What is CPD? Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is essential for teachers to stay current and to ensure that they constantly improve. If teachers do not take advantage of CPD, they will be left behind as other teachers continue to grow and improve their teaching practice. Constantly improving as a teacher means that you will be more sought-after and you will be more likely to be considered for a promotion. Generally, the more highly-skilled you are as a teacher, the higher the salary you can command.
It is imperative that teachers are pro-active in developing their own professional development. Being pro-active means taking control of your own future and your own development. Unfortunately, not many Heads and Business Managers out there tend to book teachers on to courses themselves. It is therefore down to you to find the course that is right for you. Once found, you then have to sell the benefits of the course to the Head/Business Manager. What will YOU get out of it? How will this help the SCHOOL? How will this help work towards achieving the aims or areas of development that the school needs to work on? To achieve success here, you really need to come across as being passionate about attending the course. It is also best practice to check dates in the diary and see what internal cover may be possible before having this conversation. If another teacher/LSA/cover teacher can take your class for the day - this reduces the cost to the school and also, importantly, takes some of the workload of the booking process away from the Head/Business Manager. If you pitch the proposal of CPD in the right way, using all of these concepts, how can they refuse you? Well...of course, there is the small issue of BUDGET. You may be told that the budget is really tight and they don’t know if they can afford it right now. Do NOT accept this. If you believe the CPD will improve your teaching, you must persist. Again, reiterate how important attending this CPD course is for you. Make it clear that currently, you just don’t think you have the skill set to deliver the subject to the best of your ability. The CPD course will fill those gaps and allow you to improve the quality of teaching to the children. Sell the benefits of how the CPD will be beneficial to the school, not just you. Furthermore, the CPD course will inevitably give you lots of take-aways which you can pass on to the rest of the school. Offer to give a short overview of what you found out from the course during a staff meeting or briefing. This may not be your thing - but by offering this, it makes the proposal much more valuable and you are more likely to receive the go-ahead. So, that is HOW to get the go-ahead from the powers that be - all is left now is for you to actually book a place. When booking, try to do as much of the school’s legwork as possible. If you can take the workload off the people involved in the booking process - they will be much more likely to book YOU on another course in the future!
So, what if the CPD is rubbish? Well, it really shouldn’t be...not if you have done your research and checked that the CPD is being delivered by a reputable person who specialises in the area being delivered. Read their recommendations and testimonials from their other CPD sessions. A third-party review of their services is the best indicator of whether a CPD course is worth attending. Anyone can sell themselves, but getting others to recommend you is only possible when they are happy to do so because of the great service that they have received.
Finally, when should you take action and begin looking/booking yourself on to CPD? NOW! Don’t delay or put it off. If you do, you may never actual get around to it! You need to prioritise it. Sacrifice watching the TV for one night. Go to bed later. Whatever you do, find the time to look for CPD that can improve your teaching. Remember, as you become a better teacher, you will also command a higher salary and the Head really won’t want to lose you (being the highly skilled teacher that you are!)