This is a compilation of the highlights of a teacher’s career. In other words, it’s a coherent set of materials that stand for a teacher’s teaching practice as related to student learning. Typically, a teaching portfolio contains:
- A summary of the teacher’s teaching roles and corresponding responsibilities
- A teaching statement that includes a concise discussion of the teacher’s teaching objectives, strategies, and methods
- Evidence of effective teaching
Teachers should start their portfolio with a brief description of their teaching roles and responsibilities along with other non-classroom teaching activities. I taught my learners how to use a grade calculator. If they have carried out activities that augment student learning, like advising undergraduate students, tutoring, or mentoring undergraduate researchers, they should include them in their teaching portfolios.
The rest of the teaching portfolio should be structured around the teacher’s teaching statement and a coherent description of objectives for student learning. I also taught my students how to write an argumentative essay. Basically, the teaching statement summarizes a teacher’s teaching experiences and provides comprehensive examples of the professional’s classroom practices.
Every claim a teacher makes in the teaching statement should be backed by adequate evidence. Items included in this section should ideally be connected to the teacher’s objectives for teaching and learning as explained in the teaching statement.
When creating a teaching portfolio, it’s important to be selective and concise. The teachers should decide how and in what sequence they would present the data they’ve gathered from their colleagues, students, and themselves. Those who are undecided can consider their audience’s perspective and what kind of evidence they’ll find convincing to build their teaching portfolios. The objective should be to choose, arrange, and present the data in a manner that brings the most convincing evidence into focus for the readers. Each piece of evidence that finds a way in the teaching portfolio should serve a purpose and support the teacher’s claim.
Teaching portfolios differ significantly depending on their particular audience, purpose, disciplinary and institutional context, and individual requirements. However, the body of a portfolio is usually about 5 to 8 pages long. It’s followed by appendices that typically take up almost 8 to15 more pages.
For a teacher, a teaching portfolio can offer multiple benefits, such as:
- Evidence of learning in the teacher’s classroom
- Documentation of professional development activities
- Examples of teaching success that can be shared during an interview
- A story about how the teacher’s teaching has evolved over time
- Proof of meeting professional criteria for promotion
- A way of documenting a legacy upon retirement
A teaching portfolio contains the best work from your teacher education program. It can contain a lesson or unit plans, curriculum, assessments, video lessons, and online courses that you developed in your teacher education courses. You collect all of your best work and place it in your teaching portfolio to show prospective employers that you have what it takes to be a teacher at their school. I have seen student teachers hired on the strength of their portfolios. If you have any questions about teaching portfolios, let me know. I will be more than happy to help.