Thursday, April 25, 2013

Creating a Professional (not quite) Portfolio

I decided recently that it was time to create a portfolio of sorts for a few reasons. One reason was that I was cleaning and came across the portfolio I had to make during student teaching and was so disgusted by it and decided it was a bit er-- outdated. Another reason was that I recently saw this post about making a portfolio from HoJos Teaching Adventures and was really inspired by this picture:

Aaaaaaannnnnnnnddddd perhaps the most important reason was because I have decided that I would like to transfer to a different school in my district, which means interviews, which means panic attack-deer in the headlights-sweaty feet nervousness for me (sorry TMI). I will go into more details about the transfer stuff later, but I would like to share that my interviews went great, I DID use my portfolio during the interviews, and I DID just accept a position at the school I wanted for next year. Yay for new adventures!

Anyways. Back to the portfolio stuff...

So I knew I wanted to make a new portfolio. Because let's face it-- my student teaching portfolio was beyond repair. This had to be a total re-build.

BUT I had also talked to far too many colleagues who said they put all these hours into making a portfolio and no one ever wanted to look at it..... so I decided to do it a little differently - the Flamingo Fabulous way!

Enter..... my professional "Look Book"


I really wanted this to be more of a structured collage of my teaching experience rather than copies of lesson plans and long dissertations about my philosophy of education and all that jazz. I do have some of the more traditional stuff in the first section of the binder, like my resume and other professional documents, but the rest of the binder is strictly photos and captions.

My thinking behind this was that I needed to make this a tool for ME to use during my interview rather than just something I'm HOPING these people will take a few minutes to look through (which they never do). When hit with those, "Tell me about a time when you . . ." questions I wanted to be able to flip through this book and show them photos of a time I did whatever they are asking about. Presto! Instant photographic evidence that both helps me not get stuck on a question and helps the interviewers really visualize what I'm talking about.

So here are a few photos of my Look Book for your viewing pleasure!

Here is the "About Me" section where I put the more traditional stuff:

This is a copy of a grant I wrote for books in my classroom a few years ago. This came in handy when my panel asked me about my skills with written communication.

Blah Blah Blah

I included a copy of my weekly lesson plans just in case that came up in discussion (which it didn't).

My summer letter to future second graders and long-range plans.

This is where the fun begins! This is from the Literacy section. I included topics such as Writing Workshop, Book Buddies (kids are partnered with a different grade level class), pictures from the Fairy Tales/Storytelling unit, Book-related projects, Book character dress up day, etc. 

Every year I set up times to meet with my students at the public library over winter and spring break if I'm not traveling. In the book it goes...

Here are some math pictures. I used the measurement lesson pictures when asked about cross-curricular lessons.

Social Studies

Science Stuff

Classroom Community projects and activities

And lastly, I included general pictures from my classroom and of my management systems. I used this when they asked me about my behavior plan.

So there you have it! If you go through all the trouble of making a portfolio for interviews, MAKE THEM LOOK! And the best way to do that is to give them something to look at that gives them a sense of who you are as a teacher. When it comes down to it, I made this book to help ME so why not use it during the interview?

And btw... My panel asked me "How would others describe you?" which was like the scariest question of all because I have no clue really what others think about me. I am just living in my own little akward world over here. So the first thing out of my mouth was:

"umm... quirky."

I'm immediately thinking to myself, "why do I always fail when given those epic opportunities to really "sell" myself????"

The principal said, "I've never heard that one before. You're honest, I like that."

And I guess there's something to be said for standing out in a crowd and being memorable. Because they just hired the "quirky girl".

As always, stay fabulous my friends.


  1. Congrats on the position. Your look book is a great idea.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Thank you! I am in the same boat as you and I really want the new job. I hate trying to sell myself. I am going to start working on my book! Congrats!