I got the idea to write this post based on a recent discussion about teaching portfolios in the Facebook Art Teachers group. I thought sharing parts of mine might be helpful to a prospective teacher who is building their portfolio. These are all my opinions and you might have a better way to show your teaching experience. Another teacher suggested bringing an iPad to the interview with digital pictures. I think that would be a fantastic way to show your knowledge of technology!
Why Keep a Teaching Portfolio
- When going on an interview, it is a great way to show off your students’ artwork and give a visual example of what you can do. In my opinion, having something visual to show administration is vital as a visual arts teacher.
- During the interview, you can flip through to a relevant page that answers the question asked. For example, let’s say the interviewers ask a question on collaboration. That would be the perfect time for you to show pictures of a project where you collaborated with another teacher or school. Make sticky tabs that mark important papers.
- It’s professional. I felt more organized, prepared and confident going into interviews.
But I already have a job, do I need to keep up my portfolio?
- That’s awesome! Yes, I would recommend still keeping up your portfolio or at least make sure to hang on to important papers that you collect as you teach.
- Here’s my story: I’ve been through the job hunt process three different times. Once, when I graduated college, once when I moved to Wisconsin from Illinois and then again when I wanted to move to a full-time position from the part-time teaching position I had. It is definitely stressful! Anyways, I’ve been at my current school for 7 years now, so I have not thoroughly updated my portfolio since then. However, every time I do something that would be a nice addition to my portfolio, I will add it. Have an art show? Save the flier. Take a professional development course? Save the certificate. Honestly, my portfolio is a mess now, but that’s okay because I have all the papers I want if I ever need to look for a new job. And let’s face it. Even though I love my current school and I’m not planning on leaving, you never know what can happen in life. Maybe your spouse/partner will get a dream job offer and you will move. Maybe you’ll need to move for other reasons.
- Also I would keep it up just because it is fun to look back on what you have done over the years.
Here are some pictures from my portfolio. As I said before, many of these are older documents from about 7-10 years ago.
Cover of Portfolio
Writing a resume could be a whole other blog post or how-to book! Make sure you have a friend review it for spelling or grammatical errors.
Letters of Recommendation
Include a lesson plan you have written for a project you have taught. I do not currently write these for every lesson I ever teach, but I do plan out the objectives and so forth.
Student Handouts or Worksheets
These should be ones that you have developed.
Photos of Finished Projects
You can include photos of children working on their artwork as well as finished projects.
Administrators want to know how you assess students. When I taught at the junior high level, I used rubrics. I use checklists and narratives now.
Be prepared to share how you incorporate reading and writing into your curriculum. Here are some art history booklets that students made. Including student work in your portfolio is a must!
Communicating with Parents
How do you communicate with parents? Art newsletters, screenshot of your website or Artsonia, program guides, etc.
Community and School Wide Events or Special Projects
Include school newsletters you have appeared in, extra projects you have done for the school, art shows, community shows, etc.
Opinions vary on how much personal artwork to include. I’m sure administrators assume that you know the basics of art, but if you have any personal artwork or exhibits to share, a page or two can’t hurt.
Include certificates from workshops, conferences or conventions you have attended
I don’t know if other people do this or not, but I include evaluations I have gotten from administrators at previous jobs. I want to show them I have nothing to hide.
Phew! That was a long blog post! I hope this may have given you some ideas for your own portfolio. What do you think? Does your portfolio look similar? Do I include too much in mine?