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Why Professional Development Matters

Published: February 11, 2019

It’s never too early in your career to think about professional development. Investing in yourself as an educator is the best way to ensure both career growth and academic growth for your students. Even though it can take up precious time, here are a few reasons why professional development matters:

It sets you up for success

In your first year of teaching there are bound to be some bumps along the way. However, with the help of professional development courses, you can be more prepared and ready to tackle challenges that the first year or two may throw at you. Taking part in professional development courses will expand your skill set and build up your “teacher toolkit” so you have everything you need to start your career off strong.

It expands your knowledge base

Participating in professional development courses will expose you to new ideas and perspectives-perhaps some you hadn’t thought of before. A wealth of new knowledge will come from actively participating in professional development courses.

It’s a confidence booster

Attending professional development courses will increase your expertise in your field and, as a result, build confidence in the work you do. This confidence will carry over into the classroom when you come back to your students and share what you learned. Showing that even you, the teacher, are constantly learning and are excited about it will energize your students for the lessons ahead.

You meet other teachers

As a teacher, you likely spend more time with kids than adults. Professional development courses can be refreshing not only for the wealth of knowledge you can acquire but for the people you meet as well. I enjoyed being with adults and learning alongside them. I grew my network of teachers with whom I can share ideas with, go to for advice, or have as mentors.

It helps you set & achieve your goals

It’s important to set career goals for yourself to help you stay on track. Partaking in professional development courses are productive for you to see how far you’ve come. Professional development can give you the necessary resources needed for you to achieve those goals in an efficient manner.  

You become a better teacher

Going through professional development courses will give you skills you can use immediately, but more importantly it will help you grow professionally over time. A common misconception about professional development is that it only helps you. It’s important to remember investing in yourself as an educator will also help your students.

The more professional development teachers get, the more likely students are to succeed.

Whether it is a workshop, a conference, or a meeting, all new teachers should take part in some form of professional development to set themselves up for success.

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.