Professional Development can be so rewarding and beneficial to a teacher on so any levels. It can give you the skills, tools, and strategies to help your students, it can teach you how to be a more efficient teacher and it can give you a reprieve from the classroom as you get a chance to reflect on your teaching.
One of the biggest complaints I hear Professional Development is that administration won’t pay for it. And the problem with that is many of us teachers simply cannot afford to get the training that we need and our students deserve. I know what it is like to have to beg for money to get a training that I know will better my students understanding of the district’s curriculum. But begging is degrading and certainly, no fun.
So, what can you do to get the training that you need? I’ve got 6 fool-proof steps that will get your admin to not only agree to approve your PD, but also fund it.
1. Do Your Research
Show your administrators that you are serious. Research different Professional Development options and declare one the front runner. Consider cost, time, presentation method (online, face-to-face, etc) and the expertise of the presenter. Show your admin that you have found the very best PD for you and your position, then ask yourself the following:
Does my district have requirements for PD to be paid for or reimbursed?
What is the typical budget for these activities?
Are there any restrictions to what the district reimburses?
2. Get the Facts
Be ready to field the Frequently Asked Questions. Think ahead and anticipate what your admin may ask. Imagine how the conversation may go and have answers to the following:
Who is presenting the PD?
What are the costs?
Where is the PD?
What is the presentation method?
What is the registration deadline?
What is the duration of the PD?
What will you learn?
3. Inform Your Admin
Here is your chance to explain to your admin about the importance of this training. Know what the training is offering and explain to your admin how this PD will help THEM in the long term. Administrators are typically not known for their understanding and philanthropic nature. They are admin because they know what can and cannot be done in the district and what the district can and cannot pay for. It will be your job to convince them of the necessity of the training. Ask yourself these:
How will this PD help me in my position?
What new skills will I learn?
How will these new skills help me lead the team?
How will the training help me with my current challenges?
Can I translate these skills to others on my team?
Admin want to know what they can expect from you after you take the PD. What exactly is their return on their investment?
4. Try an Email Pitch
If possible and feasible, try an email pitch first. Don’t ambush your admin with questions about paying for your PD. Approach the situation slow and carefully. Try sending a casual email inquiring about the Professional Development opportunity first. That way you have 2 chances to negotiate your desire for PD.
5. Be Ready to Handle Rejection
Be prepared for rejection. Your desire to take a Professional Development opportunity may be met with opposition.
What will happen to your class while you are at a training?
How long will you be gone?
How is the training worth it?
As a teacher, it is sometimes difficult for your administration to give you a day off even for the best Professional Development. This is where online Professional development will score you bonus points. ;)
And if all else fails, don’t stress. Continue to check-in with your administration periodically. Don’t be discouraged if your ideas are denied at first. Talk to your admin about your passion to take the Professional Development and allow them to explain the reason for your denial. You may be surprised and you may be able to come up with a compromise that works for both of you.