Professional development as ‘being present’


Teachers are expected to continue to develop themselves professionally, but what does professional development really look like to teachers?  How do we measure it?  How do we know it has occurred?  Is it about formal studies and gaining academic qualifications?  Is it about experience?  Is it about teaching practice?

As teachers, we know that learning is social.  We know that learning is incremental. We learn day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year, through our interactions with the environment and the communities in which we find ourselves.  We learn through discussion and dialogue.  We learn through sharing knowledge with others and discovering how others think or how they do things.  And as we learn from them, they learn from us.  As we teach them, they teach us.    Could this simply be what professional development looks like?

So yes, while I think professional development can be about formal study, qualifications, experience and practice – it is so much more.  It is also about engagement, interactions and commitment.  It is about being present.  We are teachers because we want to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals.  We want to positively influence our communities.  And so, we engage – we interact – we commit – we are present.  Through this ongoing professional engagement with others, our own professional development is nurtured.

What are your views on professional development?  What do you think professional development looks like for teachers?  What kinds of professional development challenges have you faced?  What kinds of professional development successes have you had?

I would love to hear from you.  Together, let’s commit to the ongoing professional development of teachers.


Gaynor Clarke

B.Ed (Teaching), Cert Tertiary Teaching, PGDip Ed, MEd Leadership

Reach. Teach. Lead.

Reach Education Ltd

Contact Gaynor for all your teacher professional development, teacher mentoring, leadership development and educational workshop requirements