Ongoing, strategic professional development is the most important thing a CTE teacher or administrator can do. Teaching can be a very isolating activity, especially for a CTE teacher. Many times there is only one or two CTE teachers in a pathway in a building so the opportunity to collaborate on new innovations in the industry or best practices is very small. Everyone knows what academic teachers do but often the CTE teacher is the only one in the building who understands what CTE is and how it needs to be done.
It is important for each CTE teacher to create a professional development plan and share it with their administrator. The best situation is the administrator fully understands CTE and expects and supports the teacher’s need for good professional development. There are several different things that needs to go into the plan, first is that the teacher maintains any industry licenses or credentials needed to be able to teach their subject matter which may require training and skill development. The second thing that needs to be in the plan is any training needed to stay updated with the necessary pedagogy required to teach effectively. The third part of the plan needs to be involvement in their professional organization. For some teachers this is a last thought, for the CTE teacher it is the most important part of the plan.
ACTE provides professional development opportunities at every level, local, state, and the national. There are direct connections with industry and other CTE professionals. There are countless amounts of resources available that can be implemented immediately into classrooms. There are opportunities to further develop leadership skills and most importantly are the numerous ways to network with people all around the country in situations just like they are.
ACTE Career Tech Vision is the yearly national convention that is Disneyland for CTE teachers. There is so much to see and do it can be a bit overwhelming for new CTE teachers or first timers to the conference. There are strands devoted to specific pathways, leadership trainings and skill development, the opportunity to see and explore the cutting-edge innovations in industry, and the absolute best place to network and meet new people.
I have been to Career Tech Vision at least a dozen times and I am never disappointed. There are two things that struck me when I first started attending, one was the enormity of the event and the second was that I was welcomed by everyone and encouraged to become an integral part of the organization. I attended the state leadership training and had the pleasure of meeting several people on the staff in the national office and throughout the conference and on into the next years they would always stop when we met in the huge conference environment and say, hi. At first I was shocked. Now I know that is how it is in ACTE. It is truly an organization for the members. It is an organization that takes their job of working for the members and helping them become strong leaders very seriously.
As a CTE administrator I always encourage, expect, our CTE teachers to become an active member of ACTE and will always find funds to support their participation in ACTE Career Tech Vision.