How to Organize and Use Your Teaching Portfolio
In today’s times, the teaching job market has become extremely competitive. This is why you need that something extra which gives you an edge over other job applicants and creating your teaching portfolio is a great way to get that edge. When all things are equal between two job applicants, one with strong and well documented material can help to tip the scales in their favor. In this article, we show you how to organize your teacher portfolio and also how to use it effectively.
Creating Your Portfolio
A teacher portfolio is a collection of different materials that help to document your experiences as a teacher and describe the various aspects of your teaching ability. The various things that go into a teacher portfolio are:
- A teaching philosophy: This statement is a short narrative that should include your conception of what teaching and learning really mean. It should also include a brief description of your teaching methods, classroom management style and reasons why you teach in a particular manner. There are many reasons why writing a quality philosophy statement will increase your job search success.
- Teaching experience and responsibilities: Document your various experiences as a teacher and include papers that show your growth and professional development as an educator. This section should also include a summary of different teaching positions you have held over the years and various responsibilities that you have fulfilled.
- Course planning materials: These include all handouts, syllabi, lesson plans, exam sheets, and assignments from any courses that you have taught in the past.
- Department evaluations: Document all the departmental evaluations of your teaching abilities. You can also ask for evaluation letters from principals or professors who have employed you to teach and have watched you teach a real classroom. If you have ever received student feedback about your educational abilities, these should be included too.
- Teaching awards: All certificates, recognitions, and awards that you have received for your teaching abilities should be included in this section of your teaching portfolio.
- Letters of recommendation: Try to choose your most recent and relevant letters.
In addition to the above, teacher portfolios always include a resume and cover letter. It is best to get these written from an expert as these documents can be the difference between you getting hired or not.
As you continue to grow as an educator, you should review your teaching portfolio from time to time and add documents and materials to it that evidence your teaching abilities.
How to Use Your Teacher Portfolio
Teaching portfolios are used along with your teaching job application. Here are some ways of using them:
- Add your teacher portfolio as an appendix with your teaching resume. This enables prospective employees to get a glimpse of your growth as an educator.
- Insert a table of contents of all the different documents and materials of your teaching portfolio.
- Carry your teacher portfolio to your job interview to show it to the interviewers.
Thus, by creating a comprehensive folder of your teaching artifacts and using it properly, you can increase your chances of being hired significantly.