Optimizing Your Professional Development

On a bi-weekly basis as an educator at Discovery Days/Kids Connection Child Care Centers you receive professional development blog posts e-mailed directly to you. In addition, you are also made aware of local professional development events in the area, virtually all of which the organization will pay for admittance.  As a management team we are thoroughly committed to the professional development of every one of our employees. Our strength as an organization lies in our employees, and we take pride in ensuring our employees have all the educational resources they need to be successful and feel fulfilled.

This blog post is focused on helping you direct your professional development. Follow the steps below to ensure you are consistently improving as an early childhood education professional.

Review:

Review your most recent performance review. Reflect on areas of the review that highlighted your strengths, and those that highlighted your weaknesses.  Great wisdom can be gained from reviewing your strengths and weaknesses, if you recognize them, and do everything you can to magnify your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Famous author Mark Twain said it best, “Build on your strengths, work on your weaknesses.” Professional development’s core purpose is to increase job performance and workplace success. To receive help with determining what can be done to improve weaknesses, speak with your co-teachers, co-workers, and Directors.  Be open to feedback!

Set Goals:

After you determine what your weaknesses are, commit to working on them by creating short, medium, and long-term goals.  Short term goals can be anywhere from 1 day to 3 months. Medium-term goals take roughly 3 to 36 months to complete.  Any goal that would take longer than 36 months to complete would be considered long-term.

It’s important to break your goals down into short, medium, and long term because by doing so you provide yourself with “stepping stones.” Examples of short, medium, and long-term goals are as follows:

Short-Term: Complete Early Childhood Education 1 and 2 to become “Lead Teacher Certified.”

Medium-term: Complete Early Childhood Education Practicum 1-4, and receive a job offer from one of the locations where the practicum was completed.

Long-term: Finish Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education

As you can see, the short-term goal is a stepping stone to the medium-term goal, which is a stepping stone to the long-term goal.  Completing large tasks like obtaining one’s Associates Degree is much more doable when broken into smaller steps. As you achieve your goals, create new ones! Let your goals be your road map.

Check in Regularly with your Director: While professional development is largely a personal endeavor, your organization is here to help you along the way.  In addition, if the organization’s goals and needs are aligned with yours, a mutually beneficial relationship is built.

Reflect: As your professional life and development continues evolving, make time to reflect. Think deeply about what has worked, what hasn’t, if any of your goals should altered, or how your colleagues and Director can be of assistance.  An effective way to do this is to periodically journal. Journaling has many uses and benefits!

Don’t Hesitate to Adjust: Things don’t always go as we plan them.  Despite having short, medium, and long-term goals, sometimes life can get in the way.  People get pregnant, move, face a family crisis, etc.  To succeed in our professional development, we need to understand although we have plans and goals, but sometimes things change and that’s okay. Goals can be changed, altered, or even discontinued. Your goals may change, and you might want to pursue something else. That’s okay also. Be flexible!

Additional PD Resources for Child Care Professionals:

If you have an interest in creating a personalized professional development plan, please reach out via e-mail, I’m happy to help.

 

 

 

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