Guest post by Jordyn Pistilli
Revamp Your Online Portfolio Just in Time for the Hiring Season!
Remember that website you had to put together for that one class back when you were an underclassman? Wasn’t it some portfolio or something? And weren’t you supposed to add stuff to it? For many education majors, the digital portfolio or professional website you created during your early college days or after your first field experience is long forgotten. But now that “real life” is just around the corner and it’s time to consider job possibilities and your future, you’re probably wondering how you can stand out. Maybe your website can help you with that. You’ve changed a lot since you first put your portfolio together, so it is time for your portfolio to change along with you. You have had experience after experience and capitalized upon opportunity after opportunity. The time has come to brush the dust off your portfolio and revamp it to best showcase the educator you’re becoming during your time in college.
One of the most significant changes that happened to you during your journey as an education major was likely your student teaching experience. Whether you had one placement or two, or you student taught for a semester or a year, you gained a ton of experience and created original resources to help your students succeed. Whatever resources you gained from student teaching should be featured prominently on your site. Check out the easy-to-follow steps below to see how to make your digital portfolio site “interview ready” after student teaching. Let’s jump right into seven Practical Steps for Editing Your Portfolio After Student Teaching:
Go through everything you have from student teaching: resources, lesson plans, pictures, etc.
Take note of the lessons that stood out to you, your co-op, and your students. These should be the lessons that you showcase.
Create a section on the homepage of your portfolio that highlights 3-4 of these stand-out lessons. Draw the attention of whoever checks out your site to these lessons.
As you’re doing this, imagine you’re a principal considering you as a potential hire. You likely don’t have enough time to sift through a whole website for just one candidate. Lessons featured on the homepage make learning about a teacher candidate quick and easy.
Think back to all the resources you created for student teaching besides the 3-4 you highlighted on the homepage. Come up with a way to organize them into categories you can feature on your site.
Consider following a model such as the Danielson Framework (Danielson, 2007), a set of elements and components that outline best practices within the teaching profession, or the SAMR (Puentedura, 2010) model. Have tabs on your site for each model category and place your resources within the category they best represent. This simple way makes your website easy for any viewer and potential employer to navigate.
Once you have your example resources featured on your site, add content showing how they relate to the category under which you put them. You don’t want to have a picture of a lovely bulletin board that shows student interaction without explaining what is demonstrated in the image. Always provide context to the image or example.
Update your resume to include your student teaching experience and upload the document to your site. Want to make it fancy? Please ensure the link to your site is featured on your resume or add it as a QR code!
Consider featuring any professional development opportunities in which you participated on its separate tab in your portfolio. This demonstrates your dedication to your craft! Some examples could be workshops, edcamps, conferences, webinars, and podcasts that you attended or presented.
Please have a friend check out your site on their computer. Have them try it out, clicking on tabs and links to ensure everything is in order. Ask for their honest feedback! This will also help you to find any links that don’t work.
Print out web pages from your portfolio (no more than 2 or 3 and preferably with photos) that you think best highlight who you are as a teacher. Bring these pages to interviews to best paint the picture for interviewers as you share about your student teaching.
You’ve already done the work. The hard part is over. You’ve had all of these fantastic learning experiences throughout your college career. Now it’s time to show it and share it. Create and design a site that you are proud of. It shows you as the powerful, positive, and professional educator that you are! You’ve got this!