What is the definition of a portfolio? Why do you need a teaching portfolio?
A teaching portfolio is a collection of evidence reflecting your work as a teacher, your teaching goals, strategies, and methods. It paints a picture of you as a teacher for anyone who goes through it. It records all your achievements like student progress rate, student feedback, etc. Teaching is undoubtedly an art, and your art needs to be displayed for anyone interested in it. A teaching portfolio is the summarized version of your teaching experience, accomplishments, innovation, and creativity. It will showcase your skills and the value you will add to an educational organization.
Relevance in current times
The idea of building and maintaining a teaching portfolio is fairly recent in our country. It is not mandatory in all schools, but it is an added advantage to a teacher’s professional growth. Your teaching portfolio is a compilation of documented evidence proving your excellence in teaching.
5 Steps for building a successful teaching portfolio?
Here are five steps you can follow to create your teaching portfolio:
Decide all the things you want to include in your teaching portfolio. There are numerous ways in which you can construct your teaching portfolio. There is no standard template that everyone must follow. This allows you to be creative with the construction of your portfolio. You can use any pre-made template online, but an original, creative construction beats all. You must add your qualification certificates, experience letters, recommendation letters, and any course certificate you have recently acquired to upskill. Other than these, you can add your resume, classroom photographs, teaching philosophy, teaching goals, and methodology. You can even add any kind of assessments or evaluations that have been conducted during previous employment to ascertain the quality and effectiveness of your teaching in the classroom.
Choose your best work
Once you have selected the things you want to add to your portfolio, you will need to segregate your professional experiences, philosophy, methods, and practices. A teaching portfolio cannot be a long, boring document. It has to be brief and interesting. Only the best of the best should find a place in your teaching portfolio. Add your most valuable teaching experience, probably in a well-known prestigious school or somewhere you worked as a teacher for a longer time.
As for your teaching philosophy, ensure that it aligns with the most up-to-date trends in teaching philosophy. It is best not to add an obsolete thought or teaching philosophy to your portfolio. Same with teaching methods and practices, self-evaluate your teaching methods and add the most effective ones in your portfolio. Similarly, while adding student feedback and reviews of your teaching, add the most appreciative ones only.
Accomplishments and Contributions
This step entails selecting and compiling your most recent and biggest contributions to your profession. The evidence of the same may be in the form of student progress reports, recommendation letters written by superiors and employers, any awards you received for your excellence in teaching, any media piece on social media or newspapers, or writings about your contribution as an educator. Here you can add any published or documented review by students and parents. The three most important critics of your skill are students, parents, and employers/superiors. Any flattering words from them, in a written format, will help your teaching portfolio immensely.
Teaching work samples
Adding a few of your best teaching work samples is a no-brainer. Your portfolio is incomplete without evidence of the actual work you have done. This can be in video recordings of classroom teaching, student assignments, assessments, quizzes, workshops, or projects. If you do not have enough actual teaching experience at the school level, you can add any other employment records that have to do with teaching and managing kids, like day boarding or primary school assistant. As mentioned above, carefully select only the best of your work to add to your teaching portfolio. It will be a display of your skill and ability to construct assessments, examination question papers, lesson plans, and quizzes.
Finally, to add a professional touch to your portfolio, you have the option of creating an attractive cover. The cover will be a single page that introduces you and your professional prowess to the reader. Depending on your preference, you can add colorful images, borders, or other page designing tools to the cover page to make it more appealing to the reader. Your cover page will reflect your personality to the reader before they continue reading about your skills and accomplishments. The cover page is often responsible for the first impression, even before the recruiter has met you. It has immense power to influence the recruitment in your favor. It is best not to underestimate the importance of the portfolio cover.
Your teaching portfolio is a handy tool while applying for a teacher's position. It backs up your professional skills and provides solid proof while discussing your experience and skill in an interview. Along with the tips mentioned above, make sure your teaching portfolio is easy to read without unnecessary wordiness or complications. On a practical note, recruiters go through hundreds of applications for a single vacancy, so make sure you highlight the heights of your career. Avoid creating clutter with extra certificates and documents not relevant to this job. Finally, make sure your credentials are updated, your portfolio looks neat, and you will be ready for interviews.