Tool: Tapping into beginning teachers’ portfolios
Sometimes we assume that beginning teachers have narrow views of teaching
and limited repertoires for practice. Most often this is not the case.
Beginning teachers bring emerging philosophies and a host of insights
and approaches that need to be tapped. One way to
do this is by talking with beginning teachers about their student teaching/internship
experiences. Teacher education programs often require students to develop
comprehensive portfolios that show the history of their development over
their 4-5 years in college. Teacher candidates explain that, due to time
constraints, potential employers rarely look at the portfolio contents.
Teacher candidates and faculty who supervise them agree that the
self-audit is the most powerful part of the portfolio experience; however,
the question remains: Could beginning teachers’ portfolios have
other valuable uses? We believe the answer is a resounding yes.
Purpose of this tool: This tool is intended to provide a list of “starter”
questions that you might consider using as you and the beginning teacher
engage in a “portfolio conversation.” You will be amazed at
the power of the exhibits and the mass of information and insights you
will acquire. You as the building leader are bound to learn a lot about
the beginning teacher—and how his/her strengths can be leveraged.
- What does your educational philosophy look like in the classroom?
- What are the things you accomplished during your internship/student
teaching that you are most proud of? Explain.
- What did you learn during your internship/student teaching about
children? About children’s families? About curriculum? About classroom
management? About standards? About assessment?
- What do you think will be your legacy in the classroom where you did
your student teaching/internship? Explain.