How Teaching Portfolios Can Advance Your Career
Now that times are tough the educational landscape is becoming more competitive than ever. You should consider putting together a teaching portfolio just in case you need it. Yes, it is great to have a portfolio on hand to hand a potential employer, but it will have a tremendous impact on you as a teacher.
I have been teaching for 16 years between 2 school districts. I have lessons from my student teaching days in the portfolio. It really helps me to come up with new ideas and reflect on what works and what doesn't. I also keep a “Not Such a Great Idea!” box. These are lessons that didn't go as expected, it helps me reflect and not make the same mistake twice.
A well thought out teaching portfolio is very beneficial when it comes to employment or promotion advances. This is a personal document that houses your teaching achievements, studies, philosophy, current class information and a few other important details. It will take some time to create your teaching portfolio; however, the time you put into it will pay off in the end.
Included in your teaching portfolio should be a paragraph about yourself. Introduce yourself to your readers, and explain some of the life accomplishments that you have achieved. Don't make this into a long essay. Be short and to the point, but at the same time allow readers to know some things about yourself that you are proud of.
Include information about your current class and your teaching philosophy. If you can, have someone video tape you while you are teaching. This allows readers to discover your teaching personality and how you handle yourself in the classroom.
Be sure to include honors and recommendations. If you can, have students complete a questionnaire about you to find out which areas you are strong and weak in.
In all honesty, some educators who feel like they have too much to do already can sometimes question how beneficial teaching portfolios will be to them. However, having great study skills and genius worksheets doesn't necessarily define you as a good teacher, and this is why you need to prove your credentials should you find yourself looking for a new job or new challenges within your current organization.
When you are doing your teaching portfolio, you can find that you are collecting different remnants about how you teach - you could even contrast this with the experience that your colleagues have, finding out what you are missing. A great person will be first in line to admit where they are strong in the classroom, but by also being able to concede where you are a weak educator, you can soon begin to find various areas of personal development for you to pursue which might make you more employable and show how you are learning within the role you are in. Through also addressing this document frequently, you can save yourself a lot of time when time gets tight and you can also find out how you can become even better in the things which you regard to be strong on.
In some respects, a teaching portfolio can read like a story. Not only will you talk about the jobs which you have previously had (even before becoming a teacher), but you can talk about the different positions which you might have maintained during your time as an educator. You can also talk about the training which makes you a qualified teacher. It is also about the present, the here and now, and showing that you have taken on board the comments which might have been made when other teachers were evaluating your approach can allow you to look proactive - enabling you to take advice which can always better your skill.
Many people go into teaching for a reason, and talking about your values really can be a great thing for the reader to see. It can open a door to your passion, your purpose as a teacher and even your educational approaches without the reader setting foot in your classroom.
A lot of the time, students are asked for their opinion on how you have been performing. Be sure to include this; after all, these are the people whose thoughts matter the most. If you are hit with the students and you are hitting performance targets, what does the reader have to complain about? You might be ticking all of the boxes with what needs to be covered, but are the students listening and absorbing what you have to say?
There are plenty of means in which you can use to ensure that you create a killer portfolio which will be useful to you. However, all in all, it can show those who are directly concerned with your teaching career what you have achieved, and the directions that you want to take in your career - showing pure ambition.