Nowadays, it’s very easy to develop as a teacher. You can get better in any areas you want, anytime you want. But it’s also easy to get overwhelmed with all of the ideas, new teaching techniques, articles etc. So before you start binge-watching all the webinars, have a look at these few tips on how to develop without burning out.
Make a plan
Instead of binge-training (is that even a phrase??), make a list of topics that you want to get better at. And then look for workshops, and articles on those topics. Don’t just train for the sake of training or just to get certificate number 87 in your folder.
Don’t do a workshop just because what you’re getting from it might come in handy in the future. If you do it now but do not implement it straight away, it might be out of date by the time you’re finally ready to use it. Or you’ll forget about it, more likely. You can use this time more effectively to develop in areas that you really want to get better at.
Conferences and other events
If you’re attending a conference or an online event with many different talks, don’t try to attend all of them. Choose a few that you’re really interested in. And the rest of the time will be better spent mingling with the other teachers and exchanging ideas.
It’s on social media that we can really see how much information is out there. All the social media platforms are packed with posts, webinars and useful links. But if you wanted to keep up with everything, you’d have to spend all your time reading posts!
Don’t just follow everyone and everything that’s connected with teaching. Choose a few teachers, bloggers, and creators, who you click with and follow them. And forget about everyone else. Don’t worry that you’re going to miss out on something in places which you’re not following. If it’s something really important, it’ll get to you for sure!
Use it right away
If you’re taking part in a webinar or workshop, and you have a head full of ideas, use them straight away! Any new teaching technique or lesson idea that you’re going to implement right after the workshop is going to stick with you for longer. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a notebook full of notes and ideas, instead of more effective teaching.
Rest from development
Your mind needs a development detox every so often. At least twice a year, have a long break from anything connected with teaching. I like to do it during Christmas (for about 2 weeks) and then again in the summer (for about a month). You’ll see how your mind resets. You’ll feel refreshed and good ideas start to flow. It’s going to benefit you and your students. And don’t forget to take at least one day off every week! I mean totally off, without logging into social media and thinking about your lessons.
Read this article for more tips on how to find a balance between work and private life.
Read/watch for pleasure
Many teachers only ever read books or blogs connected with teaching. They don’t want to waste time reading something that’s not going to make them become better teachers. But in reality, it kind of works the opposite way. Your mind can only take in so much information. And if you feed it too much, it’s going to rebel! So give it a rest and read or watch for pleasure as well. Don’t feel guilty next time you watch this new Netflix show or read the latest crime thriller. Your brain will thank you for it.
Grow as a person
Personal development goes hand in hand with professional development. If you’re growing as a person, you’re automatically becoming a better teacher for your students. Find something you might be interested in that will help you grow as a person. It could be a hobby, a new sport, charity work or even a meet up with a group of inspiring people.
So next time you’re about to press play on that webinar, just think: Is it something I really need, or can I spend this time more effectively?