Empowering responsibility through professional development

Professional development is important among the teachers. Initial courses of teachers’ training alone are not sufficient for them to prepare the current generation of children who are growing up in this digital era. There is an entire process which includes learning, creating, and sharing that empowers teachers to be better prepared to face this new crop of students.

Anupama Ramachandra, who has 20 years of experience in teaching, shares her points that could help the teachers to improve themselves. She is a firm believer in reflective teaching. Teachers should always have the desire to evolve, learn and motivate themselves. Teaching is not always about salary and promotion; it is about innovating themselves with new ideas and skills. That is why teacher should always question themselves, whether their teaching is effective, impactful, and joyful. A teacher should be able to engage the students digitally to be able to focus on the positive side of the technology.

Teachers are the ones who teach you about values, skills and introduce you to new technology. Without teachers the circle of life will be incomplete.

Teachers need to invest in their professional development by taking extra efforts to step outside the curriculum knowledge and spread wings across interdisciplinary skills, applicable knowledge and change in attitude. Professional development is not defined by a rigid set of specializations, but rather any new knowledge, skill and attitude that would make one a better version of themselves. There are no definite sources for development, and sky is the limit for development.

There is more to teachers than just teaching. The most crucial yet unsung reality is that they drive the young minds to be eternal learners, by igniting a spark of curiosity and move ahead to understand the world around them. To be effective teacher, they also need to digitally engage with the fast-paced world and use technology for growth.

Developing oneself is not the end in itself, one need to look back into how much they have travelled to understand their potential. Since development is an ongoing process, the size or pace does not matter as long as there is a positive curve. Any new contribution from their end is a sign of growth. But how much ever technology evolves; a teacher who is continuously engaged in professional development will not be obliterated by technology.

How to Constantly Improve as Teachers

Knowledge and information is now available a click away. Children do not need teachers to teach them when they can get rich information through various sources. But the role of a teacher is not just to impart knowledge, but also to motivate the child to be an eternal learner by being a role model themselves. Job opportunities for teachers are always and everywhere available, but to do justice to this, one should improve themselves for better .To enrich as a teacher one should have pedagogical knowledge; humility to accept lack of knowledge and be open to learning; envision self-growth; collaborate with others to work as a team; have a sense of priority; be open to diverse perspective; have a work-life balance; and a sense of belonging for the profession.

A teacher should not wait for an opportunity to learn, because opportunity comes when one anticipates a problem. They cannot wait for years to decide that you need to upgrade skills, as every day the system is evolving at a faster pace. But there are also various roadblocks that come in way of becoming a better version:  lack of will, lack of purpose, lack of awareness, lack of help, negativity, need for certification more than learning to name a few. Time constraint and monetary is no more relevant because the untraditional methods of learning are available without much expense. Children born in the digital era need to be engaged digitally and teachers need to evolve and get comfortable with technology. Aversion to technology will slowly perish a teacher and hence it is important to use it for their own advantage by focusing on positive growth through digital use.

Engaging in reflective teaching is important to satiate child’s keen enthusiasm to learn and ignite a spark in them to find more information and enrich their knowledge. Children should be thought to critically think, where they can transform their classroom knowledge to solve everyday problem. For that children need to be taken outside the four walls of the classroom and made to connect with the real world. Both teachers and students also should learn to unlearn when things no longer are relevant and make way for new learning.

Teachers need to dedicate time for their own development, stay positive, and be responsible for their own happiness to touch lives.  Knowledge grows by sharing and by collaborating, learning and developing in every opportunity together, we will create a world of knowledge.

How to evaluate professional development

Evaluation is crucial for development. But one shouldn’t be too obsessed over self-evaluation, because it is an ongoing, continuous professional development. As a teacher they need to occasionally revisit into themselves to understand how much they have evolved. If one is able to handle a situation which they couldn’t before, and can contribute to a conversation happening universally, they are showing signs of development.

To measure growth reasonably it is important to do a SWOT analysis as it is a precursor for professional development. With an idea of what you are before you start to evolve will effectively embark upon your journey towards growth. This growth is always relative to a given environment and not necessarily for the whole system.

Future of teaching with increasing virtual learning and tuition is not really an impending threat. A teaching profession cannot be uprooted, nor go irrelevant. Teaching is a wholesome service where a teacher not only imparts knowledge, but also instills values, skills, collaboration. It is not an equal race with any other source of knowledge as a teacher creates a circle of knowledge with care, love and nurture.