Autism training, professional development, workshops, no matter what you call it, all of us need it, but few receive it. Some of us dread the idea of training of any kind because it means sitting in a stuffy conference room all day, listening to someone talk endlessly about “fluff” and you go home thinking you wasted your time because you haven’t learned anything. But that doesn’t always have to happen. An engaging trainer with great strategies leaves you renewed, focused and ready to tackle anything! So, before you give up on professional development all together, here are 5 reasons why you need more autism training and what it CAN actually do for you.
1- There is always something to learn!
Okay, I know it sounds cliché, but there is always something new to learn! I literally learn something new every day from my students, colleagues, or friends. A great training teaches you something new, but also leaves you contemplating new ideas for your classroom. Ideas in education are always evolving and changing, and because of this, there is always something new to learn. Attending autism training, in particular, is an easy way to learn something valuable and gain new skills to implement in your classroom.
2- Become more effective!
When you attend autism training, you become more effective at your job. This is a benefit to you, your students (both autistic and non-autistic) and your administration. Teachers work tirelessly every day. I can’t even tell you how many times I have begged for more hours in the day so I could finish an IEP, get ready for a meeting, or evaluate a reluctant student. From planning, prepping and creating, to pre-teaching, teaching, and re-teaching, teachers are stretched far too thin. We work endless hours, many after our contractual obligations, to try and create the perfect environment for learning. Getting adequate training makes you more effective as a teacher because you will learn better techniques to organize, plan, and implement.
3- Increase standards!
By getting autism training, you are becoming a better teacher. By becoming a more effective teacher, you are raising the bar for yourself, your students, and your colleagues. When standards are high, people will rise to them. By getting training, you are raising the bar for everyone else around you, making for a challenging, but not frustrating, environment of focused, and dedicated learners.
4- Engaged teachers equals happy teachers!
By attending autism training, you are dedicating yourself to a specific amount of time toward the betterment of you and your classroom. Getting periodic training allows for a teacher to reengage in their learning and test out newfound skills. You will end the struggles, be more productive and fulfill your responsibilities with ease. Teachers who are engaged about training and learning something new get excited. This excitement is contagious and will boost the morale of those around you. There is nothing more exhilarating than coming back from a training and sharing your knowledge with your colleagues. And there’s nothing more exciting than being able to connect with and fully support your students on the autism spectrum.
5- Decreases burnout!
At some point, burnout happens. We feel used, abused, and burned by our profession. We put in far too much time, energy, and attention to our work and feel that it goes underappreciated. Attending a training will give you a chance to learn new techniques that will make you more effective and efficient. Learning ways to increase your production without sacrificing more time and energy decreases the likelihood of burnout. A decrease in burnout rates means a decrease in attrition rates. This is a bonus for you and your school district! You get a renewed sense of support and focus, and they receive a more grounded, efficient and effective teacher. Having new and fresh ideas swirling in your head makes you more flexible, happy, and ready to teach again! Now, who doesn’t like the sound of that?
This guest post is by Trisha Katkin, a special education teacher in NH. She has her Master’s in Education and currently holds 3 teaching certificates in General Special Education, Learning Disabilities and Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities. She is the mother of 3 beautiful, and amazingly talented girls. She has been a guest speaker several times at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability in their Behavioral Workshops and at the Summer Behavioral Summit. She has been featured on Autism Talk, KerryMagro.com, The American Autism Association and Geek Club Books. Her projects promoting autism awareness have also been featured on The Mighty. She is a crusader for students with autism and fights to spread awareness for teachers, parents, and advocates who need help. She writes a blog at TRISHAKATKIN.COM where her posts consist of actionable step-by-step advice and tips that can be implemented immediately.
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