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What is my teaching portfolio?
Your portfolio is, quite simply, a large fancy binder that holds all of your
important papers and evidence of your best work. It represents who you are as
a teacher. Don't get cheap and buy one of those three dollar economy binders
at Wal-Mart. You're a professional, so splurge and pay 25 bucks for the nice
kind with the leather cover.
Your portfolio represents who you are as a teacher.
What do I do with it?
In part, the portfolio is your record-keeping binder where you keep all of your
important teaching papers so you don't lose them. Also, you will use it as a
presentation tool when you interview for jobs. You will take your portfolio with
you to show evidence of what you have done in the classroom. (And not only
that, you'll look more important when you carry a fancy book of papers into the
Do I really need a portfolio? I've heard of people who get jobs without
Yes, it's true that people are offered jobs without portfolios. And yes, there's a
lot of work involved in assembling a good portfolio. Most of the time
interviewers don't even ask to see a portfolio. So, why should you bother?
Here's why: The portfolio can add an interactive dynamic to the interview. A
good portfolio is chock full of student work samples, lesson plans, photographs,
and philosophy statements. When an interviewer asks you about a given topic,
you'll be able to SHOW them what you've done.
Think about it: If you're an interviewer, and you're listening to dozens of
strangers talk about their successes in education, you're in for a long, dull day.
But, if a candidate comes in and SHOWS you what he or she has done, you'll be
more engaged. Candidates with a good portfolio have lots of student work to
pass around the table. They have photographs of their past experiences. They
have copies of their philosophy statement to pass out.
So, do you need a portfolio to land a job? Probably not. Will having a wellstocked
portfolio give you a noticeable edge over the competition? Definitely.
You'll be the super-prepared candidate that was interesting to listen to and had
proof of their teaching experiences.
How do I build a portfolio?
You’ll need to buy a fancy binder with a leather cover, lots of sheet protectors
(those plastic pocket things that hold papers), and nice-quality divider tabs so
you can break your portfolio into sections.
Section 1: Table of Contents
Yes, you really do have to make one of these, so don't be lazy. When you're at
an interview, you'll want to be sure you can find any paper in 10 seconds or less.
Your table of contents will not only look professional, but it will be helpful to
Section 2: Essential Paperwork
List of references
Type them out on the same paper and letterhead you used for your
resume and cover letter.
Copy of Your Teaching Certificate
Spend 99 cents and have it copied in color. It will look nicer.
Copy of Your College Transcript
Copy of Your College Diploma
Again, splurge and have it copied in color for a more professional
Letters of Recommendation
Any Other Relevant Awards or Certificates
Copy of Your Student Teaching Evaluations
Include these only if they're good. You only want to show off your
- A short essay titled, "My Philosophy of Education"
Print it out on fancy paper so you can show it to your interviewers when
they ask you about it.
Section 3: Lesson Plans
Three or Four Good Lesson Plans
Be sure they're typed and have state or other local education standards
listed on them. When they ask you about standards, pull out your lesson
plans and show them.
Lesson Plan Observations & Evaluation Forms
Again, include these only if you've received high scores.
Section 4: Evidence of Teaching Experience
Samples of Student Work
Choose creative and unique projects; Don't use simple worksheets or
boring, objective tests; You'll want to have lots of student work handy!
A bunch of photographs
You did take some photos during your student teaching, right?
Copies of a Parent Newsletter
You KNOW they'll ask how you communicate with parents. Be prepared
to show them! If you don't have any newsletters you've used in the past,
make up a sample.
Any Other Evidence of Lessons Taught
Try to place emphasis on lessons that involve cooperative learning,
creative thinking, problem-solving, hands-on manipulation, and/or
higher-level thinking skills.
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or