Staying up to date on teaching strategies and techniques through advancement courses for teachers is an essential part of a teacher's career. Successful teachers know they must regularly adapt, particularly as the student body becomes more diverse and teaching methods become more sophisticated.
Online professional development courses offer educators a convenient and efficient way to earn the credits they need to maintain their teaching license. These courses also provide opportunities to expand the skills and knowledge they can apply in the classroom. Without sacrificing anything in quality, online courses give teachers more flexibility in their continuing education.
Teaching is among the most important jobs in our society. Staying current on the best practices for the classroom is critical. The typical teacher impacts the lives of 3,000 students over the course of a career, giving them far more impact on people’s lives than almost any other profession. It’s one reason why teaching has become one of the top five most respected careers in the country.
The Benefits of an Online Format
The biggest advantage of online formats for advancement courses for teachers is location independence. Professional development courses are available from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. That provides a great deal of flexibility to teachers balancing myriad responsibilities, said Candi Reimer, a subject matter expert in mathematics teaching & learning and social justice math.
Reimer teaches many courses in the Fresno Pacific University continuing education program.
“My online courses can be taken at one’s own pace, from anywhere in the world, with no meetings to attend,” Reimers said. “Students can access the course content on any electronic device, even after the course has been completed.”
She also noted that submitting assignments online is quick and convenient and that students can receive immediate, personal feedback on each assignment.
Other benefits of learning online include the following:
By taking courses online, teachers have a great deal of flexibility regarding when they focus on schoolwork and the pace for finishing a course. FPU designs its courses with busy teachers in mind, in some cases allowing as long as a year to complete all the work.
A Wide Variety of Courses
FPU offers hundreds of courses for teachers and partners with leaders in the education field. Teachers can also earn certificates by taking several related courses. Certificates are available in about a dozen different areas, including Classroom Technology, STEM Teach, Coaching For Excellence, Early Childhood Education and Social-Emotional Learning.
Applying Knowledge Immediately
With online learning, a teacher can learn a new educational approach in one week and apply it in the classroom the next week, allowing teachers to integrate a new teaching strategy into their classroom quickly.
Developing a Network
With online classes, teachers can connect with their peers from anywhere. “Another benefit of online professional development is gaining access to the greater community of educators,” said Reimer. “Students say that they enjoy connecting with other teachers as they share ideas from real classrooms across the country and beyond.”
Education Beyond Online Professional Development Courses
Part of the network that teachers build through online professional development courses includes connecting with FPU instructors and other educators from across the U.S. These valuable networks allow an opportunity to seek opinions and bounce ideas off instructors even after the course is completed.
Educators can also share success stories. Reimer said she is “always delighted” when she hears inspirational stories from students who have completed a course. For example, she said that one teacher who recently took her Mathematics for Social Justice course recalled to Reimer how she initially felt reluctant to bring topics of injustice into classroom teaching.
Reimer said her former student told her about an article she assigned in the FPU course. That article gave the student a new perspective, leading her to share it with teaching colleagues at her school.
“Why NOT discuss these issues with our students?” the teacher asked. “They are living their lives WITH some of these social justice issues EVERY DAY. They see it. Us not talking about it does not change the fact that they see these social justice issues."
Reimer said the teacher’s “willingness to wrestle with new ideas and understandings ended up generating school-wide interest in relevant, empowered mathematics learning. If I can support my students through such learning experiences, I consider online teaching meaningful indeed.”
Reimer said her primary role as a teacher of teachers is to be encouraging.
“Often, this means listening to and discussing creative ideas. Sometimes it means challenging teachers to think differently about their practices, and always it means cheering teachers on as they grow in their ability to support their students,” she said.
These advantages make the online format perfect for advancement courses for teachers. No matter where you live or teach, you can take advantage of what FPU professional development courses offer.