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Five Things You Should Do For Your Career This Academic Year

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It is the start of another academic year, which means it is time to consider your goals for the next nine months. If you are looking for ways to distinguish yourself from your peers, improve the quality of your instruction, and manage your career, consider the following activities:

1. Network. Join a professional association or attend a conference. Create a LinkedIn account, add connections and join discussion groups. Networking not only helps you locate future job leads, but you also stay abreast of current trends and best practices within the field.

2. Contribute to the field. Volunteer for a leadership position or serve as a cooperating teacher for a student teacher. Write a blog post or journal article. For example, if you are a Social Studies teacher, submit a proposal for the National Council for the Social Studies. Volunteer at a local mentoring program or apply for a grant. Whether it is a committee at your existing school or a student organization on your college campus, there are numerous opportunities to make a difference.

3. Master new technology. There is always something new to learn regarding technology in the classroom. Explore ways to integrate Web 2.0 tools, vodcasting and elmos into your curriculum. Consider enrolling in a technology training session at your district or local college.

4. Update your portfolio, resume and credential file. Don't wait until you are job searching to pull everything together. Review these documents when your activities are still fresh in your head.

5. Take some time for yourself. Not only will you find rejuvenation, but you can also reflect on why you initially entered the field and how you can improve your instruction.

What other professional goals do you have for the coming academic year? Post your comments below.

Billie Streufert
Director, Career Services
University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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