By Sheila Corwin and Jennifer Hirashiki
A professional teaching portfolio can be an extremely useful tool. It is a valuable record of your learning and teaching experiences and represents your study (and/or work) in English language teaching. It can also be presented to potential employers when looking for a job as an English language teacher.
Physical Teaching Portfolio
Things you’ll need:
Good copies of work completed, including teaching materials you’ve created
It’s important to buy a professional binder and plastic sleeves to display your work. Clean copies of your best work should be chosen along with any pertinent feedback you have received from your instructors and peers. Your work should be kept in order and as you choose your best completed course assignments or teaching materials, start putting your work in plastic sleeves and insert what you have in your binder.
Online Teaching Portfolio
Things you’ll need:
A profession website- Wix and Weebly are free and easy to use
Recorded teaching samples
Digital versions of your lesson plans, teaching activities, and other created materials
It is very important to make sure your website looks professional and is free from grammatical errors, typos, and formatting inconsistencies. It can be very helpful to have someone review your work and ensure all the links work throughout your post.
At some point, you should make sure your CV/resume is updated and includes all the information that pertains to your course study, assignments, and teaching practice (if applicable). In the content of your CV/resume consider including:
- How many hours you have completed in your TESOL program.
- Information about the course content (names of courses and requirements).
- Any scores or grades for written exams and/or course-work completed.
- Experience with teacher observation. Include proficiency level and kind of lessons (vocabulary, skills, grammar) observed.
If you have completed a practicum, you can also include the following information:
- How many hours of teaching practice you have completed and the location(s).
- Levels taught (beginning, elementary, intermediate, advanced).
- Types of lessons taught (vocabulary, skills, or grammar).
- Whether or not you taught individually or co-taught.
Consider displaying your work in this order for a physical portfolio:
- A copy of your TESOL certificate or diploma
- Letter(s) of recommendation received by your instructors
- One-page (10 items) expressing your personal teaching and learning believes and/or philosophy
- Table of contents (with a listing of course work) and dividers
- Copies of your best work completed (i.e. your original lesson plans and materials created for lessons (handouts, worksheets, pictures, drawings, etc.)).
- Pertinent feedback given by you and received from your instructors and classmates
- Any other important teaching assignments you completed during your program
- Pictures or a DVD of you in the classroom teaching
- Anything else that highlights your TESOL program experience.
Make sure you include all of the documentation mentioned and that all of your work is displayed neatly and can be easily seen in each plastic sleeve (don’t try to cram too much in one sleeve). Take one last look at the order, add your dividers, and then, pat yourself on the back for putting together an excellent teaching portfolio!
Online Portfolio Display
In Westcliff University’s MA TESOL program, all students create an online showcase portfolio in the final course. Many students choose to have an introduction page that includes a professional photo and teaching philosophy. Make sure to include links to your resume, samples of your best work, lesson plan examples and recordings from your practicum. Some teachers include links to any professional social media accounts, such as Linkedin.
Don’t forget to take the portfolio with you during your job search or when going on interviews—you’ll be sure to impress your potential employers. If you have a digital portfolio, you definitely want to share the link during the interview process.
Tips & Warnings
- Remember, the portfolio is a reflection of you and your teaching experience. It should be neat, orderly, organized and include copies of your well-prepared lesson plans, ideas, and materials.
- Take good care of your portfolio and add to it as you gain more experience.
- Bring extra copies of your CV/resume for your potential employer.
- It is recommended not to leave your portfolio (with original work) with potential employers unless you’ve made extra copies and/or don’t mind not getting it back. Show your portfolio and leave an extra CV/resume instead.