Creating a teaching portfolio has enormous benefits to your career and job search. Learn what to include and how to organize an educational portfolio.
There is a lot of research supporting portfolios as a tool for lifelong learning and your job search. As a result, preparing a portfolio, whether digital, hard copy, or both, will continue to be common in the future.
Why Create a Teacher Portfolio?
A teaching portfolio is a story about you and who you are as an educator. Your portfolio should be a tool that demonstrates your skills and knowledge and provides evidence of your successful teaching practices. It is an effective way for teachers to reflect upon, describe, and document their teaching philosophy, goals, and achievements.
Teaching portfolios allow for tracking and documentation of longer teaching periods than are allowed for during supervised classroom observations. This binder of artifacts serves as a portable residency, encouraging a connection between the education process and end-product.
How to Organize Your Educational Portfolio
Design a creative teaching portfolio that is carefully organized and ready to present to hiring authorities. When you start to put your portfolio together, you need to consider what you want it to communicate with schools.
Anything you can capture can lend itself to being part of your portfolio. Nothing stops you from taking a comprehensive approach – including everything you have collected over your teaching career. This method can end up overwhelming the reviewer and make the most important entries lose their importance.
First, you need to figure out what the purpose of your teaching portfolio is and your target audience. List your employment goals and then find the information you need to achieve them.
It can include examples of what you have learned about educating others, what you do as an educational leader in your preparation and teaching, describing your journey as an educator, and a narrative of your growth, values, future vision, and plans.
Your portfolio exists to tell your story as an educator in a thorough, concise, convincing way so that anyone who reads it can see exactly the kind of skills, abilities, and experience you bring to the table.
An Academic Portfolio Can Include
- A table of contents might include a physical table of contents at the beginning of a physical collection, or it might take the form of a sitemap on a portfolio website. Either way, you want to make it easy for readers to navigate your teaching portfolio and quickly find information relevant to your needs, and this is an excellent way to do it.
- Photographs of your classroom that show your students’ work – you might choose to have a section of your portfolio dedicated to pictures of your classroom, or you might intersperse classroom photos throughout other sections as needed.
- Pictures or examples of students’ artwork and computer work – you can determine how you want to include examples of student work similar to how you might include classroom photos. It might be a standalone section, or you might use different examples in different sections of your portfolio to showcase different teaching practices or subject area competencies.
- Show how you conduct parent-teacher conferences.
- Photographs of you running extra-curricular activities – this helps demonstrate your commitment to student learning both in and out of the classroom.
- Scanned copies of students’ written work – you might show specific examples of how students have improved over the course of the academic year.
- Recordings of students’ speeches or videos of presentations demonstrate your ability to incorporate multiple learning styles and the strengths of different students into your assignments.
- Testimonials from your students – you’ve been tooting your own horn throughout the application process; let your students sing your praises too.
- Students’ exam results – show some data to back up your claims about increasing scores on standardized tests. Don’t mention individual student names.
- References and lesson appraisals – both your students and former supervisors have a chance to speak well of you here.
- Successful and innovative lesson plans – you get to show off your creative side.
- Thematic units – demonstrate your ability to put together a big picture and break it into smaller parts.
- Information about classes you’ve taken, projects you’ve worked on, and other evidence of your lifelong learning.
Another option is creating a teaching portfolio in a digital format which can be a nice portable way to show recruiters, interviewers and an easy way to send during an application process.
Consider using a free website builder such as WordPress, Wix, web.com to create an eye-catching online portfolio. Include the link in your resume, so the portfolio is readily available to readers. LinkedIn is another career networking site for making your next career move. If you consider using LinkedIn and don’t know how to write an optimized profile, we can help you.
Having a portfolio is an excellent way to show recruiters your skills and teaching style. It’s an obvious way to speak to employers about what type of teacher you are and what value you bring to education and teaching.