Good vs. Great Professional Development: Spotting the Differences

While there are many different professional development courses out there, they should not all be treated equally. All programs come with different guidelines, rules and course materials so when it comes to choosing the correct courses for you make sure you know that you are getting a great course and not just a good one.


For most, professional development is completed during and around an already hectic life. If you have a job during the day, kids to take care of, commitments to off-work activities, or a combination of these, it is important to make sure you aren’t getting in over your head from the get go. While many courses offer strict timelines in which the course is to be completed, there are some with flexible schedules, allowing you to complete the coursework on your own time, and when you can fit it into your work and personal life. Having 9 months to complete the work isn’t always needed, but with the option to finish in as little as two weeks, it never hurts to keep yourself covered in case life comes up.


Working through professional development online can be tricky, and you may have questions. Many programs are not backed by teachers and don’t offer any promise to help and guide you through problems or issues that may arise. Everyone learns differently and no question is too small when your license is on the line. The feedback that you have during your courses with teachers who can offer suggestions, direction or even just a friendly face and name will give you peace of mind that you aren’t working with a robot. Many times, teachers can offer additional advice on teaching skills and problem solving, as well as personal experience to make sure you are getting the most out of your professional development.


Having two-way communication with teachers during your courses is essential but another benefit to great professional development is collaboration with other teachers just like you. Strength in numbers, they always say, and the same goes for teaching. You are expected to come up with countless lesson plans and to stay current and relevant in your teaching methods, so bouncing ideas off of others who are in the same boat is nothing but beneficial. Plus, many teachers can offer ideas that you haven’t thought of yet. Online professional development collaboration can come in forms such as open blog commenting, peer reviews, group assignments and more.


When it comes to professional development, many think that the easiest way is to leave it all at the door. In reality, there is a lot of benefit to turning what you’re learning into real, usable material for your classroom while you’re still in the course itself. This way you come out of the experience with content for your lessons that you know is up to par with your class material, aligned with best practices, and has been developed using methods that are current and effective. Walking away with lesson plans you can use in your classroom right away leaves you with more than just knowledge, but information that is ready to apply to your students.

Luckily, TeacherStep offers all of these essentials in great professional development courses and more! Check it out for yourself here and take the next step towards great online professional development.

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Teachers! has been a leader in K-12 professional development and recertification courses for more than 20 years. In partnership with South Carolina ETV and Converse College, our online courses are self-paced, Common Core aligned, and offer graduate level credit from an accredited college! Most important, they are designed by teachers for teachers, including lesson plans you can use today! Take the next step.!