Best Schools for Professional Development

September 19, 2013

pd48724094In terms of Professional Development, ISR’s School Reviews reveal there are two extremes to what international schools offer their faculty.

Schools with a focus on Professional Development often offer fully paid trips to 3-day conferences that include keynote speakers, classes, workshops and social/networking activities that round out the event and unite international teachers.  Some PD-oriented schools pay for flights to the venue, reimburse for accommodations, and offer an additional per diem for meals.  We’ve heard of schools that also offer grants to attend courses around the world during the summer months and allow teachers to pick and choose which program would benefit them most. Other schools pay for teachers to pursue a Masters or Doctoral degree. Regardless, it appears that most schools offering excellent PD include the details in the signed contract or handbook of benefits.

Of course, the opposite extreme and utter lack of PD opportunities is found at some international schools. These schools won’t even grant you time off from teaching to attend a workshop or conference on your own dime.  Such schools actually discourage teachers from advancing their knowledge and skills.  Worse yet are schools that dangle the promise of opportunities for PD at interview time but refuse to include them in the contractual agreement. You can guess what happens next.

Keeping with our mantra of Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed, we’d like to invite you to share your experiences regarding Professional Development at your school. We encourage you to include the name of your school in an effort to help as all find the best PD opportunities available.

Consider these questions:

– Does your school provide opportunities for Professional Development? If so, what “strings” are attached, if any?

– Does your school keep its word and follow through on what was originally offered and contracted regarding Professional Development? Were PD promises that were made at interview time fulfilled?

– Apart from Professional Development, what does your school do to keep teachers current and up-to-date with advances in educational thought  (IB and AP classes, for example)?

– In your opinion, does the inclusion of contractually-offered Professional Development appear to be increasing or decreasing?

We hope you’ll join in the discussion and Share your experiences with schools that do, and do not, offer international teachers Professional Development.