I am not saying this will guarantee you a job, but I have found mine to be VERY useful! Sometimes I have trouble answering those questions of "Tell me a time when you..." I don't always know what to say!! Well, now I can have my portfolio speak for me!
Check it out!
This is the very simple cover page. I guess I could do more with it, but I'm more interested in showing them my teaching skills than dazzling them with my computer skills. (Now if I were applying for a school where technology is HUGE that would be different!!)
I also used to have an electronic portfolio but that one honestly was NEVER shown. Maybe South Dakota (my home state) is a bit old-school yet and likes true portfolios... Either way, I feel it is worthwhile to make one and take with you to the interview. You never know when it may be helpful! Plus - once you take the time to create it once, all you'll have to do is quickly update it for the next interview, even if it is years down the road. :)
The very first page is an overview of the portfolio. I use the same layout for this sheet as I do for my resume, simply to keep things looking sharp.
Very few administrators have read this while I am there. However, I always give them the option of keeping it - which a couple have done. My assumption is that they will have more time to read this page if they hang on to it.
The body of my portfolio is set up like this: enclosed are samples of lessons I have taught from grades ____; also enclosed are parents letters, class activities, evaluations, etc; tell them where to find my online website; and thank them for their time
I have a heading page for each subject/division in my book. I use the same color paper throughout just to keep it looking neat.
Within each section I include 2-6 examples of activities I have done in my classroom. I try to include items that would be a better fit for the job. (i.e. Include lower elementary examples if you are applying for 1st grade, not your middle school materials!)
Included in my Reading/Language Arts tab I include a quiz I created over a novel, figurative language worksheets I have created, PowerPoints I have made to show how I incorporate technology, and others.
For math I show these fishbowls I use with test prep, worksheets I have created, and others that apply.
In Science I show different experiments I have done and a worksheet that incorporates science and language arts. This shows that I can combine activities to fit a variety of standards while making learning fun!
In Social Studies I show a webquest I made, a state project I did, and a final project I created using differentiated project choices for the students. The point is to show how versatile I am!
The Miscellaneous tab gets a bit busy. Here are some things I have included in the past: summer reading logs, lesson plan layouts from past years to model my organization, and PICTURES!
I feel pictures REALLY show what my classroom "looks" like. It shows the amount of activities I do, and these are what I find myself most often referring to during the interview. It is perfect for those "Tell me about a time you ______" questions!
In the Parent/Family Communication section I include newsletters I have sent home to family. It shows that I keep communication open with them!
Finally, I include copies of evaluations I have had done in the past and letters of recommendation. **These are almost always left at the site of the interview!** Typically the person conducting the interview asks me to leave these for them. About half of these folks have asked me to leave the portfolio, and I don't always get these back.
The biggest tip I have when making a portfolio is to make more than one copy! Always keep an original because you never know when a copy may be left at the school. (Trust me, I had to hunt down all of those lessons a second time after an administrator asked to hang on to it! I was in panic mode with an interview the next week!)
5/24/2012 update -
I had a wonderful reader send me an e-mail with the following tips:
If you bring a student-teaching portfolio, don't just offer it for the interview team to look at. USE it to demonstrate your experiences.
Examples: 1) Using the writing process, this is a time when the students were revising - have page bookmarked and show examples (pictures or student samples.)
2) This is a time when I used "x" as a manipulative - we did _____ using "x" to explore and make an inference. Show pictures or student work to support.
***Use the portfolio to show specific examples of specific lessons, rather than - "This is what I did during my student teaching. Take a look." It is a lot more powerful if you use it to support specific experiences that you taught.
Thank you to Ellen Klein for this information! She is a 5th grade teacher who has sat in on many different interviews over the years.
Alright, I hope this "tutorial" was at least somewhat helpful to you! If you are looking for some potential interview questions, go here.
Please share your tips on getting a new teaching position in the comment below!
Good luck with your job search!