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5 Things to Include in Your Teaching Portfolio

As a teacher, have you sometimes wondered: "How much time should I spend working on and updating my teaching portfolio?" Well, make no mistake - invest as much time as you can! An excellent teaching portfolio is a beautiful resource to showcase your creativity; it shows your professional dedication and highlights your personality.

Certainly, a glossy portfolio makes your teaching qualities shine through. It will help administrators determine if you're a good fit and put you on a pedestal ahead of the competition.

So, what must-have features should you include in your teaching portfolio? Here are five things to include in your teaching portfolio to help you stand out.

1. Include Your Resume and Cover Letter

Include an up-to-date cover letter (letter of intent) and a resume in your teaching portfolio. Make extra copies for interviews; this is a veritable game-changer!

In the cover letter and resume, you have a golden opportunity to state your case and make the match! While writing, paraphrase why you're the perfect match for that opportunity; do this in the first or second sentence. Make sure you align these with the job description and school.

Don't take anything for granted--address each claim with credible evidence that links to performance improvement (the students, the school, and your own). Always keep this in mind: the most influential element is quantitative evidence. Grab the chance to hit the nail on the head. Don't pull your punches!

Here are a few suggestions to hit home:

  • Indicate if you improved student grades during the year
  • Did you increase class attendance? Tell them!
  • Have you successfully tried a new teaching method five schools currently use? Tell them!

The idea? Avoid commonplace, unproven latitudes. Instead, embrace impactful quantitative examples of your teaching capabilities.

2. Include Your Education, Degrees, and Grades

Regardless of quality, include your degrees and grades in your teaching portfolio. Don't make it seem like you're hiding something about your test scores; include these (as long as you passed, of course!). 

When asked to justify a low mark in any area, never over-explain or use a negative tone; make it crisp and short.

3. Include Your Teaching Philosophy

Include a teaching philosophy; address your strategies, motivation, and objectives in your teaching philosophy. Take advantage of this crucial section to catapult yourself to the top of the potential teacher list. 

Outline the principles you believe are essential in educating students. Craft a well-thought-out paper to communicate your thoughts and convictions as a teacher. Here's the perfect opportunity to provide an employer some insight into your teaching approach--use it fully.

Some ask: "How can I make my teaching philosophy stand out?" Write it straight from the heart; frame the language to reflect your class-teaching experience. Avoid repetitive language and clichés; list your principles and demonstrate how you implement the philosophy in each class.

4. Include Your Teaching License and Certifications

Include your current certifications and license in your teaching portfolio. Always submit these with the initial application--it saves you the pain of having your application sidelined for lack of certifications.

5. Include Educational Evaluations

Include any past evaluation samples you received as a student-teacher or from other teaching jobs. Try to think like a salesperson; the latter thinks of nothing but performance! Highlight your quantitative and qualitative achievements (in that order). Don't include any negative evaluations; take advantage of the fact that your interviewer doesn't know how many evaluations you have received.

You can profile a special learner's progress in your class to push your case. Let's assume a kid transitioned from D to B within a semester; you can highlight this and include any teaching methods that led to this outcome. Put this on a page alongside four engaging visuals. Some applicants have achieved wonders using these simple strategies.

The Key Takeaway                                                                   

While your teaching portfolio doesn't make the status of an official application, it ranks among the most critical documents in a teacher's professional docket. Your teaching portfolio complements other documents. It offers a school district more information about you, your professional trajectory, and your potential.

The portfolio helps administrators assess your suitability for opportunities. It offers you a chance to showcase your strengths while highlighting your personality. Take the time to craft a robust teaching portfolio that opens the door to professional advancement, and push yourself to the next level. Good luck!

Written by John Ndar
Education World Contributor
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