How to DIY Your Professional Development (for when you have to)

by | Mar 19, 2018

You might be asking yourself Why would I need to DIY my own Professional Development?  Well, tell me if any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • A staff meeting that doesn’ t connect with your discipline.
  • A speaker who doesn’t have an understanding of the dynamics of your school.
  • A professional development session that doesn’t speak to who you are as an educator.
  • An initiative that doesn’t align to you the reasons you are a teacher.

If any of these resonate – then you should consider DIYing your own PD.

Here are some ideas:

Build Your IRL PLN

Soft Skills in education Creating your own PLN (professional learning network) IRL (in real life) is a sure fire way to build in accountability and depth to your professional development.


Education conferences are excellent learning opportunities and great places to meet like-minded educators. Conferences offer a way to stay up-to-date on what is happening in your field and allows you to have lively and important discussions with colleagues.

Book studies

Gathering around a book is a great way for educators to come together and engage in meaningful conversations. They can bring their own experiences and concerns to the table and develop new idea and plans for their practice. Joy in Teaching’s new book is a great example of an education book that lends itself to book studies and tailored professional development and it has a companion workbook to guide educators through discussions, reflections, inventories, action plans, and much, much more.

Build Your VR PLN

Teachers vs. Principals Building your VR (virtual reality) PLN (professional learning network) is a great way connect with others while maintaining the hectic schedule of an educator.


I once thought that forums were over with, then a teacher sent me a message stating that she was sharing a Joy in Teaching event on a couple and my world opened up. Online forums are alive and well. These can be a great place to connect with teachers. Most have forums dedicated to specific concerns, disciplines, and methods. Here are some links to the largest education forums out there: A to Z Teacher This site is a great place to find a variety of conversations on topics you are interested in. This site is HUGE and offers lots of niche boards. Proteacher This site has many dedicated posters who are quick to engage in meaningful online discussions.

Social Media

Social media offers a variety of platforms for educators to meet and discuss a variety of topics. Although some social media promotes a sort of superficial sharing, there are some platforms that provide opportunities for more authentic engagement.


Twitter can be overwhelming when looked at it as a whole, but finding scheduled chats can be a great way to find a group of educators to have meaningful discussions. Here are some popular education chat hashtags: #edchat #blendchat #pblchat #lrnchat Also, you can follow Joy in Teaching twitter by clicking here or following @drtiffanycarr

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups offer a variety of privacy when discussing sensitive topics or concerns. There are open groups that everyone can see everything – whether they are a member or not. There are private groups, like the Joy in Teaching group, that only the approved members in the group can see and engage in private conversations. And, there are secret groups that are unsearchable and only accessible by invitation. There are groups for everyone. Joy in Teaching’s group is private, provides members a safe space to discuss education issues related to teacher resilience, and offers regular inspirational and motivational content and links. If you aren’t a member you can join FREE by clicking here.

Take A New Course

data driven results - testing Courses, courses everywhere. From local education agencies to online universities, MOOCs and uncredited trainings and support it seems that everywhere you turn there are programs available to better yourself. If you aren’t finding meaningful ways to grow ask around or search the internet – there is a course waiting that is perfect for you and your needs.

Build Your Library

Books - professional development No teacher is complete without his/her personal library. And yes, I took pulled a bunch of my teacher books out and laid them on the floor for this picture. Every teacher has there own set of books that have inspired their practice and informed who they are as an educator. Finding an education author that connects to you can be the perfect way to DIY your PD. If you are looking for a new book, you are in luck, Joy in Teaching’s book (and companion workbook) is a research-based framework of action, perfect for book studies and professional development, as well as personal reading. It clearly lays out methods and tools to boost teacher resilience, reduce job-related stress, and support career retention in schools. Click below to learn more about this unique book and how it can transform your professional development.



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