Creating a Teaching Portfolio

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Many teaching job applications or interviews will ask you to share your teaching portfolio. This lesson gives you ideas about how to make your teaching portfolio great.

What is a Teaching Portfolio?

When applying for teaching jobs, it is not uncommon to be asked to share a teaching portfolio, or collection of different documents that come together to showcase who you are as a teacher. A portfolio can be compiled digitally or in a binder; it includes text as well as images. Your portfolio really tells the story of who you are as teacher, and it can be exciting but also time-consuming to compile. In this lesson, you will learn about the key components of a successful portfolio.

Teaching Philosophy

It is a good idea to begin your portfolio with your teaching philosophy, a one to two page statement that expresses your theoretical beliefs about teaching and learning. You should structure your teaching philosophy around your core beliefs and values. When writing a teaching philosophy, consider what you hold true about teaching and why you hope to continue as a teacher. Do not include specific examples in your philosophy; rather, focus on clearly explaining what you believe and why.

Lesson and Unit Plans

One of the cornerstones of a good portfolio is the inclusion of strong lesson or unit plans. Choose lessons or units that you have had the opportunity to implement or, if you have not had this experience, that you have spent a great deal of time reflecting on. It is a good idea to include a diverse set of lesson or unit plans so that readers of your portfolio can get a strong sense of your planning and organizational style as well as your approach to different subjects or subtopics. You should have enough to highlight your different skills, but not too many to be overwhelming or distracting. If you have implemented these lessons, it is meaningful and helpful to include photographs of students in action, doing the activities that are part of the lesson. Make sure your lesson or unit plans are well organized, clearly state objectives, and include opportunities for assessment. If you have implemented these lessons, it can be helpful to add a reflective statement with your thoughts about what makes the lesson strong and how it can be improved.

Assessment Materials

Assessment is such a crucial part of learning and teaching in today's society. Your portfolio will definitely be stronger if you include samples of formal and informal assessments that you find meaningful as a teacher. It can also be wise to incorporate a paragraph stating your point of view on assessment and how you use assessment to inform instruction. A solid portfolio will also provide an example of the organizational strategy you plan to use to keep track of assessment data.

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