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Professional Development Courses

As a teacher, you never stop learning.

There will be lessons you totally nail, “ah-ha!” moments that you make possible, and a ton of cute thank you cards on your desk at the end of the year.

Most days, however, you’ll walk out of a lesson thinking about what went well and what you need to improve for next time. Because there is always something to improve.

And now more than ever are we finally accepting the reality that hybrid teaching is here to stay. Which could indicate it’s time to start brushing up on your digital skills.

So, to become the best teacher you can be, it only makes sense then that you’ll need to hit the books too. Lead by example, right? 

Luckily, there’s a host of online courses out there that can help you up-level your teaching skills. 

How can I learn as a teacher?

Always be curious.

As a new or experienced teacher, reflecting on your job and learning from it will quickly become a part of your everyday teaching practice. But what happens when you don’t have all the answers?

Why not put yourself in your student’s shoes and take regular classes? Except for you, these classes will be all about teaching.

Makes sense, right?

As well as adding new skills to your daily practices, taking a professional development course can enhance your CV, uncover new interests, boost your salary, and give your career some clear and helpful direction. 

If you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons why you should start adding more PD under your belt, plus a course that matches each scenario. 

Top four reasons to do a professional development course:

  1. You want to stay ahead of the curve.
  2. You want to focus on a specialization.
  3. You want to sharpen up your existing skills.
  4. You want to open the door to new teaching experiences.

Teacher doing a professional development course

You want to stay ahead of the curve.

Have you ever had a student sarcastically ask, “Am I actually going to use this in real life?” It happens to every teacher at some time or another! And sometimes the students do kind of have a point.

A great way to combat this is by bringing more of the real world into the classroom and incorporating skills your students will need in the future.

Top of the list at the moment is, of course, digital skills. Some experts believe that the new age of teaching has already begun and a blend of online and classroom teaching is going to be the new norm. 

Being on top of your game in this area as a teacher will make your lessons more engaging and give your students crucial knowledge on how to interact with technology outside of the classroom.

Why not try…

Columbia University’s Digital Learning for the K-8 classroom

Teach Away’s Effective Online Teaching Strategies Course

Incorporate digital tools into the classroom with confidence and refresh your understanding of digital literacy, so you can help your students gain their own knowledge of the digital landscape.

This program is online and self-paced, and the price is $395 USD.

Get more info here.

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You want to focus on a specialization.

If there is a particular area you are interested in or something your school struggles with, then take a course that gives you a deep dive into that area. Become a specialist in that field and help lift up your school!

As well as picking up practical tips that you can use in the classroom, becoming a specialist is a great way to give your career direction. Getting certified in your field will also highlight your skills to current and future employers and help you develop leadership skills as you become a source of expertise in your teaching community.

Why not try…

Disciplinary Literacy

Improve your ability to build students’ reading and writing skills in different disciplines and help them develop critical-thinking skills.

This online course can be studied at your own pace and costs $125 USD.

Get more info here.

New teaching experiences

You want to sharpen up your existing skills

Many teachers habitually self-reflect so they are fully aware of their own strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. Assessing your work honestly is a good practice to establish, but standing up in front of a class of expectant faces every day, fully aware of what you’re not doing well, can leave you feeling a little exposed!

Also, just because you know you’re not great at something doesn’t mean you know how to fix it. Taking a course in a skill you haven’t mastered yet can help to fast-track your learning and give you a nice little confidence boost through getting a certification along the way.

Why not try…

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Deepen your knowledge of intercultural communication and build up methods and strategies to successfully communicate with students and families from diverse cultural backgrounds.

This online course can be studied at your own pace and costs $49 USD.

Get more info here.

You want to open the door to new teaching experiences.

Teaching can introduce you to people and places you never expected, and lead to truly unique life experiences. Especially when you leave your own country to do it.

Getting a TEFL certificate quite literally opens up a world of professional opportunities, in that it qualifies you to teach English around the world!

Many TEFL teachers also use their skills to teach kids and adults that want to learn English in their local communities. Getting certified as an English teacher will increase your employability as well as give you crucial classroom communication skills so you can hit the ground running.

Why not try…

TEFL Certification from Teach Away

Get up to speed on the fundamentals of second language acquisition, lesson planning, structuring, and delivering lessons to ESL students.

The program is 100% online and prices start from $995 CAD.

Get more info here.

This sounds super interesting! But none of these courses interest me…

But wait, that’s not all! These are just a few of the professional development courses Teach Away offers. See the full list for more options.

One last question! I’m not a teacher right now. Can I become a teacher without a degree?

In the US, the requirements for becoming a teacher vary from state to state. Generally speaking, having a degree will certainly help you get a teaching position, but your state may have a career switcher program, or your professional experience may be considered equivalent to a degree in some cases.

Most of the courses listed above won’t automatically qualify you to become a teacher in the state school system. Instead, they will build up your knowledge of teaching and education strategies.

TEFL country comparison chart

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