ascd.org/about-ascd.aspx). The organization hosts a variety of professional development seminars and workshops, including online offerings. It would be useful to take advantage of these opportunities.
5. Evaluating Progress
I want to keep a teaching journal of my first few years so I can reflect on what I have done and what progress I have made as a teacher. I want to be sure to identify where I am making the same mistakes and what I am doing well. Shalaway (n.d.) cites a Michigan State study in which researchers found that teachers who kept journals "reported that they learned a great deal about their thinking and teaching" (http://www2.scholastic.com / browse/article .jsp?id=3749717).
I also want to be part of a teaching community that is open enough to tell me where I can improve and what steps I can take toward improvement. I can stay motivated in working toward my goals, in part, by surrounding myself with teachers who are as enthusiastic as I am about being in the profession. All teachers have salary and career advancement incentives as structured by their districts, and these will help me to stay focused on my goals as well. Finally, because professional development is mandated by certification requirements, I feel confident that the school in which I teach will have some tools available to teachers to assist them in tracking their progress.
6. Professional Organizations
With respect to professional organizations, there are many organizations one could join. Some are related to the content one teaches, such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). I plan to join the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) because language is the foundation of any subject. The organization is not just for teachers of English but "is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education" (http://www.ncte.org/mission). Since I hope to teach in the primary grades, I will be very involved in teaching the foundations of reading and writing. I hope membership in this organization will provide support and resources for this important endeavor.
The best-known organization for teachers is probably the National Educational Association (NEA). NEA's mission is to "advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world" (http://www.nea.org / home/19583.htm). In order to help its members fulfill its mission, the NEA hosts the NEA Academy, which makes available high-quality, web-based professional development courses created and facilitated by the NEA or affiliates. One current offering that is in line with my own professional development goals is a course called "Effective Teaching in Diverse Classrooms" (http://www.neaacademy.org/continuing-education/effective-teaching-in-diverse-classrooms.html). It is a ten-hour course that requires an additional thirty or forty hours of outside work to complete. For an additional fee, one can earn one hour of graduate credit. This course is but one example of what NEA has to offer.
7. Techniques for Developing Leadership Skills
I think that the first thing I need to recognize is when to be a leader and when to be a follower. As a new teacher, I will observe other teachers, both effective and ineffective ones, keep up-to-date with professional literature, and participate in professional development activities. I will be mindful of the fact that I am a member of a team with a common goal: empower students to succeed. In the beginning, I believe it is important to demonstrate my commitment to the team and to try to contribute in a positive and meaningful way. I need to build a sound professional base before I can hope to become a leader among my peers. I need to be a thoughtful practitioner, continually reflecting on my practices in the classroom. As I mature in the profession, I hope that new teachers can look to me as an example.
Twenty years ago, Lieberman and Miller (1990) noted that new leadership roles for teachers were emerging (Gehrke, 1991.). The advent of technology and No Child Left Behind are two enormous developments that have impacted the field of education since Lieberman and Miller wrote their article. We can be sure that change will continue to take place. Good leadership will require the ability to adapt to various changes. The professional organizations already mentioned are very likely to have course offerings in educational leadership. I can avail myself of one or more of these to help develop my skills.
Preparing a professional development plan requires that a teacher look at his or her current practices and make some decisions about future goals. It is hoped that any teacher would have the counsel of more experienced teachers, mentors, and administrators when charting future professional development plans. There are many options for professional development and deciding on the programs or courses most worthy of one's time and money could be daunting without advice from colleagues. It is also important that I reflect on my practice and make professional development plans in response to the experiences I have in my classroom. I look forward to implementing my professional development plan, which will help me be the best teacher I can be.
Bureau of Education and Research. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.ber.org / about/index.cfm
Gehrke, N. (1991). Developing teachers' leadership skills. ERIC digest. Retrieved from http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9219/skills.htm
L'Allier, S., Elish-Piper, L., & Bean, R.M. (2010). What matters for elementary literacy ndent forcoaching? Guilding principles for instructional improvement and student achievement. The Reading Teacher, 63(7), 544-554. doi: 10.1598/RT.63.7.2
Mahaffey, D., Lind, K., & Derse, L. (2005) Professional development plan: Educator toolkit. Retrieved from the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website: http://dpi.state.wi.us/tepdl/pdf/pdpeducatortoolkit.pdf
Moir, E. (2009). Accelerating teacher effectiveness: Lessons learned from two decades of new teacher induction. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(2), issue 2, 14-21.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.nbpts.org/
National Council of Teachers of English. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/
National Education Association. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/
Shalaway, L. (2005). Keeping a teaching journal. Adapted from Learning to teach...not just for beginners: The essential guide for all teachers. Retrieved from http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3749717
Staff Development for Educators. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://differentiatedinstruction .com/
Wasik, B.A. (2010). What teachers can do to promote preschoolers' vocabulary development: Strategies from an effective language and literacy professional development coaching model. Reading Teacher, 63(8), 621-633.