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Like other professionals, teachers need evidence of their growth and achievement over time. The professional portfolio is a vehicle for collecting and presenting that evidence. For many of us, it's just practicing what we preach. We encourage our students to select examples of their work over time to demonstrate how much they've learned, and we must do the same. Portfolios allow us to become reflective about what it is we do. And they allow us to document the practices we'd like to preserve and even pass on to others.
What to Include I. Background Information * resume * background information on teacher and teaching context * educational philosophy and teaching goals II. Teaching Artifacts and Reflections Documenting an Extended Teaching Activity * overview of unit goals and instructional plan * list of resources used in unit * two consecutive lesson plans * videotape of teaching * student work examples * evaluation of student work * reflective commentary by the teacher * additional units/lessons/student work as appropriate III. Professional Information * list of professional activities * letters of recommendation * formal evaluations
Additional Tips * Explain your educational philosophy and teaching goals. * Choose specific features of your instructional program to document. * Collect a wide range of artifacts, and date and annotate them so you have the information you need when making your final selections. * Keep a journal to draw upon for written reflections on your teaching. * Collaborate with a mentor and other colleagues (preferably, those experienced in both teaching and portfolio construction). Meet regularly with colleagues to discuss your portfolio. * Assemble the portfolio in an easily accessible form. The loose-leaf notebook works well, although electronic portfolios may be the wave of the future. * Assess the portfolio. You and your colleagues can assess the portfolio informally, or you can have it formally scored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.