When you walk into an interview for a teaching job, you want to feel confident in your skills but also your ability to show them off!
In some careers, a resume’ listing experience might be enough, but in teaching, I think it’s a huge boon to go into an interview with a portfolio that really shows the details of that “elementary teacher” position you’ve had (or student teaching).
It’s been awhile since I added my On The Hunt for a Teaching Job series, but I know seeing others’ portfolios really helped me (especially as a new teacher!) so I want to share mine.
For my portfolio, I picked up a professional binder. Yes, it’s expensive, but you want the cover to say, “I’m credible and you need to look at me!” I used a pre-made Word template to make a cover page and added a photo of me with my class as well as my contact information.
In the pocket, I include a resume, and the inside has a matching cover page that works sort of like an informal cover letter. I started with my favorite teaching quote, and used it as a springboard to describe my passion for teaching. I didn’t rehash my resume’ here- but instead wanted to get them interested in me.
(Note: Please feel free to use something similar, but please DON’T copy exactly what I wrote. You want it to be unique to YOU!)
Another option is to make a brochure. This is really great to leave after an interview, especially if it has a picture so they remember which face goes with which name!
Inside, I use dividers to make it clear where I can find certain things. Notice that I said “I can find,” not “the administrator can find.” Administrators may never ask to see your portfolio or have time to do much with it, but if you happen to be in for an interview, a portfolio can be SO helpful! You can see my dividers here, now that I have a few years of experience:
Here, you can see my dividers before my last update, when I hadn’t taught in my own classroom.
In the past, I just stuck in pages of things I’d done. Most were printed out worksheets, assessments, parent notes, etc. And that was okay, but this time around I decided to show a little more.
One HUGE benefit of blogging is that I take lots more pictures of the things going on in my classroom. So, for instance, when I wanted to show my creative lessons, ta – da!
I wanted to showcase classroom management, and again, I already had the photos. It’s a great way to not just tell what I would do, but show it. I want principals to be able to imagine me and my classroom in their school!
I still kept examples of work and other things behind each section, but these pages made it look really polished.
Even if you’re not going to post them on a blog, I’d recommend finding a cheap point-and-shoot camera (or even a smartphone, if you have one) to take photos of your classroom and projects you do. It really helps when a principal wants to imagine you not in a suit, sitting in the office, but in classroom working with students.
What’s really great about these pages is that you can print another copy (or go to FedEx Office for more color copies if you just have way too much money) and leave a mini-portfolio at schools without having to leave your nice binder. I used these mini-portfolios when I dropped off resume’s in person, too!
When you consider what to include, make sure you think about the basics (classroom management, reading, math, engaging instruction, differentiation, assessment and data, organization), but don’t forget to include a section with your credentials and any honors/ certificates/ professional development/ licenses you may have! (Page protectors will keep you from having to hole punch those important papers.)
Think about what makes you unique as a teacher. When they say, “What are your strengths?,” what will you show them?
Don’t be afraid to make it unique and bright! For some other professions, you might not want to add color or any element of cute, but I think as long as it looks professional, colorful works really well for standing out.
If you’re new here, be sure you check out the rest of this series and my new teacher tips!
Next in the On The Hunt series: How to Stand Out (Even Before a Teaching Interview)
Thanks for visiting!