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How-To: Develop as a Professonal

Prepare a Professional Portfolio Judy Jones

You are about to begin your first year of teaching and probably the last thing on your mind is building your professional portfolio. However, from the moment you walk into your school, documents will start passing your way. You will attend staff development meetings; you will get letters from parents and administrators; and you will get involved in committees and other "outside of the classroom" activities. You will create noteworthy classroom lessons and projects. It is extremely easy to lose the evidence of these activities in the great stack of papers and other items that will end up in your "to-be-filed-someday" pile!


START A PORTFOLIO: Right now, before you forget, create a folder. Call it "My Professional Portfolio" or something like that and date it. Keep it in a very obvious place. (I keep mine in a file box on my desk at school.) Whenever you receive any documentation about your participation in a course or a workshop, put it in the folder! Whenever you receive a thank you letter from a parent or administrator, put it in your folder! If you develop an original, successful lesson, put some evidence of that lesson in your folder!

DATE EVERYTHING: Make sure that everything you put in your portfolio has a date on it. Sometimes, I go back to my portfolio and discover that a letter is undated and I rack my brain to remember the date that I received it! You won't be perfect, either, but you can pursue the goal!

TRANSFER BASIC DATA TO VITA: Once a year I sit down and update the "long version" vita that is saved on my computer AND on a disk. It becomes a simple task to take my portfolio file for that year and simply enter the data into my vita. Over the years, I have saved other versions of the vita - the short forms! But I find the long form is a terrific record for me of almost 20 years of teaching. I have recorded my various jobs, workshops, courses, and honors as well as school-related and community activities.

START A NEW PORTFOLIO EACH YEAR: I have found that keeping a portfolio for each year filed away in a file cabinet is an easy task. And it makes life very simple when I need to seek out evidence for job applications or other involvements that require my records.

This method is very sparing of your time. You may find some other variation that works for you but the important thing is to keep your records organized!


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