This may be redundant for all you ‘ol timers out there, but it may be helpful to newbies and the clueless (like me.) When I was looking for a job about two years ago, a good friend of mine (who happens to be a phenomenal librarian) showed me her portfolio. She had gotten a three ring binder and took all her stuff – awards, accomplishments, resume, letters of reference, lesson plans, samples of students work, pictures of student work, evaluations, anything she had published – articles about herself from the local newspaper and trade journals (I told you she was phenomenal) and placed it in those acid free plastic page protectors and put it in the binder.

This is what she used as talking points to get a job. So when it came time for me to interview, I took my lame portfolio with me. When the interviewer asked me questions, I  would refer back to the portfolio and show something concrete to back it up.
For example, “What is your procedure for student discipline?” I would tell them about the “1, 2, 3 strikes your out” policy – you can say whatever you feel comfortable with (examples followed by a phone call home. Then I would show an example of a parent phone contact log (example
followed by an example of a parent newsletter (examples of some even better ideas

Here are links to other organizational tools that you can include in the portfolio to help sell your organizational skills (just pick the ones you like the best) & And viola! Proof positive that you are organized and have it all together.

That was just an example of how to use it in the interview. But wait! Remember it is all about selling YOU! And YOU are awesome! Did you put any Powerpoints together? What about multi-media presentations? Did anyone film or do an audio recording of the kids doing their thing on stage? If so, burn them on to a CD and give it to the interviewer. They eat that stuff up…yes, it is shameless self promotion and it also proves that you are technologically savvy.

What about a syllabus? If you did one, put it in there.

Do you still have examples of student work? Print out the lesson plan and then show them the student samples.

Did you create a graphic organizer? Put it in there. If not, go here and pick one out that suits your fancy. Use it as an example of what you would do. Talk about how you would use it to help the students learn new vocabulary words. Graphic organizers like this are really hot in the US now. Students predict what the word means and then draw a picture of it once they get the meaning.

Have you ever put a thematic lesson together? Put it in there. Here’s what I did. I put together a pirate themed lesson that went with a story we were reading in one of those hideous text books for below average readers. I found an article with chunked down information (because poor readers get overwhelmed when they look at a page full of words) with pictures. Then I created a custom graphic organizer to go with it. Also, I found a template that I turned into a pirate passport for the character of their choice. I put that in there with student examples.

Survivor theme – no problem. I found a book in the library with all the edible plants in Florida and copied a few of them. Then I made a worksheet up with a few questions like, “I grow on the beach and taste sour, blah, blah, blah. Who am I?” Then there would be another worksheet with a space for the student to respond and then cite information and details from the passage to support his/her answer.

You get the idea. Put in all the creative stuff that you can, along with the lesson plans, student samples, awards, certificates, published articles, etc; Do you have a blog about teaching ESL, print it out or burn it to disc. Your portfolio should be the best of the best that you have done. Now if you are a newbie, that’s OK. Just put in what you would do or what you did during your student teaching.

Here are some sites that explain the whole portfolio thing quite nicely.

Take a look at how this guy manipulates the interview to his advantage.
I’m not sure it will be as effective for non-native speakers.  th_m

Here is a concise article with portfolio tips. While I don’t agree that it is necessary to “show what you have read” and make connections (unless you are specializing in teaching literature or that is your thing anyway.) I do however, agree that including lesson plans is important. Cherry pick your best examples to include in your portfolio. Also, including a sample teaching video could be the difference between landing the job or having your resume tossed in the round file.

Candice weighs in on the subject of bringing your teaching portfolio to the interview. I like this lady.

Having a clearly stated teaching philosophy couldn’t hurt either. At the moment, I don’t have one (my minds a blank) but that doesn’t mean that I won’t get one at some time in the near future. Here is the link to a resource page that will help you put one together.

Here is a sample teaching philosophy. It is kind of lengthy.