How to Build a Teaching Portfolio
When applying for a teaching position, you’ll need to have a portfolio put together and ready for presentation to your potential employers. A teaching portfolio is a compilation of works collected throughout your teaching career that highlight your work and accomplishments. Portfolios can be used for various reasons, including as an evaluation tool when completing your teacher education program or when interviewing for a job.
A teaching portfolio should reflect your personality and highlight and describe who you are as a teacher. Although each portfolio is unique, all portfolios contain the same kinds of information. Materials are typically contained in a three-ring binder for easy access when updating. Items contained in a portfolio may be in print or audiovisual format.
1. Print Items
- Your résumé.
- Transcripts, test scores, sample lesson plans, curriculum materials, journal entries, writing assignments, sample tests and assignments that you’ve developed, samples of student work that reflect differentiation.
- Sample letters to parents, sample letters from students or from parents, observation notes.
- Formal assessments of your teaching, certificates of memberships to professional organizations, and any awards that you’ve won.
2. Audiovisual Items
- Video and audio recordings featuring a sample of your teaching.
- Pictures of bulletin boards, charts depicting room arrangements.
A digital portfolio is a teaching portfolio contained on an external storage device rather than a hard copy filed in a notebook. A digital portfolio will contain exactly the same information but in an easy-to-distribute format. Investing a little time can make your digital portfolio stand out. If you have the technical know-how, you can create the entire interface from scratch. If you don’t, there are a multitude of online tutorials that will guide you through the process. Or you could approach graphic design students or Web designers to assist you. If you don’t know any personally, you could invest a small amount of money upfront, which will go a long way toward making your application stand out. Presentations, videos, and audio clips can be stored on CDs or small mobile flash drives. Always ensure that you format your flash drive and scan it for viruses before adding your content, because damaging your potential employer’s computer software or hardware in an effort to impress may defeat the objective.
Organization of your portfolio is extremely important. A neat and well-prepared portfolio will show future employers that you are serious and capable of quality work. Begin by organizing documents into categories, and then fine-tune the details. Documents can be arranged in various ways. Having a logical plan is of utmost importance. Start by dividing documents into categories. Categories may include personal background information, instruction-related information, context information, contributions to the overall mission of the school, awards and recognitions, and many more. After developing the categories and sorting each resource into the appropriate category, develop a detailed table of contents for easy access and use. Subject dividers may be helpful to allow the potential employer easily find the document he or she is seeking.
Remember, your portfolio is first impression. You want it to be informational, clean-cut and as well-put-together as you can manage!