What is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is an organized, goal-driven documentation of all your professional growth and competence in the complex act called teaching. It is a collection of documents that provides tangible evidence of the wide range of knowledge, dispositions, and skills that you possess as a growing professional. What’s more, documents in the portfolio are self-selected, reflecting your individuality and autonomy. Therefore, a portfolio is not merely a file of course projects and assignments, nor is it a scrapbook of teaching memorabilia.

There are actually two kinds of portfolios that you will be developing: a working portfolio and a presentation portfolio. A working portfolio is characterized by your ongoing systematic collection of selected work in courses and evidence of community activities. This collection forms a framework for self-assessment and goal setting. You should also develop a presentation portfolio by winnowing your collection down to samples of your work that best reflect your competence, individuality, and creativity as a professional educator.

What is a Working Portfolio?

A working portfolio contains unabridged versions of the documents you have carefully selected to portray your professional growth. It is always much larger than a presentation portfolio. For example, it may contain entire reflective journals, complete units, unique teachermade materials, and a collection of videos of your teaching. Working portfolios are often stored in a combination of electronic storage devices, notebooks, and even boxes.

What is a Presentation Portfolio?

A presentation portfolio is compiled for the expressed purpose of giving others an effective and easy-to-read portrait of your professional competence. A presentation portfolio is selective and streamlined for the individual reader.

Using Your Portfolio During the Interview Process

Before the Interview

To use your portfolio as an interviewing tool, you will need to do the following well before the interview takes place:

  • Streamline the portfolio so that it contains only the most pertinent documents, based on questions that you anticipate.
  • Create a brochure that summarizes your presentation portfolio.
  • Plan a response to each anticipated question that incorporates your portfolio documents.

Using your portfolio as an interviewing tool means that you will need to present it in a concise and thoughtful manner. To do so, it is necessary to think about the types of questions that will likely be asked in your interview. This can help you streamline the portfolio so that it is a compact picture of your professionalism. Then you will need to be thoroughly knowledgeable about the contents so that, as you answer the interviewer’s questions, you can support your responses with documents and access to them instantly. All of this can help you accomplish your goal in the interview – getting the job.