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My introduction to CPD

Chris Mutch found that during his probation period, all roads led to CPD.

Music Teacher, St Thomas Aquinas School, Glasgow

As a probationer teacher, you will be required to take part in CPD activities. In August, I didn't really understand what this would include and was unsure whether I would be able to fulfil the number of hours expected.

Progressing through the year, it became clear that almost everything I did to further my teaching was CPD.

Varied opportunities

As part of the Standard for Full Registration, you must fill out a form detailing your CPD. The sheet is broken into three columns: Local and National, School, Personal.

These make it easier for you to break down activities over the year.

Local and national level CPD

The local authority provided an excellent one-day CPD course every month discussing local and national priorities or classroom based skills, each counting as separate CPD activities.

The authority also provided twilight sessions, an opportunity to further explore areas of interest to me.

At a local authority level I became involved in a "Teachers for Excellence" probationers group. The group produced a bulletin for probationers across the local authority, providing them with information about the Teachers for Excellence documents. This gave me a chance to look closely at the documentation, learning more about national priorities in teaching.

CPD allows teachers to become engaged in professional debate, and such groups are an excellent way for young and enthusiastic teachers to air their views and learn from each other. Listening to more experienced colleagues is a great way of finding out what people see as the major issues in teaching.

School level CPD

Every school in-service day will cover some form of CPD. My school has covered a wide range of topics including:

  • enterprise
  • restorative justice
  • teaching observations
  • how good is our school?

Each of these talks gave me a chance to see how a school deals with particular issues.

I've learned a lot from listening to group and whole school discussions with staff keen to share their experience in order to make informed judgements. Listening to more experienced colleagues is a great way of finding out what people see as the major issues in teaching.

Personal CPD

At a personal level I have tried to cover many different areas of CPD in order to benefit my own teaching. I took the S1 boys' football team in order to build extra-curricular experience, raising my profile in the school. I used it as a chance to observe and be observed in a different area of the school to my usual classroom.

As well as learning that I am definitely not an Alex Ferguson in the making, I discovered that I developed skills not necessarily being called upon everyday.

I also took part in a cine-club, supported study, awards ceremony, Christmas concert and school show. Each event taught me something new about teaching through the experiences it brought.

CPD allows me the chance to learn about the profession, then reflect on, and improve my skills.

Throughout the year, I have attempted to keep up to date with teaching methodology. I know I work best when I can read about something first, then put it into practice. I've read books covering formative assessment, positive discipline, learning styles and have also kept up to date on national publications. These have allowed me to experiment in my own teaching.

I still haven't found a style that I am always comfortable with and I'm still looking for better ways to teach things. CPD allows me the chance to learn about the profession, then reflect on, and improve my skills.

CPD opportunities

The probation year is full of opportunities. I've gained a huge amount of experience through formal and informal CPD and look to continue this approach throughout my teaching.