Creating a professional teaching portfolio is a great way to document and reflect on your growth as an educator. Also, a portfolio is an excellent resource for job interviews. Some schools even require a teaching portfolio as part of the process of receiving tenure with the school district. Creating a professional teaching portfolio can be a daunting task, which is why it's helpful to break the process into steps.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Artefacts from your teaching experience
- Binder or scrapbook
- High-quality paper
Spend a good deal of time collecting artefacts from your teaching. Ideally, you should collect materials over the course of an entire student teaching term or school year. You'll need to collect teaching materials, photographs, notes from parents, student work and letters from administrators--just to name a few. As you collect materials, don't worry much about organising or choosing one item over another. Simply place everything in a folder or box so that it's available when you're ready to create the portfolio.
Before assembling your portfolio, decide on an organisation method. The Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching (see Resources) is a handy way to approach your portfolio. Danielson identified four domains of teaching: planning and preparation, the teaching environment, instruction and professional responsibilities. Even if you decide not to use the Danielson Framework, you should plan to include evidence from all aspects of your teaching responsibilities in the portfolio.
Divide the collected artefacts among the portfolio domains. You may find that you have a lot of evidence to support your planning and preparation but need more resources for your professional responsibilities section. If so, collect more materials before proceeding. Also, you may choose to weed out certain artefacts. Your portfolio should represent who you are as a teacher, but it shouldn't be a collection of every minute of your teaching life. Aim to have somewhere around 20 total pages of material in your portfolio. This should allow enough room to show depth without becoming too cumbersome for the reader.
Now you're ready to physically create your portfolio pages. Decide on a consistent look for your portfolio. Some teachers, especially those at the elementary level, prefer a scrapbook-like feel to their portfolio. For this look, you'll want colourful paper, stickers, and other fun touches. Other teachers want a more professional look and stick with neutral resume paper and minimal embellishments. Either approach is fine as long as you keep the pages looking neat and organised. Make sure to add labels explaining any items that the reader may need background information to understand.
Visit the local office supply store to purchase a professional binder. Some of these can be quite fashionable and look a lot like briefcases. This makes a good impression at a job interview. Or, you may choose to purchase a high-quality scrapbook. Either way, place the finished pages into the portfolio and get ready to show off the finished product.
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