A portfolio is a compilation of select materials and resources that highlight your professional competencies. It not only documents your knowledge as it pertains to pedagogy, but also provides a visual representation of your style and ability to engage with students.
The process of selecting what materials to include in a portfolio requires student teachers and teachers to assess their performance in the classroom as well as the subject matter they have covered. A portfolio is not a scrapbook of every lesson plan, unit, or activity an educator has every engaged in with students; it is a small sample of work that best represents his or her teaching skills, subject knowledge, creative presentation, and resourcefulness.
Printed vs electronic
Portfolios can either be in electronic or paper form. Both formats have benefits. The paper portfolio can be very useful during an in-person interview because it provides visual examples of their work and creativity to a prospective Principal or Vice Principal. Electronic portfolios have many advantages. Principals can both preview the portfolio prior to an interview allowing them a chance to prepare and personalize their interview questions, and review the portfolio after an interview to help them remember who you were among the group of candidates.
Most people create a digital portfolio because it’s easier to share. If web development isn’t your strong suit, try one of these websites as a coding-free alternative to digital portfolio creation.
What to include in your portfolio
- Homepage with a brief professional biography and photo of you.
- A menu or navigation bar linking visitors to the following attachments:
- Teaching resume
- Teaching philosophy
- Degrees/Certificates/Awards/continuing professional development
- A sample (annotated) lesson plan
- Classroom Management information
- Contact page – a way for visitors to contact you
Optional enhancements to your portfolio
- Links your professional web presence including the school website (at which your working)
- Professional social media accounts
- Technology in the classroom
- Parent Resources/Communication
- Photos of bulletin boards/hallway displays
- Extracurricular Activities (clubs, field trips, etc.)
- Your blog
Whether your portfolio is a hard copy or digital, be sure to proofread before sending it out. It is a good idea to have others reviews it as well, in order to receive their feedback and fix any problems. A trusted professor or mentor is an excellent person to critique your portfolio. Alternatively, schedule an appointment with a career adviser to review your portfolio.