Though summer is a much needed time of rest for most teachers, it is also an opportunity to take continuing education classes in order to update credentials needed for certification. Workshops are time intensive classes, usually addressing a relevant topic for an academic subject, or for a classroom method. These workshops may last a few days, or may extend over a one or two week period, depending on the amount of material to be covered, and the credit to be earned. Workshops are nice, from an educator’s perspective, in that a short term workshop permits time for vacations and other activities. However, it’s important to make the most of these opportunities, by selecting the best workshops for your needs.
~Grant Sponsored Workshops
Many school districts will write grants to sponsor workshops in a needed area of study. The math department, for example, may obtain grant funding for a class that trains teachers in the use of a particular piece of equipment. A multicultural department may obtain funding for training teachers in areas related to cultural sensitivity in the classroom. Regardless of the topic, these are often outstanding choices for a teacher, because the funding allows for low enrollment costs, or provides for personal classroom materials and equipment. A teacher might receive her own graphing calculator during the course that instructs in the use of that calculator. A Spanish teacher might obtain a new set of supplemental materials. The costs are helpful, given the salary restrictions so many educators contend with.
~Specific Subject Trends
Within a teaching field, there are often new ideas and approaches that can be implemented in the classroom. However, without time spent in experiencing these topics, a classroom teacher will opt for his or her traditional methods. One of the best ways to obtain this training is through a workshop that addresses the trend, or topic. Whether it’s a workshop about using manipulatives in the math classroom, or an exploration of self-publishing projects for the language class, you can obtain new ideas for your coming year’s classroom activities.
~Social and Instructional Issues
There are many prevalent issues in the classroom of today, ranging from bullying, to homeless and undernourished students, to learning challenges faced by some students. A workshop addressing trends that affect your specific school will be helpful in allowing you to better serve your students, and your school. You may encounter single day workshops, which will allow you an overview of the topic, or in-depth, week-long workshops addressing a whole slate of issues and interests.
Many educators have the opportunity to attain a higher step on a pay scale through pursuit of an advanced degree, either master’s or doctorate. If this is your position, then relevant workshops with credit that will count toward your degree are the perfect choice. Check with your advisor, or in a summer catalog, to verify what workshop courses will be offered in your field of study.
Teachers do not need to sacrifice the rest and relaxation of a summer break, for the sake of educational pursuits. Workshops compact important material into a short span of time, leaving the remainder of the summer available for enjoyment, alternate employment, and for planning for the next school year.