What Is a Teaching Portfolio? (With Template and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 31, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As an educator, documenting your teaching career can help your job search, improve your performance reviews, and support personal reflection. A portfolio can describe your teaching success, values, methods, impacts, and goals. If you want to expand your opportunities as an educator, you can learn about a teaching portfolio's importance to your plans.

In this article, we define a teaching portfolio, explain why you might require one, discuss creating a detailed portfolio, share a template, and answer frequently asked questions.

What is a teaching portfolio?

A teaching portfolio is a collection of documents describing your skills, qualifications, and credentials and summarizing your career as an educator. It shows evidence of your teaching effectiveness, enabling educational institutions to gain more insights into your abilities, achievements, and experience. Like your resume, you can use a portfolio to apply for jobs, grants, and academic tenure.

Teaching portfolios differ from resumes because they often include supplemental resources, such as peer reviews and classroom recordings. While you can create one independently, many institutions provide guidelines for preparing digital and physical portfolios to include in websites.

Why consider creating a portfolio?

Preparing a portfolio can benefit you, your academic department, and external stakeholders in the following ways:

  • Showcases evidence of learning: Because a portfolio often contains reports from students, you can use it to show they learn new concepts in your classroom.

  • Ensures transfer of knowledge: You can share your portfolio with your colleagues to help them create theirs. This collection of documents may also help an academic department transfer teaching expectations to a new educator.

  • Demonstrates evidence of professional development: Your portfolio can help your academic dean understand your professional growth and development as an educator.

  • Evaluates your teaching methods: Groups, such as research institutes and departments of education, might request your portfolio for reference or evaluation purposes.

  • Generates ideas for future teaching: A portfolio can help you identify your teaching style and reflect on ideas to improve or sustain it.

Related: What Is a Work Portfolio? (How to Guide With Tips)

How to create teaching portfolios

Here are the general steps you can take to create a portfolio:

1. Craft a teacher's resume

You can use the following formats to create your teacher resume:

  • Chronological resume: focuses on your teaching experience and places it at the top of the page.

  • Functional resume: prioritizes your teaching skills and abilities over your work experience.

  • Combination resume: emphasizes your teaching experience and skills equally.

Related: How to Make a Resume for a Teaching Position

2. Organize relevant materials

Next, you can review your employer's or evaluator's guidelines for creating a portfolio. Doing this can help you align each document to meet their specific needs and support your reason for creating a portfolio. For example, a research institute might require you to include only PDF documents in your portfolio. Organizing your materials can also make referencing information easier.

3. Clarify and summarize your teaching responsibilities

Clarifying your role is typically the first step to creating a portfolio because it can provide context to your teaching activities. In this section, you can summarize your responsibilities for the focus period. For example, if your portfolio covers three years of teaching activities, you can include all your responsibilities for those years. You can also create this section by including details on the courses taught, time commitments for each class, delivery methods, and thesis or projects supervised.

4. Reflect on your teaching philosophy and goals

Your philosophy is a self-reflective statement describing your beliefs about teaching and learning. Here are questions you might ask yourself to identify and describe your teaching philosophy:

  • What is your belief about students and how they learn?

  • What do you believe is your primary responsibility as a teacher?

  • What critical incident defined your development as a teacher?

  • What do you do to improve student learning and growth?

  • How do you know you're an effective teacher?

  • How do you approach working with a teaching team, including co-instructors and teaching assistants?

  • How do you ensure student involvement in classroom activities?

  • Did a role model guide your approach to teaching?

  • How do you give students feedback on their work?

  • What methods of self-assessment do you use to evaluate your teaching abilities?

  • Does scholarly literature on teaching and learning impact your classroom practices?

  • What courses or subjects do you enjoy teaching?

  • Has your teaching influenced your research?

5. Write your statement of philosophy

An effective philosophy statement often focuses on your professional development using a genuine, personal tone. You can acknowledge past or current challenges and explain your strategies for addressing them. This way, the evaluator may understand your commitment to improving your teaching practices and developing your career. You can also convey personality elements for readers to understand your beliefs and core values better.

Example: As an educator, my primary goal is to establish an environment where students can be critical thinkers. I feel it's important to motivate students using engaging research and relevant examples to make each lesson practical. I achieve these goals by encouraging active participation in classroom activities, student interaction, and effective communication. By showing my commitment to students' education, I hope to inspire them and establish a passion for active learning and inquiry. I'm confident students can become future leaders in health and wellness if they're active learners and inquirers.

Read more: A Guide to Developing Philosophies in Teaching

6. Include evidence supporting your philosophy

In this section, you can provide examples and documents describing how you apply your teaching philosophy. For example, you might discuss peer evaluations of your teaching, previous presentations, and academic committees you joined. If you currently teach a course, you might provide a course development outline and confirm that the methods you share support your teaching philosophy.

7. Request constructive feedback from a colleague

Consider sharing your portfolio draft with a colleague or an instructional developer who can offer helpful insights. For example, they might offer recommendations to make your portfolio more engaging or suggest aspects to rework. It can also help to have an independent perspective of a section you want to edit.

Read more: Constructive Feedback Meaning (With Benefits and Tips)

8. Proofread for errors

Like other formal documents, you can check your portfolio for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. If you have multiple pages, you can use online software programs that review documents for errors. Otherwise, consider reading your portfolio to correct any mistakes. A well-written portfolio can help showcase your communication skills and leave a lasting impression on readers.

Related: How to Make a Portfolio

Template for a teaching portfolio

Here's a portfolio guideline you can use to create yours:

Resume or CV
[Include your one- to two-page teacher resume.]

Statement of teaching responsibilities
[Describe your academic advising and supervisory responsibilities.]

Statement of teaching philosophy and goals
[Explain your beliefs about teaching and learning.]

Course development
[Provide an outline of a course you teach.]

Service to teaching
[Discuss faculty development presentations, peer consultations, and academic committee obligations.]

Student and peer evaluations of teaching
[Include evidence from student and colleague evaluation of your teaching abilities.]

FAQs about teaching portfolios

Here are helpful answers to common questions about teaching portfolios:

Can you have multiple teaching portfolios?

While you can create multiple portfolios, managing one may be more efficient. Consider updating your portfolio as you advance your teaching career and gain new experiences. For example, if you earn a promotion and have more teaching responsibilities, you can expand the portfolio section for these details.

What formatting and presentation tips can you use in portfolios?

Here are the best practices for formatting and presenting your portfolio:

  • Include an accurate table of contents for readers to locate portfolio sections.

  • Consider using photos and images where they can improve or support the content.

  • Use a readable font type and size.

  • Consider leaving lines between paragraphs and using margins to make your portfolio more readable.

  • Maintaining consistency with the font for headings and sections.

  • Consider putting your portfolio in a binder or getting it spiral-bound if asked for a physical copy.

What type of student evaluations can you use in your portfolio?

You can use proof of student success and constructive criticism, including feedback from students who may feel differently about your teaching abilities. This way, you can address all ratings and student comments. Consider visual representations, such as histograms, bar charts, and graphs, to summarize student evaluations. This can make it easier for your reader to follow your teaching competency and growth with time.

Does a portfolio require a cover page?

If you prepare a physical copy, you can create a cover to introduce your materials. While a portfolio typically discusses your work with students, consider your target readers when creating a portfolio cover. For example, you can use a simple border and attractive font and include your name, contact information, and job title.

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