Steer your PDP to align with professional goals

Early Career Insights: Education Quarterly, Issue 6 2023

If you’re an early career teacher, the Performance and Development Plan (PDP) can feel like another hoop to jump through while you’re already struggling to manage a crippling workload. But before you dismiss your PDP as just another thing to tick off your to-do list, consider how it could work for you.

The Performance and Development Framework is a policy that outlines the annual process for teachers to develop their teaching practice: engaging in professional learning, collegial dialogue and reflection. You create your Performance and Development Plan (PDP), the template used to put the policy into practice – in collaboration with a supervisor – to identify goals, set out a plan to achieve your goals, implement your plan, and review and reflect on your progress towards your goals.

Golden opportunity
The framework states that setting your professional goals should occur in a collaborative and supportive environment. This means that your PDP shouldn’t be determined by your supervisor, rather you are the driver of your own professional development. Once you have collaboratively set your goals, you should research relevant professional learning to help you implement and achieve them.

Part of the framework includes two observations of classroom practice per year. The framework states that the observation process should be undertaken by an agreed colleague and doesn’t have to be your supervisor or someone prescribed by them. To minimise stress and promote a relaxed, genuine lesson observation, choose a colleague who you identify as being able to grow your practice in a supportive environment.

If you are gaining or maintaining Proficient Teacher accreditation, you can include this in your PDP, so that relevant support and professional learning can be implemented.

I’m a casual, can I develop a PDP?
A regular casual, defined as working 42 days or more across a school year, must develop a PDP. The essential principles of the PDF apply to casual teachers, including that they be given access to a supervisor within the school where they undertake most of their work. The Department acknowledges that principals should provide access to professional learning to casual teachers who teach regularly in their schools. Federation’s position is that teachers should be paid for attendance at professional learning. The Department, in a letter to Federation (30 August, 2016), stated: “Where a casual teacher attends a school development day they are paid for that day.”

This article is general in nature. For specific advice, call Professional Support on 1300 654 367.