Posted in Teaching Life

Professional Development and the Itinerant

Heading back to school can be a dread or something you genuinely look forward to. I really do look forward to getting back to work, seeing my students, and all of my colleagues. I love summer break, but it is temporary and now it is time to get back to ten month reality.

Carrying my world on my back

I think the one thing I do not look forward to is staff development or professional development. Not because I know everything…haha; I have lots to learn and love growing personally and professionally. It is the disconnect I have with what is offered. I say this with no disrespect to my employer, because I know it is difficult to find topics and presentations that fit a large organization. I have personally served on the planning committee and know it is difficult to find specific, helpful and relevant sources or presenters. Finding the perfect presenter or topic for hundreds of people is never going to happen.

With this being said I try to approach these moments with patience and grace. I listen for gems I can take away and add to my teaching treasure chest. I also try to seek out professional enrichment else where.

Motivational Speakers

I often enjoy these presentations. They are typically filled with true stories and humor. Who doesn’t need a back to school laugh?! Most of this humor is generated from a personal struggle. I can really appreciate the effort and inner determination people have to turn what could be percieved as a weakness and turn it into a strength. Hearing how they have turned struggles into success stories is inspiring. I also sometimes see past and present students within these stories of fear, frustration, isolation and lack of acceptance. I emphasize and try to think of ways I can turn these issues into non issues or head them off.


These can be good or bad. I love the idea of finding new information at the click of a button however, getting everything you want in one webinar can be a challenge.

  • Some are filled with amazing content
  • Some are easy to listen to
  • Some are visually appealing and engaging

Still searching for one that is the trifecta!

If you have watched or participated in a great webinar for teachers of the deaf, please share back! I know that Karen Anderson’s website and group of professionals puts out things of value, but I am sure there must be others….I just haven’t found yet.

Online Resources

Articles and Ted talks are a great way to keep up to date on advancement in deaf education, technology, finding motivation. I often will share out any good ideas with my colleagues. I have to admit I could be better at using these resources. The internet is always there. You can learn something new from your couch in your pjs!

Guest Speakers

If I have the opportunity to get information from a person who is job specific I find this incredibly rewarding. These sort of opportunities are very limited. I know my field is very specific, but getting information in this forum is probably my favorite.


This is a resource that I have just started to dabble in. I have found that there are great groups out there. I can’t get hours for PD from comments and discussions, but I have read and learned alot from really great professionals. I enjoy knowing that questions I have maybe foriegn to the teachers I work with but not to the TOD community. Some people are out there driving MILES everyday, some are literally the only one in a large area and others are teaching in schools for the deaf-each of these people are relatable. It takes a village to raise a good teacher too!

Focus Group

I am very fortunate to work with a handful of TODs. We are an excellent team. We support and offer advice whenever needed. We try to meet on a monthly basis. Time is precious, but it is worth it when you get back so much. We provide each other support via email and texts. It is great to have a mini tribe to bounce ideas of of or just vent about things….if you are itinerant you know there are things that we do and see that typical classroom teachers never struggle with.

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How do you Grow?

I would love to hear from you.


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