Even if you are just beginning your teacher education journey as a freshman, it is wise to think about your portfolio and how it will look by the time you graduate. Your portfolio is the collection of documents that demonstrates your educational proficiency and experience that you present to principals and/or the human resources department at your local board of education when you apply for a teaching position. As you take college classes or add professional development sessions to your repertoire, think about what to include in your portfolio.
A basic portfolio should have:
- A professional cover.
- Table of contents that outlines what is included in the portfolio.
- Your original, personal philosophy of education.
- Comprehensive educational resume. Unlike a traditional resume, there is no need to limit it to a single page. Many teaching resumes are three or four pages long.
- Supporting items or artifacts like photographs of bulletin boards you designed, unit and lesson plans you created, copies of awards, certificates of completion for professional development courses, classroom and extracurricular experiences, teaching-related community involvement, student work samples, etc. Emphasize items that demonstrate your skill or knowledge in critical thinking, interest in continuous learning, classroom management, technology, and different teaching methodologies.
- Unofficial transcript from the college or university you attended.
- At least three letters of recommendation from individuals like your student teaching supervisor, a college professor, principal, etc.
Generally, school administrators look for teacher candidates who are:
- Committed to reaching all students and recognizing their achievements.
- Able to monitor student learning and effectively manage the classroom.
- Understand and appreciate the subject matter – arts, humanities, natural and social sciences, and mathematics.
- Capable of utilizing technology in a variety of ways.
- Knowledgeable about the subject matter.
- Committed and willing to learn.
There are many options available for developing your portfolio. Check out some samples online. Dedicate a file drawer or plastic bin at home to collect items that relate to your teacher education portfolio. At the end of each semester, sort the documentation and discard what is not relevant. Re-evaluate your collection each school year and begin to organize the information in a systematic way. When you start your last year of college, it is time to develop an inclusive resume and start gathering letters of recommendation. Sometimes these can take a while to accumulate, so start early.
When you are ready to begin applying to the school districts you choose, you will already have what you need to create a professional, organized, and comprehensive portfolio that is designed to impress and get you that teaching position you want.