I’ve been busy recently, as busy as anyone who has had to – as opposed to wanted to – put together a teaching portfolio will attest. It’s not that I wasn’t warned; I was told six months in advance when I would have to hand in my documents. It isn’t even that I wasn’t proactive; I got cracking as soon as I could and steadily worked on the portfolio over the course of half a year. Despite this, there was still a lot of headless chicken-like running around going on in the days leading up to the hand in. So, how did I do it? What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Here are, in pretty much chronological order, the steps I took in putting together my portfolio.
For me this was an easy step. Wherever possible I like to avoid paddleless trips to shit creek, which is where I would have found myself, at least in job terms, if I hadn’t delivered a portfolio. In many ways I was glad to have this external necessity forced upon me, but there may be a different reason why you decide to start yours. If you’re about to start compiling your portfolio, the first thing I’d suggest you do is be clear about why and for whom you are doing it.
2. Read the guidelines
If there’s a particular procedure or set of instructions to follow, it really is best that you familiarize yourself with them before you even begin. You need to know what’s expected of you and this will make things easier in the long run. I was lucky in that I had a very clear document to work from and a very helpful member of admin staff to consult. Knowing what is wanted in advance will help you begin to get your head around what kinds of thing you want to include and make sure that you include everything that’s necessary. I made sure I did this and had a pretty good idea from the off of what my final product would look like.
3. Take your time
Don’t leave it until the last minute. Just don’t, alright! Compiling a portfolio takes time, several months in my case. Although I started as soon as I found out when I would have to submit it, I still feel that there were things I’d have retrospectively liked to have included. Fortunately, I’d kept a lot of the materials I thought would be relevant clearly filed but I still wished I’d put over stuff in.
4. Seek inspiration
If you can, borrow and read other people’s portfolios for inspiration. I was lucky enough that many of my colleagues had already gone through the process of compiling their portfolios and many were willing to share the ideas on what to include with me. In turn, I’m willing to help my colleagues in the future.
In the next part of this short series, I’ll look into how I went about collecting data, selecting what I thought was appropriate, what advice I sought and how I started putting it together.
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