But often they get lost in the routine of planning, teaching, marking, etc. These are a few simple ideas to keep up with teacher development.
Read, read, read
Keeping up to date with new trends in language teaching and learning is essential. What you studied during your teacher training time is very valuable but needs adjusting to new ideas, methods, approaches and theories all the time. Reading is a must. Whether it is books, journals, blog posts or any other kind of writing, reading about your areas of interest is a way of keeping updated.
Maximise staff room time
The Staff Room is a place that can become a wasted opportunity. Talk to other teachers about classes you share, strategies to deal with certain difficulties, successful tasks and projects. Ask for advice, plan joint projects with other teachers or classes. The Staff Room has the potential to be a great space for teacher development.
Connect with other teachers
A major source of new ideas are other teachers. You may already have a group of colleagues from the school you teach in or former trainees, with whom you communicate regularly. But what about a wider community of teachers from all over the world? Twitter and Facebook are just two examples of tools that can allow you to widen your circle. Connecting with teachers all over the world can open the door to ideas exchange, collaboration and much more! If you are daunted by Twitter, you can start by joining #ELTchat on Wednesdays for a more focused experience.
Transfer and experiment
Do not just read and exchange ideas, put them into practice! Take in what might work and adapt it for your context. Do not be afraid of trying new things and sharing the experience with your colleagues everywhere. It is by daring into new paths that we can discover what works and what doesn't.
Share your knowledge
You may feel you have nothing to offer. However, do not be afraid to share your experiences, whether successful or not. There are lots of other teachers who could benefit from them. You can start local and try to set up a workshop in your school. If you are self- conscious about public speaking, you can start a blog to share your ideas. Every experienced speaker or writer, had to start once...
Becoming a teacher is only the beginning of a life-long learning career. Find time to explore your areas of interest and connect to like-minded professionals who can help you in your endeavour. After more than 25 years of teaching, I feel the most rewarding professional development opportunities have come from the personal and professional connections I have made over the years.