So you finished student teaching, and are putting applications in left and right trying to find your first teaching job. As a new graduate, you need to do everything you can to set yourself apart from the other applicants. One easy way to do this is by creating a teaching portfolio.
1. You Should Already Bring a Resume Anyway
Common sense interview etiquette includes bringing an up-to-date resume for the interview panel to read and reference during the interview.
Yes, you already submitted this with your application, but having extra copies with you not only show that you are planning ahead, but it allows your name (and experiences) to once again be right in front of the people making the decisions.
So if you already need to bring a resume, why not put in a (tiny) bit more effort and bring a music teaching portfolio that has your resume in it?
2. It Allows Your Letters of Reference to be Read Again
While members of the interview panel probably won't be reading all of your recommendation letters word-for-word, they will probably at least give it a skim.
I've had people that were interviewing me tell me that being able to see these letters of recommendation (especially if they weren't privy to them before the interview) allowed them to focus-in their questions to really get to know who I was as an educator.
3. You Get to Show Off Your Lesson Plans
You know all of those lesson plans that you made in student teaching? Yeah, the ones that hardly anyone even looked at other than you? It's time to dust them off, give them a little extra polish, and show them off!
Chances are that you already have so lesson gems in your proverbial toolbox! Now is the time to share these lessons, and the thought process behind your sequence (hint: mention that you have a sequence) and planning.
4. It Gives YOU Something to Reference
Here's a pro tip: If you are able to answer a question and refer back to your portfolio, that's a plus. It shows you have really thought ahead and aren't just pulling answers out of thin air.
This can also be really helpful if you are nervous during an interview, as you know that you have answers (and evidence supporting these answers) already prepared in your portfolio.
5. You Get to Leave Something Behind
Now I'll be the first person to say that I got some disagreement from other teachers and friends that were applying for jobs when I started to do this.
You should be leaving behind a teaching portfolio after every interview. Now you don't need to (and really shouldn't) leave one behind after one of those screening interviews, but if you are face-to-face with a principal and/or an interview panel, leave a copy.
I mean, why wouldn't you? This gives the committee something to reference back to you and your experiences, all while giving the ability to read more when they have more time after you leave. I have had someone that was on the interview committee for my current job that has told me that this totally set myself apart from the others.
Don't spend a lot of money on these portfolios. I just used one of those plastic report covers from Amazon and printed my portfolio on regular paper (in color).
If you are serious about getting a music teaching job, you truly need to make sure that you shine above the rest of the applicants.
Using a music teaching portfolio is an easy and incredibly beneficial way to make sure that you are memorable and professional.
Ready to make yours? Click here to grab your FREE music teaching portfolio template!