Special education teachers tackle challenges with grace and style and know how to hustle when they need to. They are a unique bunch that doesn't stop at “no,” and are willing to do anything for their students. Trisha Katkin is one who stands out from the bunch! She works endless hours for her students and, lately, she’s been working after-hours on ways to help other special education teachers to become better at working with students on the autism spectrum.
Trisha believes that all special education teachers need ongoing training and professional development, but few receive it. She says that most teachers (her included) dread the idea of workshops because it means sitting in a stuffy conference room all day, listening to someone talk endlessly about “fluff” and then you go home thinking you wasted your time because you haven’t learned anything. But that doesn’t always have to happen. According to Trisha, great training leaves you renewed, focused and ready to tackle anything! So, before you give up on professional development altogether, take a look at her top 5 reasons why you need more training and what it CAN actually do for you:
1- There is always something to learn!
Okay, I know it sounds cliché, but there is always something new to learn! I literally learn something new every day from my students, colleagues, or friends. A great training teaches you something new but also leaves you contemplating new ideas for your classroom. Ideas in education are always evolving and changing, and because of this, there is always something new to learn. Attending a training is an easy way to learn something valuable and gain new skills to implement in your classroom.
2- Become more effective!
When you attend a training, you become more effective at your job. This is a benefit to you and your administration. Teachers work tirelessly every day. I can’t even tell you how many times I have begged for more hours in the day so I could finish an IEP, get ready for a meeting, or evaluate a reluctant student. From planning, prepping and creating, to pre-teaching, teaching, and re-teaching, teachers are stretched far too thin. We work endless hours, many after our contractual obligations, to try and create the perfect environment for learning. Getting adequate training makes you more effective as a teacher because you will learn better techniques to organize, plan, and implement.
3- Increase standards!
This is one of the best reasons to obtain more training. By getting training, you are becoming a better teacher. By becoming a more effective teacher, you are raising the bar for yourself, your students, and your colleagues. When standards are high, people will rise to them. By getting training, you are raising the bar for everyone else around you, making for a challenging, but not frustrating, the environment of focused, and dedicated learners.
4- Engaged teachers equals happy teachers!
By attending a training, you are dedicating yourself to a specific amount of time toward the betterment of you and your classroom. Getting periodic training allows for a teacher to re-engage in their learning and test out new found skills. You will no longer struggle, be more productive, and fulfill your responsibilities with ease. Teachers who are engaged in training and learning something new get excited. This excitement is contagious and will boost the morale of those around you. There is nothing more exhilarating than coming back from a training and sharing your knowledge with your colleagues.
5- Decreases burn out!
It happens to almost all of us at some time. We feel used, abused, and burned by our profession. We put in far too much time, energy, and attention to our work and feel that it goes underappreciated. Attending a training will give you a chance to learn new techniques that will make you more effective and efficient. Learning ways to increase your production without sacrificing more time and energy decreases the likelihood of burnout. A decrease in burnout rates means a decrease in attrition rates. This is a bonus for you and your school district! You get a renewed sense of support and focus, and they receive a more grounded, efficient and effective teacher. Having new and fresh ideas swirling in your head makes you more flexible, happy, and ready to teach again! Now, who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Trisha Katkin has developed “The Autism Quilt,” a self-paced program with 30 full-day online professional development workshops for the overworked special education teacher and inclusive class educators. She offers practical strategies that strengthen the fibers between IEP members, increase student engagement, and decrease burnout. Click here to find out more. For even more support, join her Facebook Group for Special Educators, Autism Teachers Unite!
Jodi Murphy is the founder of Geek Club Books, a 501c3 charity with an autism education and empowerment mission. They produce interactive children’s stories as apps, curriculum, digital media, and blog content to change perceptions and end stigmas surrounding autism. And they hire autistic talent to do it! Sign up for Geek Club Books mailing list for free interactive comics, resource guides, curriculum, audio stories and more: http://geekclubbooks.com/autism-bundle