So those who are keen to improve their skills, get new ideas and learn more about their areas, will find that access to professional development is going to get difficult. To be really eloquent about it, this really sucks. Christopher Pyne, our ass hat of an education minister has said himself that one of the keys to giving students a quality education, is quality teachers. He's right. Not often will I say that, but he is right. However right he in on this one point though, is negated by the fact he, and our state government are cutting funding to such a level that training our teachers to be better is going to be very difficult. Kids need books, teachers in front of classes, resources... Teachers come last, which is ok, we're used to it, we know the kids come first. But it's not cool to expect us to do our jobs better, with less resources, limited access to training, and a bigger workload. They're going to lose quality teachers into industries with better conditions.
Don't mention our holidays here please, we know how much we get. That's another argument, for another time.
BUT - for the dedicated teacher who really wants to learn, improve, progress and get a better skill set, this time of funding cuts is a fantastic opportunity to rise up and stand out. Why? By doing extra. I know. We already do SO MUCH. But so many teachers are just, not getting any PD, the schools can't afford it. However, there is a solution to this.
Yeah if it was that easy wouldn't everyone just do it? Well, not necessarily. Maybe you don't know where it is or how to access it. But now is the time to be proactive and get on board!
Here are some options for you.
These guys are an online curation site for learning institutions around the world who offer free MOOCs (Massive open online course). There are a whole bunch of courses on here, ranging from specific teaching skills to content based courses. I've done the MOOC from Relay Graduate School of Education, "Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms" and if your school, like mine has a Positive Schools priority, this fits perfectly. It was a great course with some big names in positive psychology, as well as working examples filmed in classrooms. It wasn't a huge challenge timewise, but it was really rewarding.
Want some more examples?
The Commonwealth Education Trust
University of London
American Museum of Natural History
University of Pittsburgh
University of Melbourne
TMWA (Teach Meet WA) is for Western Australian educators keen to connect, collaborate and inspire each other through teacher driven professional learning. TeachMeets are free, informal and highly engaging professional learning sessions that are short and sharp. I've been to one of their meet ups at a northern suburbs primary school, and even though it was aimed at primary kids, there was A LOT I took away. Lots of short presentations by teachers, to show other teachers the resources they're using in the classroom, or specific strategies etc It was such a great afternoon, everyone was so friendly and supportive. They have some fantastic looking events coming up, some with live streams so if you can't physically be there, or it's sold out (like their history event) you can still get all the information!
These are just 2 options for free PDs but I'm sure there are more! I'd love to hear about any that you go on, and what you think!