Summer is almost here and for substitute teachers this means a break employment. But that shouldn't mean a break in your own professional learning. Trends in education are always changing and a substitute who demonstrates their understanding of these new trends will likely receive more jobs. Teachers appreciate a substitute when they realize that learning does not need to end when the primary teacher is absent. Many local and community colleges offer summer professional development conferences. There are even online conferences that provide excellent new material and strategies that can be accessed from the comfort of your own home.
Here are three reasons how your can be a better teacher by attending professional development workshops or conferences this summer:
Gaining exposure through networking
Conferences are a great place to meet new educators, especially with the gaining popularity Edcamp "unconferences." This is a time to introduce yourself to teachers in the area and make them aware of your background and proficiency in their content areas. It's always helpful to have business cards available so that you can leave a tangible impression on a teacher. They will remember you, your skills, and your initiative in wanting to be their substitute.
Conferences are a resume builder
Many state education certifications require ongoing professional development. Not only are these good for improving your instructional abilities, but they also look great on a resume. Many substitute teachers regard the job as an excellent opportunity to make themselves visible to possible employers. The goal for substitutes is long-term permanent employment. Including a list of conferences and professional development workshops on your resume indicates that you're a passionate and committed educator and that you possess skills that will be beneficial for the school and its students.
Learn new skills
There are workshops and conferences for virtually every content area and facet of classroom instruction. Educators are reflective by nature, so chances are you already know your areas of strength and areas of weakness. Choose a conference or workshop that allows you to become a more balanced professional educator. Or, attend an event that targets a specific area that is popular in the schools where you substitute. This will make you a more qualified substitute and will lead to more jobs.