People enjoy documenting their lives through journals, photographs, scrapbooks, blogs and other mediums that bring them joy and help them reflect on their learning and experiences. Documenting teaching has been a part of the job. We’ve seen teachers maintain their registers wherein they note students’ performance, learning goals, classroom activities, goals and curriculum. While the students’ learning documentation comes as a part of the job, it’s equally essential that educators document their teaching process, learning and progress.
The teaching documentation must fulfil the following three purposes:
- Documentation of learning: What you’re learning as you teach is a great way to reflect on your practices. You must display examples and real-life experiences that will make your experience authentic for the reader.
- Documentation for learning: This includes interpreting evidence of the learning progress, including the challenges and failures faced before succeeding at a new pedagogy or resolving learning challenges for that kid with vivid needs.
- Documentation as learning: This includes the process involved as you learn, capture and reflect on your practices. It involved conveying your thoughts and experiences visibly using media platforms and tools.
Teaching documentation involves collecting information about teaching, including course evaluations, mid-semester feedback, teaching reflection notes, and class observation materials. Further, teachers reflect upon this collected information and report or document it for further development. It has to be a part of the teaching process to improve the learning-teaching process.
Let’s look at the key reasons teachers must document their journey and have a teacher’s portfolio:
Showcase Your Learning
Building a teacher portfolio allows you to step back from the immediate job and curate what you’ve learned about how people learn. It enables you to dive deep into your pedagogies, reflect and work on areas that demand effort. You can identify the shortcomings and make the necessary changes to improve your job. Your portfolio is your space where you can reflect if your teaching aligns with your values, aspirations and growth goals. While you document your journey, you must keep the following tips in mind:
- Identify your teaching goals and comprehend them through your teaching practices.
- Be clear if you’re going to document your journey as a teacher or as a teacher of a particular discipline/subject. For instance, this blog on the teaching journey is an educator’s expression of different perspectives towards the job and learning from the profession. On the other hand, here’s an educational blog from a math educator that highlights all things math.
- Remember, your teaching statement must align with your values.
When you start documenting your journey, you’ll be able to build a community of like-minded people who come together to share their experiences and learning. Blogs are a great way to start documenting your journey and sharing with peers. You can get your peers to help you with the teaching challenges and learn from each other. This helps build a community where you get to work with your peers and teachers around the globe who resonate with your work, values and practices.
Educators can use their portfolios to highlight their achievements. You’d have the summative evidence of growth, awards, promotion, tenure, contract renewal and other accolades. Ensure you highlight the achievements and use your portfolio as a see-through of all the medals you’ve gained from your practice as an educator. You must add additional certification and work training projects that you’ve done to get better at what you do. Many educators take up courses that’d help them with the subject they teach or at the job in other ways. Ensure you highlight and document what you’ve learned from it and how you practice it.
Career advancement and professional development is the most significant benefit of creating a digital portfolio and documenting your teaching journey. A teaching portfolio works excellently as a job search tool. Through the portfolio, teachers share their unique teaching strategies and what they’ve learned from their experiences and demonstrate their growth and progress. Consider highlighting exemplary material like testimonials from parents, students’ progress under your guidance, course development, community work and more. If your choice of documentation is open for public view, like a blog or YouTube channel, you’re likely to build a network of people sailing in the same boat.
Documenting teaching has many benefits for educators. It can help educators learn and reflect, demonstrate their skills and pedagogies and use it to create a dialogue with peers and other like-minded professionals. It can also help teachers get better career opportunities and quickly build their professional learning network.
Share this with your peers, and start documenting your teaching journey today.