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Professional Development


Portfolio Use During the Interview

“Do you want me to tell you, or would you like me to show you?”

The professional development teacher portfolio is most useful when teachers want to showcase a few of their most significant accomplishments and talents in an attractive and accessible format during an interview.

The employment interview can often be very intimidating and depersonalizing. Candidates often feel they lack opportunity for fully presenting their qualifications and their work. The portfolio allows for and encourages personal response and representation in this interview setting. This discussion becomes focused on teacher knowledge, reflections, experience and actual practice. Research indicates that teacher candidates found they were able to personalize the interview process through the use of their portfolios.

Research has also shown that portfolios are more often requested and used at the second interview by principals, after an initial employment prescreening has taken place by school jurisdiction personnel. Teachers need to know how to incorporate their portfolios in the interview dialogue.

Ruban’s Recommendations
  • Bring your portfolio to your interview. Ensure that you have clearly identified different sections (with tabs or labels) for easy information retrieval. Be prepared to present the highlights; practise presenting it effectively prior to the interview.
  • Bring extra copies of specific parts (resume, letters of recommendation) to leave with your interviewer if required.
  • Include a note on your resume that your portfolio is available upon request.
  • When asked a specific question (for example, What assessment methods are you familiar with?) respond with a statement such as, “I believe in authentic assessment and have used formative and summative assessment tools in my classroom, such as …” Proceed to show the interviewer the assessment section of your portfolio.
  • Ensure you communicate to the interviewer that your portfolio is a professional development tool that has been a process of self-reflection and self-evaluation, laying a solid foundation for career-long professional development.
  • If and when you are asked if you have something to add, ask for a few minutes to share highlights of your portfolio (referring to a special project or major accomplishment completed under your leadership), or suggest you can leave it for later review.
  • Leaving your portfolio for the interviewer’s perusal is your call. Provide a contact and request a time limit from the employer in order to retrieve your portfolio at a later date. Some teachers have made mini portfolios that they have left with the employer.
  • Although the portfolio plays an integral role within the interview process, it is only supportive to the key ingredient of your success: be yourself.