When first applying for teacher jobs, a teacher candidate doesn’t have a lot of experience. They do, however, have the opportunity to bring a portfolio that demonstrates his or her abilities. The portfolio can include observations, examples of your syllabus, and more. It should also include a teacher candidate work sample or two. To help you choose which samples to include, consider the following 4 things:
Linked to Goals
Review your teaching philosophy or teaching statement. Ask yourself:
- What do I believe?
- What should students get from my class?
- How do I want to impact my students?
The examples that you choose should demonstrate the kind of teacher that you will be. Find lesson plans and student work that back up your teaching philosophy.
Assesses Students’ Growth
Units require pre- and post-assessments to understand what students already know and what they learn from the lesson. Examples should show how you assess your students and determine what they know. Grades should show that you’re a fair grader who offers plenty of positive feedback for students that coaches students to improve.
Easy to Understand
If you decide to post your portfolio online or leave a copy with those interviewing you, the work samples need to be self-explanatory. Review the samples. Could someone with no background for your unit understand the assignments? Would they understand what you asked your students to do? Choose a work sample with clear and easy-to-understand objectives and directions.
Shows Average Student Ability
Your classroom has a wide range of abilities and skill levels. You don’t want to choose work samples of your struggling students, but you shouldn’t choose your students who went above and beyond either. Pick a work sample that demonstrates your average student. In fact, it’s best if the student’s work wasn’t perfect. That way, you can add feedback for your student.
During student teaching, take the time to really think about the lessons and assignments that you prepare. Save teacher candidate work samples that best demonstrate your abilities. Include copies of these, with the approval of your students, so you can show them when you’re applying for jobs. Hopefully, your best work will help you land a great teaching job.