CPD is my Everest!

Lauren Paterson is prepared for anything following herĀ probation CPD experience.

Modern Studies Teacher, Forrester High School, Edinburgh

Examining my probation timetable for the first time in August last year, I could think of only one thing: "Look at all the non-contact time!". How would I ever fill this with Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

Fast forward six quick months and now I have an answer: very easily!

The reason for this is relatively simple. As a probationer, I have been assured by all ranks within the teaching profession that this CPD time is a Godsend (particularly by those that can count the weeks, days and minutes, perhaps even seconds until the next holiday), and that I should use this time to get as much experience as possible under my belt.

Using CPD time for CPD

I've found that it's exceedingly tempting to become a victim of over-preparation, or to use CPD time to check my emails for the tenth time that day.

However I don't want to look back in years to come and know that I could have been a better teacher if I'd used this time more wisely. I've set about making the most of it, and what a challenge! This, folks, is my Everest.

The best of CPD

So far, I have a few rather varied CPD experiences that have stood out.


Shadowing is not to be underestimated. I think this without doubt the most useful experience I've had to improve my own practice. Luckily, teachers don't copyright strategies and there's always something you can nab from someone else. I'm always "on the scrounge" for new ideas!

Mentor Meetings

As well as the obvious agendas we get through, I also use it as a self-assuring exercise to ensure I'm still actually doing my job properly. Sometimes the responsibility of being a teacher still catches up with me, often after that darn recurring nightmare in which everyone fails their exams!

Corridor Duty

Corridor Duty is something that I never exactly look forward to, but know it's for the greater good. Getting to know the pupils and having a chat outside the four walls of the classroom has paid off, even if I'm now known as the teacher that loves Hollyoaks.

CPD courses

CPD coursesĀ are a chance to reassess your sanity when you speak to other probationers who are going through it with you, who have the most genuine empathetic expressions when you speak about marking your latest set of prelims or you're just not quite cracking 'that' class. I'm not alone! Thank goodness for that.

Could I do more?

Don't be fooled though. There are always times where I always think to myself "I could be doing more" or "I could have got more out of doing that". Admittedly, I'm never exactly steaming in with bags of enthusiasm, eagerly at the edge of my seat, waiting to be taught how to be the most amazing teacher that ever did grace this land.

I do, however, think CPD is about taking at least one thing away with you, in whatever form of experience. And I know that as wisely as I use my time, these things just don't happen overnight.

Make the most of it

One thing that I do know is that in making the most of my CPD time, all the little things that I've learned in every activity have culminated in making me a more confident, creative and informed teacher.

So, I'll continue bulking up those hours of CPD. After all, time's starting to run out before my next teaching job where I'll see those non-contacts magically morph into teaching periods (and covers!).

And, because of CPD, I know I'll be prepared!