You have too much to do, and too little time to do it. As a fellow teacher, I get that. I also get that the last thing you need is one more activity to do or one more notebook to keep. Yet, there are 5 valid reasons for why you should collect teacher portfolio samples.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, I recommend products and services I’ve used or know well and may receive a commission if you purchase them, too (at no additional cost to you).
Philosophy of Teaching
Have you ever wondered why you do what you do? Maybe, it’s been in the midst of a terrible day. Everything that could go wrong has: your lesson bombed, students acting up as the principal walks in, technology failing, and you have a could. In that moment, you find yourself wondering why you even try. I know, I’ve been there.
I’ll tell you a secret- when I have those kinds of days, I pull out my philosophy of teaching that I created and keep in my teacher portfolio. Then, I sit down and read it several times. I know that I should be grading papers, making parent phone calls, planning for the next week, or any of the other dozen things I have to do before my day ends.
But, I also realize that I need a moment to gather my wits and reconfirm my resolve and my purpose. Reading over my teaching philosophy teacher portfolio sample helps me do that.
Having creating it and including it in my teacher portfolio, forced me to voice my purpose for teaching. Also, it helped me establish my beliefs about teaching and solidify what I do in the classroom to fulfill that purpose.
It reminds me of why I do what I do, and, sometimes, I need to be reminded of that. The teaching philosophy in my teacher portfolio does that for me.
Proof of Effectiveness
In the world of education, documentation is everything. You keep a parent contact log. You keep attendance and grades. Even more, you keep student work samples to document student achievement.
Why not do the same for your own level of achievement. Face it: if you’re not promoting your own success, it’ll probably go unnoticed. It’s not bragging, it’s stating the facts.
So, include documents that demonstrate your level of teacher effectiveness among your teacher portfolio samples. These can include student work samples, lesson plan samples, and classroom management plans. In addition, you could also include any notes of praise/ approval that higher-ups have given you.
Once again, it’s not bragging, it’s stating the facts. With so much negative press that education receives, it’s time to accentuate the positive. You’re doing great work, and people need to see that.
Teacher Portfolio Samples of Professional Development
Professional development is not only a requirement, it’s a necessity. Education is an ever-changing field, and you need to keep up with the changes to be effective. The students of today don’t think like the students of yesterday. Plus, technology is ever evolving and changing how teaching takes place.
Teachers have always been creative. You increase your creativity through professional development.
Once again, you want to document that you’re growing as a teacher. Including professional development certificates in your teacher portfolio, highlights your growth as a teacher.
Should you include every certificate? Obviously, the answer is no. That would turn your teacher portfolio into a mutli-volume tome. Instead, pick certificates for how unique they are. Look for PD certificates that make you stand out. Maybe, you’re the only person on your campus to attend a certain training. Or, you could’ve attended training over a trending topic ind education. Finally, you could have training in a special skill.
The point is to include professional development certificates in your teacher portfolio that demonstrate that you have additional skills that are of value to your campus.
Possibility for Improvement
If you make a habit of yearly reviewing your teacher portfolio, you’ll be surprised by the picture of yourself that emerges. You can see your strengths. Furthermore, you can see your weaknesses.
You can see your weaknesses by the gaps that you notice in your teacher portfolio. This gives you a chance for reflection. Once you’ve reflected, you can create a plan for improving these gaps.
Reviewing your teacher portfolio samples provides you with an opportunity to improve as a teacher. Not only will this benefit you, this will benefit your students, as well.
And to think, you would’ve never had this opportunity to grow if you didn’t review your teacher portfolio. Going deeper, you wouldn’t have the opportunity if you didn’t have teacher portfolio samples to review.
Preparation for Interviews
Teacher job interviews are a reality. Whether it’s changing districts or moving about within your current district or campus, you’ll probably experience more than one interview in your teaching career. Count yourself blessed if the interview involves moving up, instead of moving over.
Either way, it pays to be prepared. Having a teacher portfolio will help you with this. The teacher portfolio samples typically suggested are included because they address typical questions asked in teacher interviews.
Whether or not you actually share these samples during your interview, curating them and reviewing them help you answer the questions they address. These questions involve your teaching philosophy, classroom management, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement.
If you’re prepared for the interview, you’ll be ready for whatever questions come your way. Being prepared for the interview will help your confidence level during the interview. Overall, your interview go smoother because you prepared your teacher portfolio than if you hadn’t
More Work, Yet More Benefits
Yes, creating and updating a teacher portfolio is more work. Revising and editing needs to be done. You have perused options and choose the best ones. The table of contents needs to be updated.
There’s so much that goes into keeping a teacher portfolio. Yet, there’s so many benefits. Keeping a teacher portfolio helps you establish your purpose and goals for teaching, monitor your actions toward those goals, reflect upon how you can improve your efforts, and broadcast your results to those around you.
This process is pretty much what you do for your students’ progress. Shouldn’t’t you do the same for your own progress?
To learn more about creating a teacher portfolio, check out Developing a Teaching Portfolio: A Guide for Preservice and Practicing Teachers (3rd Edition) (Yes, this is an affiliate link.) by Ann Adams Bullock and Parmalee P. Hawk.
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