You’ll use your student teaching portfolio when you apply for a job, ask for a promotion, apply for a grant, and for other situations. It’s evidence of your teaching abilities, documenting the kind of teacher that you are, and the types of lessons and activities that you plan. So what should you include in your student teaching portfolio? Here are 6 items that you should add.
Personal Background Information
One of the most important items to include is your personal teaching statement. This answers the questions “what does teaching and learning mean to you?” and “how do you teach and why?” The statement should include your teaching philosophy, strategies, objectives, and ideas that shape how you teach. Along with your personal teaching statement, include
- your resume
- professional goals
The course information is a quick overview of the unit(s) that you taught during student teaching. Include your instructional plan with objectives, assignments, reading lists, resources and technology used, and methods employed. This quick overview shows potential employers the depth of the content that you covered.
Choose samples of lesson plans (especial if you've learned how to individualize lessons) to include in this section. Find ones that best demonstrate your personal teaching philosophy. Make sure that the lesson plans are thorough enough for a substitute to replicate without any help from you. You should also include all worksheets to be copied for the lesson.
Along with the lesson plans, include samples of graded student work. You should have a bad example, a good example, and the best example to show a range of student ability and understanding. The examples can be photocopies, but it’s best to ask students if you can keep samples of their work.
Some people like to include videos with their student portfolios. Although this can be a great addition, you need to respect the students’ privacy. If you choose to do this, send home a permission slip to parents to ask them if you can include their child in this video.
Your unit should include a pre and post-test. Assessments could be in the form of essays, tests, presentations, workbooks, or whatever else you choose. It’s also helpful to include several students’ work as examples with written feedback from you on the work.
You already know that you should find a teaching mentor. Throughout your student teaching experience, your mentor teacher should evaluate your performance. Also, include evaluations and letters of recommendation from colleagues, student evaluations, and others. Don’t be afraid to ask administrators or department heads to observe your classroom and complete an evaluation for you. You can include good evaluations in your portfolio, and use the not so good ones to improve your teaching skills.
You may not have a lot of professional contributions to add at this point, but you should continue to develop and add to your portfolio after getting a job. Some of the things that you can add to this section include textbook contributions, publications in teaching journals, speeches at conferences, teaching awards, and recognitions.
After gathering the materials to include in your student teaching portfolio, think about how to organize the material. Will you keep everything in a binder with labeled tabs? Will you create an online student teaching portfolio that you can email to prospective employers? Find a way to show your work in a clear and organized way that best exemplifies who you are as a teacher and what employers can expect when hiring you.