“Fail to plan, plan to fail”
My intention of recently proposing this statement to my A-level students was to remind them to plan for each of their questions. Yet at the same time it got me thinking about how this can be transferred to my career in teaching.
Do I have a plan?
I conducted some research and found that many teachers complete their own personal development plan and I would encourage you to do the same. There are 9 steps to completing a PDP*:
- Assess where you are now
- Identify your specific career goals
- Gather information
- Identify what professional skills you already have and which you need to work on
- Choose how you will accomplish your goals
- Develop a timeline for accomplishing your specific targets and goals
- Write it all down
- Evaluate your plan
- Measure your progress
*Eva Lu www.mindofawinner.com
Assessing your current career situation is a good place to start.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What have you been doing over the past year, 3 years or 5 years to help your professional development?
- Are you where you thought you’d be at this stage in your career?
If the answers are ‘nothing’ and ‘no’, a PDP is a great place to start to begin turning that around. Even if those were not your answers, this step will give you the chance to assess the effectiveness of the strategies and actions you have been taking in the past. Identify and write down any actions that have specifically helped, or hindered, your professional development.
Take this opportunity to reflect on your actions, and be honest with yourself.
Now that you have identified the areas you need to work on, it is time to decide how you will remedy this. To be effective, your professional development should be; job embedded, strategic, continuous and ongoing. Perhaps you could sign up to a range of skills workshops and seminars that your school is offering, get involved in formal CPD training (such as NPQML), or keep up to date with new technology relating to your field.
There are many strategic ways to develop the skills you need to accomplish your goals; take it in small chunks, relate all learning experiences to the skills identified by your PDP and remember this is a process of continual development.
Assessing your progress regularly is important. Even though you know your professional development is important (you’ve made a plan for it, after all) professional education can quickly fall in priority. Measuring your progress will help you know if you are hitting your ‘check lists’, meeting your targets and are on track for reaching your goals. You may need to set more manageable steps, or make new targets, or even set new goals.
Remember that plans change and, as you go through your career, your goals will progress with you.
Learning is a lifelong process, and it’s important to continue your professional development to ensure career success.
About our Community Expert
Career Development Lead
Richard is a history Teacher by Training and for the last few years been head of sixth form. His specialism is leadership and career development in the classroom.