Continuing education (CE) can seem like an extra burden for busy teachers. But the return on investing the time and effort can prove significant.
Good teachers become great teachers when they improve their skills and expand their knowledge through CE. It’s such an important aspect of a teacher’s career that many school districts require teachers to take CE courses.
But even if your district doesn’t have this requirement, it’s still worthwhile. Fortunately, it’s more convenient than ever to do so by enrolling in an online CE course.
Some of the benefits include the following.
Continuing Education Improves Your Skills
There are a vast number of continuing education and independent study courses for teachers, no matter what subject they teach. In addition to subject-specific classes, CE courses also focus on areas that are universal for all teachers.
Rapid advances and innovation in technology have opened many different possibilities for integrating technology into the classroom. Because the landscape has changed so quickly, many teachers did not learn these skills when they were in school. Finding ways to integrate technology into the classroom - and teach students how to put it to use - is a critical skill for today’s teachers.
The best teachers have all the qualities of good leadership. Many continuing education courses focus on these skills and how to translate them into reaching students.
Communication. An ability to clearly communicate information and expectations to students, as well as good listening skills are critical to any educator in a leadership role.
Problem-solving. As any teacher will tell you, every day presents new challenges and problems to solve. Dealing with hard-to-teach students, new administrative policies and tight budgets all can put roadblocks in the way of creating the best-possible classroom.
Vision. Having the latest information about their subject can help teachers develop a better vision for the direction and curriculum of their class.
Passion. It’s impossible to quantify “passion.” But it’s what leads many teachers to become a teacher in the first place. Returning to class themselves for CE can rekindle passion for their job, something that can get lost in the day-to-day routine of teaching.
It Benefits Your Students
Taking CE courses simply makes a teacher better at their job. This often proves especially true in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). As noted above, technology is changing and impacting people’s lives at a blistering pace. Workplaces and job opportunities also have changed, and students need preparation for making their way in the 21st century.
That includes adapting to changing cultures, innovative technology, working collaboratively, having an entrepreneurial mindset, taking initiative on their own and critical thinking skills.
Continuing education courses and professional development can help teachers impart this knowledge to students.
The potential benefits in salary for teachers is also hard to quantify. Much depends on the individual school district. In some districts, credits earned in CE can be applied toward requests for salary increases or tied to bonuses for professional development.
However, in most cases it simply makes a teacher more marketable if they wish to relocate to a state or school district with higher pay. California currently ranks fourth of all states with a median salary of $77,390 for teachers as of May 2017. Alaska ($85,420), New York ($83,360), and Connecticut ($78,810) rank higher. The most teaching jobs are in Texas, California, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Continuing education and professional development provides teachers the opportunity to improve their skills, deepen their knowledge and develop innovative approaches to teaching students. With the online programs now available, it’s never been more convenient to get the benefits of CE.