Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Teaching Portfolio

Since I currently don't have a teaching position for this school year it seems that I have two options
1) To apply for them now... as they start to slowly start popping up this last month before school starts
2) Substitute Teach

The not so secret third option and do both
(this is the option that I'm currently embracing)

I haven't had to go on an interview now for a couple of years because I had my terms at the same school.  If I end up getting a job this year I will have to interview for it.  So I've been getting myself interview ready.... well... since June.  Naturally, I took July off from everything but now that it is August I'm back to getting stuff together.

The first thing that I've been making sure is together is my teaching portfolio.

Lots of people will say that they don't use them.  Lots of people will also say that they bring them to an interview and don't use them.  This used to be me.  Then one of my interviewers talked to me afterwards and told me that it was a shame that I didn't use it.  My portfolio highlights some of my best work and I put a lot of work into it.  Speaking doesn't necessarily let the person that is interviewing you get your whole picture.  Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to show them some student work or show them that lesson plan?

The last interview I ever had (which I landed the job for) the people interviewing me took my portfolio from me right away and flipped through it during the interview.  One of them told me she could tell I was organized because of the way I had set up my portfolio... I'm just glad I came off that way because I sure didn't feel organized when I got to that classroom a few days before school started!

Anyways, lets talk portfolios shall we?

First, I put everything in my portfolio in page protectors.  These serve 2 purposes
1) It keeps everything protected (duh)
2)  Some of my items include multiple pages (such as a comic book that I have in a student work section).  Rather than putting one page of the comic in each page protector I put it all in one.  This way, people can still pull the comic out of the page protector and look at it if they want.  I also have all my teaching evaluations stacked in one page protector.  I'm just assuming the one they care most about is the latest so that is the one they can see by just flipping through but if they wanted to see the last 3 they could pull them out from behind.

Second, I put tabs going along the top of my binder so that I can quickly find a section.  I'm not sure why I put them along the top rather than along the side... now that I think of it that seems really odd.  But I have them there because if you wanted to reference some student work and show them what you did you can find it much quicker by at least flipping to the section it is in and then looking for it rather than flipping through the entire portfolio (mine is really large).  You'll see the tabs that I used in some of the photos below.

The sections I choose are:

In here I have some examples of lessons I did which include the outcomes I was reaching, the plan (I like the triple A approach), any worksheets that went with it and if possible some examples of student work.

I have unit plans (back in my practicum days we were required to make whole unit plans so I printed them off in smaller font to fit on one page in Excel so someone could see my day by day plan for an ELA unit).

 I talk about my use of a math journal and a picture of a couple pages from one of my students math journals.

There are a whole bunch of art lessons in there (I used to blog about my art lessons all the time and so I just copied what I wrote in my blog into a word document for the most part, printed off the pictures and stuck it in my portfolio).  My other technique for the art pages were to include a print up of an artist we were studying that I would have put together for my class and include it with some student examples.

I included a contest from Scholastic that I have my students enter every year.  They always have one on Haiku poems.  I think it just shows different ways to motivate students and that I do some work to look things up that could benefit my students.


I simply talk about the different kinds of assessments I have done (differentiated, running records, self assessment, etc).  I have examples of quizzes I 've given and my rational behind doing them that way, self assessment checklist for students, and a differentiated final project with student examples.

Student Work
This one is self explanatory.  A lot of stuff from previous categories could go in this one but for everything in this section I didn't print off a lesson plan to go with it.  I did include rubrics for some of the stuff though.

In the Classroom
To start this section off I have some pictures of bulletin boards I had put together.  One was an interactive bulletin board I had to do in university... looking back on it I wish I had the time to be that creative in my own classroom... one day.

Then I have a list of expectations, consequences for expectations, an implementation strategy and a classroom diagram.  These take up 2 pages and could likely use some updating.

The last thing I did in this section is talk about displaying student work and included a picture of my "MOLA" from this last year.

I'm not sure what it is like where you are looking for jobs but it is rare here to apply for a job that doesn't list something about technology being an asset.  I talk about 4 things in this section

1) Aurasma
2) Plickers
3) Virtual Museum
4) Pod Cast (I included a class website with this because the podcasts were accessed through the website)

Professional Development
This is pretty self explanatory.  I have any certificates that I got while doing PD sessions and a list of different ones that I've attended.  I'm in Canada so anything that I've done that is French I've been sure to include.  The ability to teach even just basic French could get you a job.

Practicum evaluations, teaching evaluations, letters of reference, etc.

Anything I've done that involved working with kids.  So, lots of volunteer stuff.

At the very back I have my transcripts from university, a very old child abuse and criminal record check, and a sealed copy of my transcripts (because back in university they told us employers might want it sealed... no one ever has)

And there we have it!
My teaching portfolio.

At the end of this school year I had my vice principal flip through it to try to slim it down... she ended up telling me to keep all of it.  She did suggest to include a little rational for why I included all this stuff in my portfolio though (I still need to do this).  A person interviewing you does not have a lot of time to read through lesson plans and other things likely but if you wrote one or two sentences to answer why you included different things... they could have time to read that.

Now it's your turn, what is your teaching portfolio like?
Tell me about it in the comments!

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