How many of you actually have a portfolio and use it?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I keep thinking maybe I should put one together. I have heard so many times that they don't ask for them during the interview. To put one together would take a lot of my time. Is it worth it do you think? Do you have one? Have you used it? Thanks.
     
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  3. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

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    Yes to all three questions. It shouldn't take an entire day to gather up your best materials. It took me about 3-4 hours, but it was worth it.
     
  4. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Who says they have to ask? I would bring it in with me and set it on the table. When they ask about some of my practices, I would use it as a resource and perhaps show examples from the portfolio.
    Make one!
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    heavens,
    We had to write our philosophy of education and prepare a portfolio as a grade in our credential class. I'm surprised you haven't already done one.

    Don't let it overwhelm you! The huge portfolio we were forced to make in school is much bigger than you actually need. Since then, I've made a much smaller one that is more too the point.

    Pull out your resume, your teaching observations, student teaching evaluations, some pictures of you teaching, pictures of a bulletin board or two that you've made, your teaching philosophy (if you aren't sure where to start, google it for some examples that may jumpstart your creative process.) Organize it in a nice binder. It doesn't have to be fancy.

    A portfolio (or mini portfolio) is an essential thing to have in obtaining a teaching job. Use it in the interview to help highlight your strengths and experience.

    Good luck!
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Portfolio Basics

    ■Table of contents
    ■Resume, including continuing education, special committee work and awards and special recognition
    ■References
    ■Letters of recommendation
    ■Transcripts
    ■Educational philosophy
    ■Classroom management theory
    ■Personal goals
    ■Sample worksheets, games and tests
    ■Examples of lessons - units or projects
    ■Photos of your classroom in action to illustrate your lesson examples
    ■Examples of students' work
    ■Final results of projects or committees you have been a part of
    ■Optional: short video showing you in action in front of the classroom and one-on-one with students
    ■Optional: screen shots and addresses of school or classroom websites you have created
     
  7. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Rainstorm, thanks for the information. It is very helpful. I have never had my own classroom so I wouldn't have too many of these to show off. What does a hiring person really want to see from a portfolio?
     
  8. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I think my portfolio has helped me to land my jobs. I use it to answer questions they ask. If they ask about what my classroom would look like... I have a picture. If they ask how I assess student learning...I show a rubric. If they ask about performances...I show concert programs.

    Below is my table of contents. On the divider of each section I broke down exactly what materials were in that section.

    1. Teaching Philosophy
    2. Teaching Responsibilities
    3. Teaching Course Materials
    4. Students in Action (Pictures of students working)
    5. Music Programs
    6. Evaluations
    7. Honors
    8. Documents

    :D
     
  9. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    My P is very big on portfolios. I don't think you'd be selected if she couldn't see your portfolio first. Mine was made from classroom experience that was 15 years old and it wasn't professional looking, but it showed enough I guess.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    You said that if they ask you a question about what your room would look like you would have a picture; what picture did you use? How can I present a picture if I don't have one? Would I use my student teaching room as my "portfolio" room?
     
  11. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I put together a mini portfolio. I would pull it out and show examples pertaining to the questions they had. I always brought at least 5 and left them with the interviewers. I think it's one of the reasons I was hired.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Yes I have one, and yes I use it for every interview!
     
  13. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    If you helped set up the room you student taught in or perhaps did a bulletin board you could use that. You could even use the picture of the room but say if I had my own room I would have a reading center there and group area time over here, etc... You could also do a sketch or computer drawing of how "your" room would look. :D I'm just a big fan of pictures b-c I think it stays with the interviewers more than words. ;)
     
  14. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    OK, thanks all, this is very helpful; how do you present it? In a binder with sheet protectors? Make a scrapbook? What does the portfolio that you present at the interview look like, how did you put it together? Do you leave it or them? Thanks.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Have you completed some type of student teaching program? I had to create a portfolio during my student teaching assignment that contained this and more...it was an absolutely stuffed two inch binder. For my interview I took the most pertinent and best information from the big ol' binder and made a more reasonable portfolio, and as someone else has already mentioned, when they asked questions I supported some of my answers with proof from the portfolio. I also hadn't taught solo yet, but I had all of the necessary parts including student work and photos and such, from my student teaching placement.

    So, in summary: yes, make one! :)
     
  16. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    I think it must depend on the geographical area you're in as well as the grade level and content area you're applying for.

    I had created one for student teaching that I put a lot of time and effort into but SOO many teachers in the area told me not to waste my time. I then made a second one with just my professional credentials in it, and offered it to interviewers to look at, but no one wanted it. I plan on updating that one just for myself to keep up with my credentials, but I can't say that it was really worth my time.
     
  17. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I use a nice black presentation binder with a clear, framed front for a cover. Everything is in page protectors. (The thick kind that fold over and close on top - not the cheap ones). I have clear pocket protector style dividers with tabs that I print the number of the section that corresponds to the Table of Contents. I do not leave it with them, however I do have a brochure I created that has pictures and highlights from my portfolio and resume. Some people create mini portfolios and leave them with schools I believe. :D
     
  18. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    Having one will definitely show that you are profession. However, I have never been asked to show mine. When called for an interview, I asked if I should be bring it and even when I was told no, I brought it anyway (for reassurance). Just make sure that you keep it updated and organized (and remember, your philosophy will change over time). However, I did have a friend that went on an interview and was asked to leave hers to be reviewed because the administrator was behind schedule. When she returned to get it, she was offered the job! The P was more than impressed with her portfolio.:) Good luck with it.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I would imagine it would be time very well spent.

    And don't wait for them to ask for it. When a question comes up about how you do something, or would do something, you answer is: "Let me show you a page from my portfolio as I answer..."

    In this economy, you've got to do anything and everything you can to set yourself apart from the pack.

    I would most definitely do a portfolio if I were looking for a teaching job!!! Do it TODAY!!

    Then take bits and pieces of it, go to vistaprint, and make up brochures to include with resumers.

    But, again, do it TODAY. Thursday is July 1st.
     
  20. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    I didn't use one during the interview process and was never asked. I had actually been told by several principals prior to beginning the interview process (they came to our classes so that we could do a Q & A with us) that they didn't like them. They felt that most candidates use them as a crutch. They said if you really felt like you had to have it and use it, to really only reference it twice... and make sure that when you open it up, it pertains to what you are talking about.

    I put together one online (I wish it still worked so I could send a link) through my college's website. It had a link to philosophy, resume, lesson plans, test scores (from the Praxis II, VRA, etc), coordinating teacher evals, letters of reccommendation, etc. I had the link on my resume. That gave the principal an opportunity to look at it without it being forced on them. Our career services told us that if we did it like this, bringing a laptop to the interview was also an option... it shows that you are competant with technology too.
     
  21. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Absolutely! In my area if you don't bring a portfolio to the interview it reflects poorly on you. I always referred to the documents I had in my portfolio, because they allowed me to show what I could do! My basic sections were:
    1. Professional Development
    2. Lesson Plans
    3. Behavior management
    4. Technology
    5. Communication
    6. Evaluations

    At the front I also included my resume and philosophy - but that was more for my reference - something to glance at briefly to help answer questions
     
  22. LMT

    LMT Rookie

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    I have an online web page...BEST THING I EVER DID!! I put it together VERY quickly using yahoo small business web hosting...think it is like $7 a month.

    When we found out we were moving, I threw it together in a few hours. (And I am NOT great with the computer).

    Many times in an interview they don't want to sit and go through numerous papers/lesson plans/pictures, etc.

    What I did was post the link saying they could access my online portfolio and the web address at the bottom of my resume. I also emailed my resume and the link with a letter of interest to school principals where I wanted to be considered...I was amazed at the response. It lets them get onilne and look at everything (pictures, my license, recommendations, extra duties, etc.) at their convenience and at the touch of a button.

    If you are interested in seeing it...shoot me a message and I'll give you my web address!
     
  23. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Thanks, LMT, I just sent you a pm.

    Wow, looks like I will be busy this week. EEEK. I did one with my program but I don't like it that much. Did any of you follow a special format or can guide me to a particular website that helped you put your portfolio together?

    Thanks.
     
  24. Windy City

    Windy City Companion

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    Some of the best interviewees that I have seen used their portfolios exactly like that. They could back up everything that they said with examples. And you know that teachers looooove examples!

    The absolute worst interviewees showed up completely empty handed (not even a resume for the panel). They were always unprepared and seemingly uninterested.

    If you want to have examples of student work, find some students! Volunteer to tutor during the school day. Have pictures during those sessions, keep student work. You don't need a years worth of work to show. By, FAR the most successful candidates who did not have teaching experience clearly went out of their way to work with kids in some capacity (usually through volunteer work). From what I have seen, a candidate who has never worked with kids (beyond student teaching) never even makes it to the interview stage.

    It needs to be professional, but not cutesy. When I'm on the committee, I don't want to look at an educational philosophy typed on a page with ABC's, shapes, and colors (you know those pages you can buy at the teacher store?). It should be crisp and clear.
     
  25. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Thanks LMT, I am very impressed. Are you sure you aren't a techy? Great job! Thanks for sharing and giving me some ideas. OMG, I have a lot of work to do...
     
  26. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    I definitely think portfolios help. I wouldn't make it huge b/c my AP told me that they don't read the huge ones. I think pictures are a great thing to include - bulletin boards, pictures of you with kids. I would include a few things (maybe one page) with pictures of your family, pets,etc. It gives them a personal glimpse of the true you.
     
  27. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I didn't follow any special format. I divided the portfolio into sections and each section was color coded so the interviewer could find the things I was referencing quickly. I made it after my second year of teaching and I included:
    -Cover sheet
    -Table of contents
    Section 1 (about me)
    -cover letter
    -resume
    Section 2 (what I can offer a school)
    -sample lesson
    -teaching philosophy
    -classroom/behavior management plan
    -charts of NWEA results to show student growth from the beginning of the year
    Section 3 (things they may need to see before they hire me)
    -copy of teaching license
    -reference sheet and reference letters

    I think that's all, I made it three years ago, so it may not be exact. I worked on that thing like it was my second job! I would leave school and tweak it daily and I had numerous people look over it to offer any suggestions for improvement. I think it had somewhere around 20-30 pages. It paid off because I got another job after only going on 2 interviews.

    A lot of it is being able to sell yourself also. I practiced a lot and read through the suggestions and interview questions on this forum a lot. I invested in a good suit. And I even wore heels (If you know me you would know how huge that is.

    Make sure your portfolio tells what you want it to and makes a point. Include only things that have real meaning (to your interviewer, not to you) and tell your interviewer YOU NEED TO HIRE ME NOW! No one has time to sit and look through 30 pictures of some random class with kids working. Those photos tell the bare minimum of what anyone would expect out of a teacher. Everything in my portfolio was valuable. If they asked me about how I would promote student growth, I told them and then had charts to back it up. They wanted to know how I ran a classroom, so I directed them to the classroom management section. My portfolio wasn't just there to sit on their desk and collect dust during the interview. I used it as visual aides.

    Send thank you notes after every interview to everyone on the interview panel!

    It's been three years since I got hired and my AP still tells me that my interview was the best he has ever sat in on-including his own.

    And to add a little bit to that-I sat in on interviews for a new assistant principal. The one that got the job is the only one that brought a meaningful portfolio that she used during the interview to prove the points she was making (we has one bring a portfolio that had to be 500 pages. She left it and it sat on the back table right where she left it-no one even touched it.). The one that got the job is the only one that sent thank you notes after the interview. She's also the only one that wasn't done with her principal internship-all of that other stuff does make a difference and can make the difference.
     
  28. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Thanks cheeryteacher, I really appreciate all that you had to say. Thanks for taking the time.
     
  29. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I've been reluctant to say anything, because I've never used a portfolio. I had to make one in University, and then never got it back. Out of three interviews in the past three years, or so I've gotten two of the jobs. (Of course, both jobs were in the school where I did my student teaching, and I have strong connections there).
     

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