In-service days are an opportunity for teachers to learn about new techniques and tools to engage students in the learning process. Often, teachers learn the most from each other. In a 2013 study, the National Center for Literacy Education found that teachers working together was the most meaningful and effective way to increase professional development.
With leadership and planning, in-service days can be a powerful experience for teachers. Focused teachers who are more involved in their school positively affect the quality of education students receive. Read on for a few ideas, and some teacher training gifts, to help make the most of your next in-service day.
- Plan ahead. Focusing on topics of interest to the whole team can improve participation and engagement. Poll teachers ahead of time to see what areas they’d like covered. Give each one a set of Post-it® notes to write their ideas on and then display the notes in the break room. Encourage all teachers to provide feedback and use that information to set the in-service day agenda.
- Support technology training. As digital tools in the classroom continue to grow more popular, ensure teachers are fully trained on the new technology. A national study found that 50 percent of K-12 teachers did not receive the support they needed to use technology properly in the classroom. A train-the-trainer session is a great hands-on way to learn. During training, hand out teacher training gifts that show school spirit and emphasize technology. A laptop backpack or tech charging kit are great options.
- Bring in guest speakers. Continuing education is important in any profession, and teachers are no exception. Guest speakers can broaden perspectives and help teachers gain additional insights. As the speakers teach new skills and techniques, have teachers record their thoughts with a notebook and pen set.
- Encourage feedback. Getting feedback after an in-service day is important. What did they like? What did they think could be improved? Providing feedback helps teachers reflect on the information they learned and encourages them to apply new concepts in their lesson plans. Thank teachers for their time and feedback with a coffee mug.
Educators work toward the same goal—to continually improve and learn. With some planning, in-service days can be a rewarding professional development opportunity. And by selecting the right teacher training gifts, your next in-service day will be memorable for all who attend.