At times, it may seem like there is little hope of being promoted due to a lack of experience or simply a lack of posts in your current school. It may happen that you like your job but don’t want to become too comfortable. Sometimes our professional development opportunities are not always differentiated for what we actually need and that’s why it’s important to take initiative on our own sometimes. If you are feeling somewhat stagnant and feel like you might want to shoot for the stars in years to come, here are five things you can do to give yourself a boost or head start.
- As educators, we get a lot of time, and even though this is deserved and we may need rest, it might be a good opportunity to take a few days during the summer or winter break and volunteer in an area that interests you. It could be shadowing someone in a further education or higher education field who lectures in leadership. Perhaps it might be a good idea to gain experience within another role in education, such as observing a careers counsellor or health and safety officer. Doing charitable work within education can also allow us to simply teach for the greater good and at the same time get a chance to expose ourselves to those with different backgrounds and educational resources.
- Make use of Future Learn, it’s free and offers loads of courses such as Spanish, teaching STEM, community journalism, ect. Not every CPD course has to be about education, as it can always be useful for building our resources and sparking our creativity. The way in which the PD sessions run are excellent because they use quizzes, blog posts, videos and links to additional reading. I recently completed one on mental health for teens which helped develop my interest in wellbeing. Now I use the strategies in other areas of my life as well as in the classroom.
- Try signing up to be an examiner for AQA or Cambridge examinations. Although it might be a bit hard to get motivated at first, it really is an excellent way to develop your knowledge of a new curriculum and earn extra cash at the same time. It ensures you can use the assessment strategies and standardisation processes in your curriculum maps and planning. As well as this, it can give you an edge in future interviews.
- Start a Masters, although it seems like a lot of work at first it might be worthwhile doing it over a 3 to 5 year period and in that way it takes the financial burden off. It also means you will have less assignments and less pressure. Going for new roles can be daunting but when you can talk about your current studies it shows others that you are passionate and driven. Studying’s not for everyone but if it’s something that is always niggling then maybe it’s time to get searching for courses. After the pandemic distance learning degrees have got a better reputation and are becoming more of the norm.
- Take up a new hobby that is completely out of the ordinary but something you really look forward to doing. For me, that was learning ballet, something I had never tried before. It was a bit of an adventure going and learning a new skill. More importantly, though it was a way to engage with mindfulness and have a break which essentially made my job easier. For my future interviews, I might even be brave enough to mention it as an extra curricular club idea.