Professional Development for Teachers

Professional development is an ongoing process that helps school staff members with enhancing their knowledge and skills related to their profession. In the field of education, professional development for teachers plays a crucial role in ensuring student success. On this page, we will explore what professional development is, why it is important, professional development goals, and how educators can create an effective professional development plan to meet individual and school needs.

Professional development for teachers is a systematic approach to enhancing their knowledge and skills related to teaching. It includes a range of activities, such as attending workshops, conferences, courses, and training sessions, collaborating with colleagues, engaging in research and reading, and reflecting on their teaching practices. Professional development helps teachers stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices, improve their instructional strategies, and adapt to the changing needs of their students.

Professional development audiences have enjoyed TEEN TRUTH’s interactive & thought provoking Professional Development Programs since 2006. As an expert on school culture, social-emotional issues, and mental health, JC Pohl offers real, actionable solutions for teachers and school administrators.

TEEN TRUTH provides comprehensive professional development programs designed exclusively for educators like you. We understand the significance of continuous growth and learning in the field of education. Explore a range of resources and opportunities tailored to elevate your teaching prowess and make a lasting impact on your students’ lives.

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Professional Development Workshops
for Teachers

As mentioned above, professional development workshops for teachers play a vital role in furthering the quality of development by empowering educators with the latest tools, strategies, and insights. These workshops serve as transformative experiences where teachers can engage in meaningful discussions, exchange innovative teaching methodologies, and access resources that elevate their teaching practices. By participating in professional development workshops, teachers not only gain valuable skills that enable them to adapt to evolving educational landscapes, but also develop a renewed sense of enthusiasm and motivation.

Learn about our programs below to see how JC Pohl, offers dynamic and interactive workshops that can be valuable for every type of teacher or school leader.

Conference Keynotes • Interactive Workshops • Virtual Trainings

Available Topics Include:

Campus Relationships

Relationships are the key to any successful life experience, but they are often the hardest thing to cultivate. As a licensed marriage and family therapist JC Pohl understands the importance of meeting each other’s needs, yet many of us don’t know how to simply define those needs. This keynote program will clearly illustrate the relational needs that we all have, and teach attendees how to use this new vocabulary to build stronger connections at work and in life.

Resilient Students

Teens die by suicide each week. Students are crushed by bullying every day. Why can some work through the adversity while others can’t? JC offers a direct pathway to one singular solution: resiliency. It’s the ability to take the hits and keep moving forward. It’s the fortitude to get knocked down and get back up. Based on his popular book, this program offers a blueprint that is guaranteed to unleash the powers of resilience within your students.

School Culture

Building strong school culture should be the first priority of every school leader. It is proven to decrease bullying, enhance academic performance, and increase student engagement. Based on JC’s popular school culture book, this session reveals his framework for giving students a voice and empowering them to take ownership of their school. The methods explored are designed to build resiliency, develop a positive culture, and connect students across your campus.


“JC did an outstanding job stressing culture building themes for our secondary school principals.  His message is the foundation of a safe and supportive school environment.”

Kris J. Olsen, Ed.D.

Co-Director of Professional Learning, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators


What is Professional Development for Teachers?

Professional development for teachers is simply a blueprint for learning effective teaching techniques and strategies. It’s a practice that recognizes nobody starts out as a perfect teacher. Thus, it transforms new teachers into experienced teachers through continuous professional learning with an eye toward the latest classroom trends. Educators carry a heavy responsibility that makes professional development a critical ongoing component for teachers. The best thing new teachers can do to become high-quality educators is to prioritize professional development. So, what makes effective professional development so important?

Professional development for teachers refers to a process of ongoing learning and growth that educators engage in to enhance their teaching skills, pedagogical techniques, subject knowledge, and overall effectiveness in the classroom. It encompasses a wide range of activities, including workshops, seminars, conferences, courses, webinars, collaborative discussions, and self-directed learning. The goal of teacher professional development is to provide educators with opportunities to expand their knowledge, stay updated with the latest educational trends, adopt innovative teaching methods, and improve their ability to meet the diverse needs of their students. This continuous learning process not only benefits teachers themselves but also positively impacts student learning outcomes and the overall quality of education.

Teacher Professional Development encompasses ongoing learning experiences that empower educators to enhance their teaching methods, stay updated with the latest educational trends, and foster a supportive network within the education community. It’s a journey of growth that ultimately benefits both educators and students.

Professional Development Plan Examples for Teachers

Crafting a personalized Professional Development plan is essential for your educational journey. Explore our collection of real-world examples that showcase how teachers have successfully designed their development paths. Get inspired to create a plan that aligns with your aspirations and teaching goals.

Here are a few examples of professional development plans for teachers…

Social-Emotional Wellness

Objective: For students, social-emotional wellness is crucial for creating a positive and supportive learning environment. Educators play a vital role in promoting social-emotional wellness by integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into the curriculum. SEL programs provide students with tools to recognize and manage their emotions, make responsible decisions, develop empathy for others, and build healthy relationships. By fostering social-emotional wellness, schools contribute to students’ overall well-being, mental health, and academic success.

Similarly, teachers’ own social-emotional wellness is essential. Managing the demands of teaching, especially during challenging times, requires educators to prioritize their emotional health. Practicing self-care, seeking support when needed, and developing resilience are crucial aspects of maintaining social-emotional wellness for teachers. When teachers are emotionally well, they can create more inclusive and supportive classroom environments that enable students to thrive both academically and emotionally.

Action Steps for Promoting Social-Emotional Wellness For Students

  • Integrate SEL Curriculum: Develop and implement a structured social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that is age-appropriate and aligned with the students’ developmental stages.
  • Provide Emotion Recognition Tools: Incorporate activities and resources that help students identify and label their emotions, fostering self-awareness.
  • Teach Decision-Making Skills: Introduce lessons that guide students in making responsible decisions by considering potential consequences and ethical considerations.
  • Cultivate Empathy: Integrate activities that encourage students to understand and appreciate others’ perspectives, nurturing empathy and compassion.
  • Facilitate Relationship Building: Design collaborative projects and group discussions to promote teamwork and the development of healthy relationships among students.
  • Offer Mindfulness Practices: Introduce mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing and reflection, to help students manage stress and enhance their emotional regulation.

Action Steps for Promoting Social-Emotional Wellness For Teachers

  • Professional Development on SEL: Provide workshops and training sessions for teachers to deepen their understanding of social-emotional learning and its benefits.
  • Encourage Self-Care Practices: Promote the importance of self-care by organizing sessions that teach stress reduction techniques, time management, and work-life balance.
  • Establish Support Networks: Create platforms for teachers to connect and share experiences, fostering a sense of community and emotional support.
  • Provide Access to Counseling: Offer access to counseling services or wellness programs for teachers, allowing them to address personal challenges and build resilience.
  • Promote Reflection: Encourage teachers to engage in regular self-reflection to assess their emotional well-being and identify areas that require attention.
  • Model SEL Practices: Demonstrate social-emotional skills in interactions with colleagues and students, setting an example for the school community.

By implementing these action steps, schools can effectively promote social-emotional wellness among both students and teachers. This holistic approach contributes to a positive learning environment, improved mental health, and enhanced overall well-being within the school community.

School Culture Development

Objective: School culture development refers to the intentional efforts taken by educators, administrators, and stakeholders to create a positive, inclusive, and conducive environment for learning and personal growth within a school community. School culture encompasses shared values, beliefs, norms, traditions, and practices that shape the overall atmosphere and interactions within the school.

Action Steps:

  • Shared Vision and Values: Establishing a clear and shared vision for the school’s mission and values creates a common purpose that unites the entire community, guiding decision-making and actions.
  • Positive Relationships: Fostering positive relationships among staff, students, parents, and community members is essential. Trust, respect, and open communication contribute to a healthy and supportive school culture.
  • Inclusivity and Diversity: Embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity ensures that every individual feels valued and welcomed, regardless of their background, abilities, or identities.
  • Clear Expectations and Behavior Standards: Defining clear expectations for behavior and conduct helps maintain a safe and respectful environment where everyone understands their role in upholding the school’s values.
  • Effective Communication: Establishing open channels of communication encourages transparency, collaboration, and a sense of belonging within the school community.
  • Professional Development: Providing opportunities for professional growth and learning supports staff members in their roles, enhances their skills, and contributes to a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Celebration of Achievements: Recognizing and celebrating achievements, whether academic, artistic, or personal, reinforces a positive atmosphere and encourages a growth mindset.
  • Student Involvement: Empowering students to have a voice and participate in decision-making processes fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the school’s culture.
  • Supportive Environment: Offering emotional and academic support, as well as resources for physical and mental well-being, demonstrates care for the holistic development of all community members.
  • Conflict Resolution: Equipping the school community with conflict resolution skills helps address disagreements and challenges in a constructive and respectful manner.
  • Continuous Reflection and Improvement: Regularly assessing the school culture and seeking feedback from stakeholders enables adjustments to be made to better align with the school’s goals and values.

Technology Integration Focus

Objective: Enhance proficiency in integrating technology into classroom instruction.

Action Steps:

  • Attend workshops on educational technology tools and platforms.
  • Participate in online courses focused on technology integration.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to share best practices for using technology effectively.
  • Design and implement technology-based lessons to engage students and enhance learning.

Cultural Competency Enhancement

Objective: Develop cultural awareness and competence to better address the diverse needs of students.

Action Steps:

  • Attend diversity and inclusion workshops and seminars.
  • Engage in readings and discussions on culturally responsive teaching.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to create inclusive curriculum and classroom environments.
  • Incorporate diverse perspectives into lesson plans and teaching materials.

Differentiated Instruction Mastery

Objective: Strengthen skills in designing and delivering differentiated lessons for varied student learning styles.

Action Steps:

  • Attend workshops on differentiated instruction strategies.
  • Study resources on tiered assignments, flexible grouping, and individualized learning plans.
  • Implement differentiated lessons across subjects, assessing impact on student engagement and understanding.
  • Reflect on successes and challenges, adjusting strategies based on student outcomes.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Objective: Improve the ability to use student data to inform instructional decisions.

Action Steps:

  • Attend training on data analysis tools and techniques.
  • Collaborate with peers to analyze assessment results and identify student needs.
  • Develop action plans based on data analysis, targeting specific areas for improvement.
  • Monitor progress and adjust teaching strategies based on ongoing data analysis.

Project-Based Learning Proficiency

Objective: Develop expertise in implementing project-based learning to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Action Steps:

  • Attend workshops on project-based learning design and implementation.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to develop interdisciplinary project ideas.
  • Integrate project-based learning units into the curriculum, providing clear learning objectives.
  • Evaluate student projects and reflect on the effectiveness of the approach.

These examples illustrate how professional development plans can be tailored to address specific areas of growth and improvement for teachers. It’s important for teachers to set clear objectives, engage in relevant learning activities, and regularly assess the impact of their professional development efforts on their teaching practices and student outcomes.

Professional Development is Important for Student Growth

There is no secret to outstanding teaching. Becoming a phenomenal educator comes down to resilience, dedication, and professional growth. Teachers must learn how to help and allow others to learn. This development can take time but knowing that your students will benefit through this growth can be a great incentive for teachers.

Encouraging the Success of Newer Teachers

Sadly, 8 percent of teachers quit the education profession every year. This percentage can be even higher for new teachers, as adjusting to a teaching role can be pretty difficult. Whether it’s low salaries, emotionally exhausting work, or a lack of respect for public education, not everyone is cut out to be a teacher.

When new teachers realize that professional growth is possible, the added engagement creates win-win scenarios between teachers and students. Students need good guidance if they’re to achieve academic success. Professional development gives teachers the tools for understanding the needs of their students, facilitating active listening, and increasing student achievement. That is why professional development is vital for new teachers.

Professional Development Impacts Student Learning

With student learning being the goal, it’s clear why better teachers are needed to create better student outcomes. Unhappy educators means unhappy students. Fortunately, professional development improves student learning by promoting excellent teaching methods. As most professional development tools allow educators to produces some truly amazing results. In a nutshell, it’s all about learning to build a perfect classroom for you and your students. Professional development activities are a sure-fire way to increase achievement and help build healthy relationships for both teachers and students.

Professional Development Resources & Opportunities for Schools

Teaching is a demanding job; it’s easy to get so caught up in teaching, grading, and writing lesson plans that you lose track of time. Understandably, burnout is common among educators.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options and resources when it comes to professional development. But, it may be tough to find fulfilling activities on your own, as this would take precious time out of your busy schedule. One solution is to target teams of teachers. You can either plan collaborative activities yourself or reach out to school leaders to set up a school-wide professional development program. You can pursue independent study or encourage school leaders to provide resources.

School Professional Development Activities

We know that teacher professional development is a requirement for district and state standards, but it is also a must-have when it comes to growing skills as a teacher.

Events & Workshops

Workshops are a classic way to get people brainstorming. Multiple heads are better than one, as they say. In-person collaboration events enable teachers to share expertise, exchange ideas, and get feedback. Seminars are a great way to build a professional learning community powered by teamwork.

Online Courses for Professional Development

The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that almost anything can be done online these days. Internet classes make professional learning easily accessible to any teacher from the comfort of their own home! You can take these courses on your own schedule, or school leaders can set them up for faculty to do together. Either way, the internet makes it easy for even the busiest teachers to hone their craft and meet their requirements. Webinars can also be a valuable tool for you to discuss professional development matters on a more flexible schedule and pace.

Social-Emotional Learning Courses & Curriculum

So many inexperienced teachers inadvertently create less-effective learning environments by failing to take student emotions into account. Wrong answers are shunned instead of encouraged, and students can close themselves off to avoid embarrassment. This is human nature, and it goes for adults too. A curriculum emphasizing social-emotional learning (SEL) will provide you with valuable career insights. Plus, you can fit this activity into regular instruction, sparing those coveted classroom hours. SEL is so good for student learning because when students feel emotionally understood, their minds open up, and they become better learners.

To get started with SEL, familiarize yourself with five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, social awareness, and relationship skills. When your students develop these, you’ll notice your teaching skills develop too. Check out TEEN TRUTH’s SEL Curriculum for more information.

Professional Development Connects Teachers & Their Classrooms

There are so many ways to connect with your students. A little bit of inventiveness and compassion goes a long way in the education field. Teacher professional development is a rewarding process that offers nothing but benefits in the long haul. The ultimate goal is to further engagement and improve academic success. However, teachers must choose the best way to address the development of their skills, be it through new teacher programs, traditional training, teacher workshops, continuing education classes, or social-emotional learning educator programs. Connecting with students is an art that takes time and dedication, but it’s a reward you will surely receive when the time and effort are put in.

Getting Started with Teacher Professional Development

How can you get started today? As an individual teacher, you only need to focus on yourself and your own goals. You can sign up for some online courses to take in your free time, set up a seminar for you and your colleagues, or enroll in continuing education classes.

If starting off sounds intimidating, try focusing on a single goal or teaching area that you want to improve. Maybe you want to be more interesting to your students, or perhaps you want to be more involved in the learning process. As you narrow in on individual focus, you have a much better shot at figuring out what works the best for your teaching style.

You might see professional development listed as a number of mandatory hours in some states. However, the truth is that it can’t be wrapped up so tidily in a package. The best educators see growth as an ongoing process that is hard to give up once you start. Once you open your eyes, it’s hard to step out of the professional growth mindset. You’ll continue to see opportunities to engage students and connect in new ways without looking for them. With communication technology rapidly evolving, you may find new ways to teach that no one told you about while in college. Get started with your professional development today!

Why is Professional Development for Teachers Important?

Investing in Teacher Professional Development is investing in the future of education. Continuously improving your teaching skills enhances student engagement, boosts classroom outcomes, and contributes to the overall advancement of the education sector. Teacher professional development holds immense significance as it plays a pivotal role in elevating the quality of education. By equipping educators with innovative teaching methods, up-to-date strategies, and relevant tools, professional development enhances their teaching skills and ensures engaging learning experiences for students. The ever-evolving educational landscape necessitates continuous adaptation, and professional development enables teachers to stay current, delivering lessons that remain relevant in changing times. Ultimately, its impact reverberates through improved student achievements, fostering a culture of innovation, and nurturing teachers’ personal and professional growth. Through collaboration and the exchange of ideas, professional development builds a supportive community of educators, while also promoting inclusive practices that cater to diverse student needs. By embracing data-driven decision-making and lifelong learning, teacher professional development contributes not only to individual teacher success but also to school improvement, higher retention rates, and the advancement of education as a whole.

Professional Development Ideas for Teachers

Discover a treasure trove of innovative and creative Professional Development ideas that cater to various teaching styles and preferences. From exploring new teaching methodologies to incorporating technology effectively, our ideas inspire you to bring fresh perspectives into your classroom and reignite your passion for teaching.

Attend Workshops and Conferences: Engaging in educational workshops and conferences is a valuable way for teachers to stay current in their field. These events offer opportunities to explore new teaching techniques, gain insights into the latest trends in education, and network with colleagues. By attending such gatherings, educators can bring fresh ideas and strategies back to their classrooms, ultimately benefiting their students.

Online Courses: The convenience of online courses and webinars makes them a popular choice for professional development. Teachers can select courses that align with their specific interests or areas for growth, whether it’s mastering a new teaching methodology, learning about emerging technology tools, or delving into subjects related to their field. These digital learning opportunities are flexible and can be pursued at one’s own pace.

Peer Observations: Peer observations are a valuable form of professional development that fosters collaboration among teachers. By observing colleagues’ classes and providing constructive feedback, educators can learn from one another’s teaching methods and classroom management techniques. This practice not only encourages professional growth but also builds a sense of community and support among staff.

Curriculum Development: As educational standards and best practices evolve, teachers must adapt their curriculum to ensure it remains relevant and effective. Professional development in curriculum development equips educators with the tools and knowledge needed to create engaging, up-to-date lesson plans that align with evolving educational goals.

Educational Technology Training: The integration of technology into education is an ongoing process. Teachers can benefit from professional development focused on educational technology, such as learning to use online learning platforms, interactive whiteboards, and educational software. Acquiring these skills ensures that educators can leverage technology to enhance their teaching and engage students effectively.

Reflective Journals: Keeping a reflective journal is a self-directed form of professional development. By documenting their teaching experiences, challenges, and successes, educators can gain valuable insights into their practices. This reflective process promotes continuous improvement and helps teachers refine their teaching methods.

Professional Learning Communities: Engaging in professional learning communities, whether formal or informal, provides teachers with a forum for collaborative professional development. These communities allow educators to share best practices, discuss challenges, and work together to find innovative solutions to common issues. By participating in such communities, teachers build a support network that can contribute to their ongoing growth and development.

These professional development ideas are not only essential for the growth and improvement of teachers but also directly benefit the students they serve by enhancing the quality of education they receive.

Effective Professional Development for Teachers 

Effective Professional Development is more than just attending workshops – it’s about embracing a holistic approach to growth. Dive into strategies that encompass self-reflection, peer collaboration, and actionable goal-setting. Transform your learning experiences into tangible improvements that positively impact your teaching and your student’s achievements. 

Free Online Professional Development for Teachers

There is a wealth of free online professional development opportunities available for teachers, catering to a wide range of subjects and teaching strategies. Platforms like Coursera, edX, Khan Academy, and TeachThought offer a variety of courses that can be accessed at no cost. Additionally, websites such as Edutopia, ASCD, and the National Education Association (NEA) provide webinars, articles, and resources to support educators’ growth. Online communities like Twitter chats and educational forums enable teachers to connect with peers and exchange ideas. Open educational resources (OER) repositories like OER Commons offer free teaching materials, lesson plans, and educational content. These avenues empower teachers to enhance their skills, learn about the latest educational trends, and collaborate with educators from around the world, all without financial barriers.

Professional Development Goals for Teachers

Set clear and achievable Professional Development Goals that guide your educational journey. Whether it’s enhancing classroom management techniques, mastering a specific subject, or adopting innovative technology, our platform empowers you to outline and pursue goals that resonate with your passion for teaching.

Professional Development Learning Goals for Teachers

Professional development learning goals for teachers serve as focal points for their growth and improvement. Here are some examples of such goals:

Technology Integration Mastery: Enhance proficiency in effectively incorporating technology tools into classroom instruction, enabling more engaging and interactive learning experiences for students.

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Develop a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and adopt strategies that create an inclusive classroom environment, catering to the unique needs and backgrounds of all students.

Differentiated Instruction Expertise: Strengthen skills in designing lessons that accommodate various learning styles and abilities, ensuring every student has the opportunity to excel.

Data-Driven Decision Making: Improve the ability to analyze student performance data to inform instructional strategies, identifying areas for improvement and adapting teaching methods accordingly.

Project-Based Learning Implementation: Acquire the skills to design and execute effective project-based learning units that foster critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills among students.

Assessment and Feedback Proficiency: Enhance expertise in creating meaningful assessments that accurately measure student understanding, along with providing constructive feedback that supports further learning.

Collaborative Teaching Strategies: Develop strategies to work collaboratively with colleagues, facilitating the sharing of best practices, resources, and innovative ideas to enhance the overall teaching and learning experience.

Incorporating Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): Learn techniques to infuse social-emotional learning into the curriculum, helping students develop essential life skills such as self-awareness, empathy, and effective communication.

Leadership and Mentorship Skills: Cultivate leadership abilities by mentoring newer educators, facilitating workshops, or taking on leadership roles within the school community.

Professional Learning Network (PLN) Development: Build a strong PLN through active participation in education-related forums, attending conferences, and engaging in online discussions to stay informed about the latest trends and research in education.

Sustainable Self-Care Practices: Prioritize personal well-being by developing strategies for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, reducing stress, and nurturing one’s mental and emotional health.

These learning goals guide teachers’ professional development efforts, providing clear directions for enhancing their teaching skills, improving student outcomes, and contributing positively to the education community.

JC Pohl’s Background & Biography

JC Pohl is a producer and speaker who has impacted more than 12 million people in 8,000+ schools. He has produced ground breaking programs such as TEEN TRUTH and RISING UP, and award-winning content for companies such as Warner Brothers, ESPN, and Disney. He has also provided innovative educational content for The American Film Institute and Human Relations Media.

His school culture work with TEEN TRUTH has sent him around the world, inspiring students, educators, and parents to build school culture and empower student voice. During his career, Pohl has been featured on news programs, podcasts, and has received front-page coverage on USA Today and Yahoo! Sports. He has personally reached students in over 1,200 schools and keynoted conferences for CADA, TASC, BOOST, NASC, LEAD, NCSA, ACE, DECA, Texas School Safety Center, SC AMLE, and the PTA. Additionally, he has consulted for brands such as Six Flags, Universal Studios, Lifetouch, Union Pacific, Special Olympics, The Miami Dolphins, The Baltimore Ravens, and SHRM Chapters in Maine, New England, and Texas.

To compliment TEEN TRUTH, he has also developed RISING UP, a self-development program designed to teach students to build resiliency in the face of adversity. Launched in 2013, Pohl’s RISING UP: Coaching Program has reached tens of thousands of students across the country and consists of a peer-to-peer curriculum used by school counselors, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas School Safety Center, 21st Century ACE Centers, Communities in Schools and other leading education related organizations across the country.

Pohl is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University, San Marcos, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing from Santa Clara University. Additionally, he has sat on the board of the Austin Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and manages a small private practice for select counseling clients. You can find him on Facebook and LinkedIn or connect directly at

Past Professional Development Clients

AASA • NAESP • NSBA • NASC • CADA • NAWD • MSAA • TASSP • TASC • COSA • KASA • BOOST • AWSA • LEAD • NCSA • MASC • DECA • TSCA • OASC • CHSAA • OSTI-CON • GAEL • NHASP • NDCEL • PASA • SC AMLE • WA DSHA • WSPTA • Union Pacific Principals Partnership • Texas School Safety Center

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