Essential Things to Have in Your Teacher Portfolio

A teacher portfolio is an anthology of a teacher's achievements both in the academic world and in other areas that is designed to reflect a teacher's skills and knowledge on a variety of subjects. It mostly consists of documents and materials such as publications, grants and honors achieved through research and scholarships, which together suggest the variety and quality of a person's teaching skills.

The basic thing to include in a teacher portfolio is a resume that explains your qualifications and extra-curricular achievements and a letter of application briefly explaining why you think you would be suited for the job you are going in for. Aside from this, there are eight essential things to include.

Firstly, you should involve a brief yet interesting biography that explains about yourself and what you have previously done. It is important not to include too much, stick to the basics and only what is relevant to the job you are applying to. Five hundred words should be enough to paint a reasonable picture of yourself.

Secondly, there should be a description of the kinds of class you have taught or been involved with recently. Just include what grade you teach, the content of your classes and your preferred style of teaching. Again, it is essential that you stick to the basics as the amount of time the committee will have to review your portfolio is quite limited.

Copies of important documents should also be included such as licenses and tests, also including what seminars or lectures you have recently attended in order to display your creative and educational skills. It may also be a good idea to incorporate a checklist of educational goals that you wish to achieve in your classes within the next five years or so.

A short and brief essay about your teaching ideas should be put in your portfolio. Stick to just explaining how you teach, your methods and why you use these and why you think these are effective, possibly supported by evidence. Again, avoid lengthy descriptions that could bore the committee.

Ideas for evidence to support your teaching style could include unit, lesson or term plans that you have recently used. Photographs showing these plans in action, particularly hands on practical work, would be best.

Handouts that you have designed will also help your application, accompanied by graded papers that you have marked along with the comments you have made to the students.

Another good idea that proves your teaching principles would also be to include photographs of your skills in action or a videotape that the committee could watch if at all possible.

Finally, an important factor to make sure you have that will be most valued by the interviewing committee will be peer evaluations and observations and letters of recommendation that you have asked for.

You might want to take your teacher portfolio to your prospective job location at least three days before your interview is scheduled. This gives the interview committee time to review it in advanced, which sends out a very good message. Also, have your portfolio well-organized, as this is a reflection on yourself and makes you look professional.