February 2017 -- Congratulations! Our organization has just made it through the first three-year period of professional development, and you are now part of the best educated tennis-teaching professionals in the world!
As we all know, this was more than just a gentle push to encourage our members to continue to improve their teaching skills and garner formalized educational credit. This project was an extremely successful effort at moving toward fulfilling the mission statement of USPTA: “The purpose of USPTA shall be to elevate the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches.” With everyone’s effort, the members of USPTA have really stepped up and the industry has taken notice – something that each USPTA member can be proud of accomplishing. But this is just the start.
In order to continue the process, each of us can do a little bit more to continue further “elevating the standards.” Following are a few things you can consider doing to do so:
You might want to consider printing out a copy of your education report card and sharing it with your employer. Submit it as something to be placed in your employee personnel file as proof of your credentials. This will go a long way in documenting your commitment to continually improving your skills, not just on the court but in all phases of the tennis industry. Keep in mind that continuing professional development helps you progress up through the career ladder and expands other career opportunities and options that might not yet be on the horizon. Of course, picking up new ideas, getting energized, and sharpening and focusing your current skills will make your lessons just that much better.
Many of you have already taken advantage of USPTA’s website, tennisresources.com. You may not be aware that new courses are being added all the time. It may be helpful to schedule a regular website visit to check out what’s new and exciting. Becoming a lifelong learner has been identified as one of the habits of effective people, and the minutes you spend on the website will certainly provide huge returns on your time investment.
One of the best things about this type of education is the delivery method. It is conveniently available whenever you want it. It is easy to use and the credits are recorded in your professional development report card as soon as you complete a course. Also, the monthly webinars are recorded and available through the website.
As we continue to be lifelong learners, remember that this is part of growing as a person as well as a professional. The more knowledge you gain, the easier it will become to adapt to new and different situations. Take the time to learn something new every day. In the long run this makes you more valuable to your employer. We should also encourage our employees and students to value the learning experience. We teach students new skills all the time; it is also important to make time to learn ourselves.
Don’t forget that USPTA World and division conferences, as well as educational offerings also earn you credits. Aside from that, credits are also given for most conferences, educational courses and seminars you take outside of USPTA. This can be anything from a CPR/first aid class to a college class. If you are uncertain if the course you are planning to attend will provide you credits, feel free to contact the Education Department at USPTA. Of course, submitting your activity for credit in a timely manner is also highly recommended, so make sure that if you attend an education event or conference, you submit your documentation soon after.
As the national Education Committee and division conferences continue to expand the professional development offerings, we are eager for suggestions and recommendations on ways to improve the options and other methods of delivery. Your Board of Directors is here to provide services to our members and we can’t always provide the services you need if we don’t know what they are. If you have the time to get more involved, please contact your division or national leadership. Your organization can always use the help, and if you have the willingness, we can use you.
We look forward to starting the next three-year professional development period, and USPTA is taking a few more steps toward becoming the organization of the most educated tennis professionals in the world. Join us in achieving this lofty goal so we can all stand proud and make the rest of the world take notice.