your contribution, either locally or internationally. Why not share withothers and get some valuable credits for your resume?46. Electronic Village Online - EVO. Participate in this teacher driven organizationwhich shares a wealth of knowledge. You too can become a “webhead”. Go here.47. Google hangout with other teachers. Find some teacher friends and start yourown weekly hangout. It is so simple nowadays. Or view some Hangouts On Air. Go here.48. Get peer feedback. Can be informal or formal, key is to share your classroom witha colleague you value and trust. Just let them come in the classroom and talk about itafterwards.49. Drink More Water. Your voice is your most valuable tool, take care of it. So manyteachers end up with chronic problems. Go here.50. Love Thyself and To Thy Own Self Be True. Key to any professionaldevelopment as a teacher is to forgive yourself, the classes that didn’t work, the bad days.Keep positive and it will all work out!