Having a Personal Development Plan Is Beneficial for Teachers

What is a Personal Development Plan?

personal development plan
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A Personal Development Plan (PDP), also called a Plan of Improvement, is a document intended to improve areas of weakness that a teacher may have. A Personal Development Plan is typically created after a teacher scores a less than effective rating on their teacher evaluation. The PDP is intended to serve as a guide for the teacher to improve in that area.

A Professional Development Plan must be specific in naming the area of weakness.

The goals in the PDP must be measurable, attainable, and reasonable. The PDP also has to include methods of support by which to assist the teacher in improving. Finally, there must be a specific timeline in which the teacher is required to improve. The timeline will conclude with a follow-up meeting with the teacher and administrator to discuss the progress that has been made by the teacher.

It is important to note that a Personal Development Plan is a process intended to help a teacher grow and improve. It is not intended as a tool for dismissal, but may serve as documentation for the termination process if a teacher either blatantly refuses to follow the guidelines in the PDP or proves incapable of showing improvement in those areas. 

Although most Personal Development Plans are written as part of the evaluation process, there may be cases wherein a stand-alone PDP is written.  For instance, if a principal notices that a teacher arrives at school late for three straight days, they may intervene with a stand-alone PDP to hold that teacher accountable.

  Stand alone PDP's require the same elements as a standard PDP.

Unfortunately, Professional Development Plans have a negative stigma. Many administrators use them incorrectly leading to teachers having a negative attitude towards them. PDP's should be seen as an effort by an administrator to springboard growth and improvement.

They should be a regular part of teaching and education.  They should not be limited to being used simply as another step in the evaluation process.

Every teacher should be on some form of Professional Development Plan. A good principal will build a Personal Development Plan while working directly and collaboratively with the teacher. A plan of this type is ongoing in nature. It leads to identifying weaknesses, establishing a plan for growth, provides accountability and support for improvement, and increases communication and builds trust between the principal and teacher.

A Personal Development Plan of this nature could benefit every teacher. No teacher is perfect. They all should be striving to grow and improve. Moving to a continuous growth and improvement model would ensure that every teacher was working on specific areas in which they need to improve.  This type of model would likely have a direct and profound impact on student learning.