For a very long time, the way to start a career was to go to a four year institution (and perhaps grauduate school) to get a degree. With the schooling out of the way, you could start off on your career journey.
This isn’t necessarily the case anymore for most professions, including educators. Continuing education credits for teachers has become strongly encouraged (often mandatory) while progressing through a career, well after the original degree was obtained.
The Benefits of Teacher CEUs
While some teachers may find the continuing education requirements an annoyance, most welcome it. Consider that many people enter a profession because they have a passion for the industry.
Taking extra courses are a great way to further network and hone valuable skills. Sure, there may be some educators that go through the motions, so to speak. But I would contend this would be more of an exception than the norm.
While the benefit of CEUs for teachers is obvious from a career perspective, the students also benefit. If a teacher learns a new skill (for example, how to flip a classroom), then they will ultimately be impacted directly from these new skills.
Learning & Leveraging Today’s Technology
The courses available to our teachers today have a wide-range of topics. There are courses on how to deal with unruly parents, slow learners, mathematical skills, and everything in between.
What I find most exciting for teachers today is that they can learn about how to leverage the new technology available to them. The classroom is rapidly changing, as evident by the new mobile technology and applications we have today.
Tablets are common place. Classroom learning management systems are almost a necessity, especially when implementing a blended learning program. Teachers owe it to themselves and their classroom, to stay up-to-speed with the latest techniques.This of course doesn’t mean that all these strategies need to be used. Instead, the content should dictate the method of delivery.
Determining this criteria is what continuing education courses can convey. They help teachers be better educators; better at their craft. The teachers benefit from a career standpoint, while students benefit from an educational standpoint – it is a true win-win situation.
The Benefits of an Online Program
When it comes to enrolling into a CEU program, there are a variety of options available. Teachers are notoriously busy people, so taking time on the weekend to attend courses isn’t always the best, or most attractive, option.
This is where online courses come into play. There are many reputable organizations out there today that offer these CEUs via elearning. The major benefit here is that the course content can be taken at the leisure of the student – conveniently fitting into even the most busy of schedules.
Another great benefit is that online training allows for teachers to attend these courses from the institution of their choice, and they are not confined to what is around their geographic area. Also, there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a plane ticket or hotel. As with anything though, there are downsides despite the benefits.
One of the most glaring downsides with any elearning program is that it lacks the live interaction between instructors, classmates, and the content. Online courses attempt to get around this by implementing forums, but forums are only as good as the forum participants (and moderator). It is hard to simulate live group interaction in a strictly virtual environment.
Variety is Key
Rarely is one method the most effective. For optimal exposure to new ideas, methodologies, networking opportunities, and the like, teachers (or any professional for that matter) should seek career CEUs in a variety of venues.
These can take the form of online courses, live seminars, in-person courses, and attending conferences. Each one of these methods has its own value. When assessing the proper method though, you need to consider what environment fits best your current lifestyle and learning method.
If you choose a live course, then you need to ensure that you have the time to attend these events – otherwise it will be a waste of both time and money.
Where to Find Relevant CEU Programs
If you are a teacher looking for a course to supplement your career, a simple Google search will yield thousands of results of potential providers.
When evaluating the options, it is best to mark down desired skills or tech tools you would like to learn and then see if the provider is experienced in those areas. Many national organizations have local chapters, so that is a great place to start as well.
You can go to the organizations main website and search for additional branches, or you can do a more general search by going to the search engine of your choice and searching for something like, “continuing education for teachers +Detroit” (or wherever you are from).
One of the best resources you will find is with your employer. Many school districts have a list of accredited agencies that can offer these kinds of programs. What’s great about this list is that there will likely be some local institutions already listed.
Always Challenge Yourself
No matter what your profession, it is always important to challenge ourselves to continue learning. Hardly any industry today looks the same as it did 20 years ago (heck, even many of which look different than just five years ago)! Staying up to speed on the latest trends, further our education through seminars, workshops, online courses, and the like will yield benefit both professionally and personally.
In regards to the educational profession, staying stagnant hurts more than your career, it potentially limits the learner. The great thing is that if any of these courses (either online or in person) requires a payment, the this payment is often tax deductible since it is for enhancing your career. If you have any questions about the specifics, you can talk to the institution offering the program, or a certified tax accountant.
Always remember that it never too late to get involved in some sort of training program. Do the research, ask colleagues, and take the first step towards enhancing your skills. You will never regret making an investment in yourself.