A teacher’s education and career path is fairly static in New York. We get our bachelors and then either enter the classroom or go directly on to get a master’s degree. Teachers either have a professional certification (those who entered the profession after 2004) which requires them to receive 175 hours of PD. Those who have permanent certification are not required to take part in any PD. This is all that is specifically required by the State in a career where teacher must work until they have thirty years in the retirement system and are at least fifty-five years old to receive a full pension. That is a great many years to serve such an important role in shaping children’s lives with little to no PD required.
I fall into the category of having a permanent certification and stopping the learning process does not work for me. Thus, I have taken to creating my own PD.
I attend conferences and go to in-service classes through my local BOCES and teacher center but that still doesn’t feel like enough. I learn new things and gain new ideas but I feel like they just scratch the surface and don’t go into the detail that I need to really effect change in my classroom.
At this point, I feel like a dog chasing my tail. I have so many ideas and I don’t always know the best way to implement them. I just want to be the best teacher that I can be and do my best for my students.
What’s a girl to do?
My district’s Assistant Superintendent stated during our first Conference Day this fall that teachers must remember their moral purpose. My moral purpose is to provide the best possible education to my students to help them to become successful adults. So, I guess I’ll just keep searching and learning on my own because I cannot give up on my moral purpose and because my students deserve the very best.
A variation of this post can be found in my original article “Take your learning into your own hands: Create your own professional development” found here.