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Paying for own training courses?

Discussion in 'Professional development' started by gemmamck, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Hi Guys,

    Just wondered whether anyone here has ever paid for their own training courses? There are some really good independent training courses I want to go on that my school will not fund. I am an NQT and feel so many areas I could do with more info and advice on. Has anyone else ever done this? Feedback from my colleagues is that it is just allowing another area of my life to be taken over! Would love to hear your thoughts!
  2. Dodros

    Dodros Lead commenter

    Well, maybe not a training course, but when I was an NQT forty years ago, the first thing I did was to enrol on a part-time MA course in one of my subjects, German, at my local university, paying for the two year course (one evening a week) entirely out of my own pocket. I didn't want to break the study habit established by my first degree plus PGCE. I went on to do an MEd soon afterwards, again entirely self-funded. Over the years, I attended my subject association's annual conference and also international computer-assisted language learning conferences, also paid for by myself.
    I believe that a willingness to fund one's own professional development is a signal that one is prepared to invest in oneself. Schools recognising that readiness will often begin investing in you. If I had ever spotted a course that I really wanted to attend, I would have moved heaven and earth to go, including paying for everything myself and even offering to pay for cover. I've never been in that position, but there's no point in joining the "I'll wait till the senior management send me on a course" brigade, who will usually wait in vain for the call.
    In case it sounds as though I had more money than I knew what to do with, I have to say that I rationed my professional development to what I could afford. You can learn a lot without spending much by joining a subject association and attending a Saturday morning or weekday evening CPD session. That subject association will provide you with professional journals to keep up with what is going on. You can learn a lot too by looking at problems here on the TES Forum and researching your answers. Good luck!
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    In an ideal world, schools would have ample funding and would encourage teachers to undergo professional development by attending external courses. (Income tax rates would be 10%, full employment, all students would love learning, teachers and nurses would earn enough to live in mansions and drive limos....)
    In reality, schools have found it difficult to measure benefits from teachers attending some courses, and have severe funding constraints. The response of most schools is that they organise a range of internal training opportunities as this reduces the cost and means that they can direct people. The quality varies, the long term benefits probably vary.
    The main focus of an NQT year is to show competence in all the areas you need, by teaching your students well. Your first places to look should be colleagues. My school runs regular support sessions for NQTs where support is given I suspect most big schools do this.
    Subject associations may put on useful sessions, at one time LEAs would have organised courses for NQTs. My LEA now barely exists as far as secondary ed is concerned - most schools have become academies.
    The benefit of going to an external course is the chance to talk to people from other institutions and to see how other schools choose to manage things. This is what has been removed from the professional development of teachers. I have had almost no professional conversations with anyone from outside my school in the last academic year. This is a source of sorrow.
    My advice - remember that you're now a practitioner rather than a student. Teaching is what they want you to do. You can learn a lot by observing your surroundings, finding out what your managers want, and making your won judgements on what things work with your own students. You need to find ways of having professional conversations with people in and out of your school.
    Maybe you also ought to find a colleague in a neighbouring school with whom you can meet up every month or half term for a beer / coffee / piece of cake and a good chinwag.
    Yes, if all else fails, investing some of your own money in training can be worth it. It's what the government wants students to do.
    Best wishes for the year,

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