So you need to create a teacher portfolio but where do you begin?
Well, we have listed 7 inspiring ways to get started. The article includes elementary teacher portfolio examples and ideas on how to present your portfolio.
But before we begin let’s first cover what is a teaching portfolio? Why is a teaching portfolio useful and what should go into a great portfolio?
What is a Teaching Portfolio?
Ultimately, a teaching portfolio is a way for teachers to showcase themselves. It is a place to gather evidence of great practice and document the important milestones within a teacher’s career.
Many teacher training providers and institutes, ask their trainees to begin creating a portfolio as part of their initial training. And sometimes, schools will also ask their teachers to create and maintain a portfolio whilst they are working with them.
Historically, teachers have evidenced their practice in paper files and folders. However, nowadays teachers are also starting to digitize their portfolios. There are an abundance of creative ways to display a teaching portfolio and we will cover some of these in this article.
Why is a Teaching Portfolio Useful?
Teaching portfolios are useful for multiple reasons:
- Portfolios can be really useful during job interviews and job application processes.
Providing members of an interview panel with a portfolio full of evidence will look really professional. It will show them that you take pride in your work and are proud of your past achievements.
Not only this, portfolios are also really handy when it comes to applying for jobs. By keeping a record of your most noteworthy achievements and highlights you will have a super resource to jog your memory when it comes to writing an application.
- Whether you agree with performance pay in education or not, many schools and districts have opted for it as a way to raise standards. With this in mind, portfolios are sometimes essential in documenting and evidencing your performance in order to climb the payscale.
- As mentioned earlier, some teacher training providers insist that their students create a portfolio. These portfolios are used to track a trainee’s progress and ensure they are meeting teaching standards while they train.
- Sometimes portfolios are just nice to create for fun and keep as a memento of your career, a bit like keeping a diary.
What to Include in a Teaching Portfolio?
- Your updated resume
- A description of your teaching philosophy
- Testimonials from previous employers and colleagues
- Evidence of how your have met the teaching standards
- Your best lesson plans
- Examples of students work
An essential tip: With so much to potentially include in your portfolio make sure it is user friendly. Organize its contents under clear headings. If you are creating a paper portfolio consider using binder dividers.
E-Portfolios are a great way to save time and the planet. This paper free method of creating a teaching portfolio employs the help of Google Sites.
Many schools are now using Google Suite for planning, teaching and learning. Therefore the compatibility of this handy Google Sites template will make it easy for teachers to upload evidence and link to existing documents.
The headers in this particular template are thorough and help to guide teachers as they build their portfolio. Plus, the layout is clear, ensuring easy readability for busy managers and potential employers.
This editable template contains over 100 potential pages, giving you a comprehensive guide to assembling a teaching portfolio.
The pages are easy and hassle free to edit, simply fill in the blanks and off you go.
Alternatively, if you want something a little more personalized you can use the blank page templates to create your own content.
The pages are all printable so, if you are looking to create a physical binder to bring along to job interviews or progress meetings then perhaps this is an option for you!
Adobe Portfolio is an online portfolio which offers some great layouts to which you can add all your important teaching evidence.
Once you have created and published your portfolio you will have essentially your own webpage which you can direct employers to.
It displays collections of work in a visual way and with unlimited pages you won’t find yourself short on space.
While you do have to sign-up and pay a fee for the service, it is worth noting that teachers get a heavily discounted rate for the Adobe Creative Cloud package.
The University of Lethbridge is a Canadian institution that offers teacher training. On it’s website you will find some excellent examples of ePortfolios.
Each portfolio shows an example of a different layout, and their contents vary slightly to give you an idea of what to potentially include.
Some of the online portfolios are created using WIX, a simple website building platform that is easy to navigate even for beginners. The templates WIX offers are modern, professional looking and versatile.
Do note that there is a small monthly fee for you to use WIX which should be taken into consideration.
If it is a simple online webpage that you are looking for similar to the portfolios above which were created on WIX then also consider using WordPress.
Easy to use and with plenty of template options, you will be able to create a unique portfolio just the way you want it.
A benefit of using WordPress is that there is a free version available. It won’t cost you a penny unless you decide to use paid for templates and plugins.
The basic, free plan is more than enough to create a professional looking portfolio that employers can be directed too.
Not your typical portfolio, but if you are a school governor or a senior leader looking for ways to help your staff create a portfolio and track their progress, then this could be an option.
Standards Tracker allows teachers to upload evidence of how they have met teaching standards, and allows leaders to make fair judgements on performance.
At present, the software is marketed towards the UK however, it is customizable and could be tailored to be used in schools worldwide.
Of all the teaching portfolios we have seen, this one really stands out to us.
Setup as a portfolio to document Miss Cowley teacher training experience, it is detailed and easy to navigate.
The inclusion of plenty of pictures makes her portfolio pop! Remember, potential employers and school leaders are busy people, too many words and walls of text are going to be a real turnoff for them.
Miss Cowley includes information on her career and her teaching philosophy, as well as first hand examples of her great teaching practise.
Yes, teaching portfolios are a fantastic way to demonstrate your skills during recruitment processes. They are an important way for leaders to assess your progress and performance. They are also an excellent tool for reflection, they collate important thoughts and document our steps to improvement.
But on a personal level teaching portfolios can also hold amazing memories. Moments that you are proud of, lessons that were a success and the way students have responded. All of these times are important to hold onto. These memories help bolster our esteem when we are running on empty and remind us of what great, hard working teachers we are.
Whatever your intentions for creating a teaching portfolio, we hope that these examples and ideas have inspired you. Feel free to use a premade template or borrow ideas from the different examples we have shared. Just be sure to add your own touch and make your teaching portfolio reflect you. Enjoy!