No matter how bad the economy gets, educational institutions offer trainings of one sort or another. These can prove invaluable to your journey in the classroom so seize them whenever you can. Get on mailing lists of educational publishers, sometimes they will offer a free seminar for their product. Subscribe to RSS feeds of blogs that offer training courses. These can be on anything in education from behavioral management to holistic therapy techniques. I know the latter sounds “out there” but we should all be open to new ideas if we ever going to transform education. You can also seek out trainings in your area and then inquire to your supervisor about getting funded to attend. Most districts and schools are very into professional development, they want to develop the talent they have within. To them, it is an investment. To you it equals mastery, wisdom, and clarity in the teaching profession.
I recommend getting a cork board by your desk area to post all your certificates you get at trainings. This can be a real boost when it starts filling up. Plus, it shows your students and adult walk-throughs that you are someone who values life-long learning. They are like your trophies. You should display them proudly. 11 years ago I saw a flyer about a classroom management seminar being offered at a local hotel. I approached my prncipal about it and I was able to get it 100% funded, including my lunch and gas. It was for a program called “CHAMPS” that I have drawn from ever since. It didn’t work for me as a complete system but it got me out of my classroom and into conversations with other teachers about a very challenging topic. I get flyers in my box all the time about professional development but over time teachers get jaded and that has happened a bit to me. I’m going to be on the lookout for training opportunities and I’m passing that inspiration along.