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A Guide to Creating Ultimate Teacher Portfolios

July 15, 2019 | TeacherReady


There is an increasing need for teacher portfolios that document achievements and classroom experiences. These portfolios visually communicate a teacher’s experience in a professional and organized manner. Teacher portfolios are not always required but are highly recommended for several reasons:

  • Preparation for an interview
  • Visual presentation of credentials for hiring, promotion, bonuses and renewal of licenses
  • Documentation of ongoing professional development
  • Reflection of philosophy, methods and approaches
  • Self-evaluation of strengths and areas needing improvement

Based on considerable research, our team developed a guide to help you begin working on your portfolio.

Table of Contents for Teaching Portfolios

I. Background Information

  • Resume with Cover Letter
    • perhaps the most important piece of the portfolio and first thing the employer sees
    • must include career goals, certification, education, teaching experience, awards and references
  • Statement of Philosophy and Teaching Goals
    • what teaching and learning means to you
    • a description of how you teach and why you teach that way
    • a personal statement describing your teaching goals for the next few years
  • Personal Information
    • why you became a teacher
    • personality characteristics, core values, family information

II. Artifacts – Documentation of Extended Teaching Activities

  • Course description with syllabus including content, goals, objectives and curriculum standards
  • Sample lesson plans including objectives, materials, introduction, procedures and evaluation
  • Samples of handouts, worksheets and assessment instruments (pretests and posttests)
  • Samples of student work with photos of students in action
  • Videotape of lessons
  • Reflective teacher commentary about lessons
  • Examples of student feedback from surveys and questionnaires about lessons
  • Examples of technology skills such as graphics, presentations, word processing and spreadsheets  

III. Professional Information

  • Professional Activities
    • workshops, conferences, symposiums, seminars, meetings, school committees
    • design of new courses and curriculum, research projects, lab manuals, grants
    • publications in teaching journals and newsletters, public speaking engagements, presentations
    • certificates for honors, awards, trainings and other special recognitions
    • student contest sponsorships such as spelling bees, public speaking contests, essays, academic fairs
  • Teacher Evaluations and Student Test Scores
    • classroom composite test scores – must protect student anonymity
    • state, regional and national student rankings
  • Letters of Recommendation
    • written by colleagues, supervisors, principals, professors, parents of students, not family members
    • should remain relatively current

IV. Communication Samples

  • Correspondence from students, parents, peers, administrators
  • Classroom discipline plan with rewards and consequences
  • Classroom newsletters
  • Classroom syllabus
  • Grading rubrics

V. Evidence of Education (optional)

  • College transcripts
  • College degree certificates
  • Teacher certification test scores
  • Teaching certificate/license

You should begin working on your portfolio as soon as you become certified and update it on a regular basis as you gain teaching experience. In selecting your documentation, keep it simple by including a small set of well-chosen items rather than a large overwhelming collection. Organize your pages for easy reading with an attractive cover, table of contents and section tabs that are possibly color-coded. Extensive information is available if you prefer to create digital teaching portfolios which are gaining in popularity.

Teaching portfolios are professional presentations that capture evidence of an entire teaching career. They provide a structure for preserving the best of what teachers do. When teachers examine their own practices through carefully constructed portfolios, they are better able to identify their strengths and areas where they can improve.

As one educator stated . . .

“The objective is not to create outstanding teacher portfolios, but rather to cultivate outstanding teaching and learning."