New Teacher Advice: Jump at Professional Development

“Sacrifice my weekend to work? What? I don’t want to do PD, it’s always on weekends!”

Some teachers feel this way, but I certainly don’t. My advice to new teachers is to close your ears to this sort of talk and jump at as much PD as is offered to you.

We all need our time to rest, decompress and get away from what at times can be the daily grind of the classroom. When wrapping up a great week of teaching and fun with students that might not be such an issue, but after a tough week when you may have been pushed to the edges of sanity, we NEED that Saturday and Sunday to recharge.

We may need that time away from the classroom, but good PD will make your time in the classroom much more effective, valuable and possibly easier.

Good PD makes you think in different ways. It gives you great insight and new ideas.

This is key for new and experienced teachers.

New teachers don’t have the time in the classroom. They haven’t had hundreds of children pass through their classroom doors over the course of years. They haven’t learned through trial and error. The ideas a good trainer or coach can give you are worth their weight in gold.

When it comes to experienced teachers, they can become lazy. They can fall into teaching ruts. Maybe their practices aren’t best practices. A great weekend PD workshop might be a good jolt to reinvigorate their teaching!


Recently I was fortunate to be able to take part in a Kath Murdoch PD session at the Canadian International School of Beijing. It was amazing! like meeting a teaching rockstar! It really got me excited about teaching inquiry!



New teachers…

Let’s think about the next step in your teaching career.  Where do you plan to go in the future? What do you want to do?

If you want to get some international experience and work at a well-known international school, you’re not only going to need experience but a lot of PD on your resume.

The more PD on your resume means the more you stand out from the others. The better shot you have of moving up in the teaching world.

Maybe you want more than being a homeroom teacher. Maybe you want to be a literacy or numeracy coach? Maybe a tech expert? A trainer? In a leadership position? A great international teaching opportunity?

Lots of PD will help you get there.

Over the years I have been in meetings when weekend PD opportunities were offered. I would watch so many teachers put their heads down and mutter. They didn’t want to “lose” their weekends.

I always jumped at every chance I got! When I was offered PD I took it.

Weekend PD isn’t losing your weekend but gaining amazing skills and knowledge that will make you stand out as a teacher.



When you are in the workshop, be active!

Speak, engage and volunteer your ideas and experiences. Don’t be one of those teachers who sits there like a bump on a log. Don’t be like those teachers who are there, but not happy about it. Sometimes you may encounter them.

For the most part, though, the teachers I have met at PD workshops were normally eager and excited educators. They were like me. They wanted to be there!

Long story short… When professional development workshops are offered to you, jump at the chance to take them.





About the Author:

Kevin O’Shea is an IB/PYP educator currently based in Beijing, China. He is a father, husband, and avid conservationist. Kevin is also the host of the upcoming Making Better Teachers Podcast as well as the host of the long-running Just Japan Podcast.

Twitter: @MadForMaple






Kevin O’Shea teaching a class about habitats and conservation at a park in Beijing, China. 


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