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. As an expert on school culture, social-emotional issues, and mental health, JC Pohl offers real, actionable solutions for teachers and school administrators.

Watch JC Pohl’s

Professional Development Speaker Reel

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


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

What Is Professional Development for Teachers?

Teacher professional development 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 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 recent 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!

JC Pohl’s Background & Biography

JC Pohl is a producer and speaker who has impacted more than 12 million people in 7,000+ 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

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