As professional educators, teachers have to be at the top of their game at all times. Though they spend most days interacting with students in an instructional capacity, teachers still must take time to update their skills and proficiency, so they can be as prepared and proactive as possible for their students. But if teachers are busy teaching, what time do they have for ongoing professional education and training? One way this is addressed for educators is through professional development days built into the academic calendar.


Professional development days are in-service training days for educators. They are scheduled throughout the school year, and during the summer in many cases, so teachers have time set aside to work together on things that impact students. These days can be used to target a certain grade level or subject area, new instructional methods and/or technologies, or the education system as a whole. The purpose of professional development days is to provide opportunities for professional growth in a collaborative setting. Students don’t attend classes on professional development days; they get a day off from school.


Sometimes in-service days are provided as teacher workdays, during which educators work in their own individual classrooms to attend to the needs of their specific students. Workdays give teachers time to accomplish tasks such as updating lesson plans, preparing materials, completing student assessments, and sometimes even having parent conferences. But other professional development days are set aside to help educators sharpen their skills and expand their knowledge on a larger scale.


Many professional development days involve a full-day seminar for all educators and administrators at a school; however, they sometimes include a series or assortment of seminars from which the professional educators can choose, to target educational topics that address their more specific needs. Some professional development days bring together colleagues from various local schools or assorted school districts from around the state. Many are held on-site for school-specific development days but can be held at district or other facilities as space requires. Some are public events with topics related specifically to education that educators can attend, either as a group or as an individual, at off-site conference centers or other similar locations.


The most effective professional development days help educators by presenting relevant research in the field, and tips and tools that can be used to further support students. Successful professional development days leave teachers better prepared and more enthusiastic about helping their students learn.

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