Regardless of how strong your classroom management tactics are, how well-developed your curriculum has become over the years or how comfortable you are in your overall abilities as an educator, you can always get better. This is the realization that many educators come to at a certain point, and it’s a big part of the reason so many teachers end up pursuing higher education after a few years of work. While that endeavor is certainly useful and applicable on a professional level, it’s no small task, even for the most organized and dedicated educator. The decision to pursue a graduate degree while working requires a great deal of commitment and should not be taken lightly. With that in mind, take a look at these tips for continuing your education as a teacher.

Speak with a Career Coach

Increasingly, it has become more common for individuals across an entire spectrum of careers to go back to school in their fields. Still, it’s important for you to understand exactly why you intend to go back, what it’s going to cost you (both fiscally and personally), and whether or not it’s worth it before you make the decision. According to Forbes, speaking with a career coach is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re moving in the right direction.

Speak with Your Superiors

When you’ve decided to pursue that second degree or certification, it’s time to discuss implications and expectations with your superiors. In most situations, the school you work for will fully support you in going back to continue your education. Working toward a master’s degree or other certificate will only make you a better teacher, so it makes sense that your administration would back such a move. Nonetheless, it’s important that you speak with your superiors from the outset. In addition to offering you advice on how to maintain your current responsibilities during your education, they can also point you toward support networks that the school may offer for teachers continuing their education.

“Speak with your supervisors before making any career choices.”

Build a Portfolio

As you move into the next phase of your education as a teacher, the USC Rossier School of Teaching recommends building a portfolio. This is important for several reasons. First and foremost, many programs require that advanced teaching degree applicants demonstrate their past experience through a portfolio. In addition to this, a portfolio will allow you a central location to display your work and accomplishments throughout your academic program. When you finish your degree, your employer or potential employer will likely want to see the kind of work that you’ve completed, how you’ve grown as an educator and how you intend to use your new learning in your classroom. This is particularly important when it pertains to potential advancement within a school.