Q: How much will I have to add to my final portfolio?
A: For the final portfolio, you will be expected to demonstrate greater depth, quality, and professionalism in your writing and evidence. The Apprentice Teacher supervisors will help you with this difference.
Q: Can I use a piece of evidence, like a lesson plan, for more than one proficiency?
A: Yes. Be sure to guide the evaluator to the relevant sections of the artifact for each proficiency. In fact, it’s best to re-save the document with a clearly relevant title. In each one, highlight the sections that pertain to the specific proficiency.
Q: My old computer crashed and I don’t have my files. What do I do?
A: Since there are no extensions for the preliminary portfolio, it’s best if you have been uploading documents all along. That way, you don’t depend on a specific computer. If you no longer have copies of lesson plans, start contacting fellow students. Generally, the UTeach Office has copies of Step 2 evaluations and can make a copy for you. Budget time for reconstructing your files.
Q: Do I have to turn everything into an electronic document?
A: Yes, all documents used for evidence must be in the portfolio system. There is a scanner in the Student Workroom, scanners on the 2nd floor of the FAC, and you can use the copier in the Workroom to turn documents into PDFs.
Q: Where can I keep my documents?
A: All UT students, faculty and staff have access to free webspace for backup and storage. The new web-based portfolio system also has room to store artifacts (log in and drop down the “My Home” menu). Do not upload raw, unedited video to the portfolio system. You will use up all your space.
Q: How much storage space do I have?
A: You get 1GB of space on UT’s webspace. The UTeach portfolio allows you a total of 2MB or 50 artifacts, whichever comes first. Do not upload raw, unedited video to the portfolio system. You will use up all your space.
Q: What if I need more than 50 documents for my portfolio?
A: Be selective. However, if you feel that you need more than 50 documents, contact the Portfolio Coordinator with your request. Space will not be allocated for unedited videos. Upload only compressed, web-ready video.
Q: How do I know if my portfolio has been evaluated or needs revisions?
A: You must log in periodically to check the status of your portfolio. This is your responsibility. The icons will tell you where your portfolio is in the process of evaluation. If you see the “needs revision” icon, get in there and revise according to the evaluator’s comments.
Q: Where can I get help with revisions?
A: All faculty are aware of the portfolio and its requirements and are available to help with revisions. Feel free to talk to them whether you're still in their course or not.
Q: What about registering for Apprentice Teaching?
A: Students register for EDC 650S and UTS 170 during their regular registration access period provided they have met all other requirements. You will receive an email from the Apprentice Teacher supervisor, Pamela Powell. Follow all instructions carefully. An audit is run before registration access opens again. Students registered for the Apprentice Teaching courses who have not submitted a portfolio or who have not completed revisions are dropped.
Q: How do I get started on the portfolio?
A: Log in and start uploading documents.
There are 7 sections in the portfolio, divided into individual proficiencies:
· Personal Profile
· Subject Matter Knowledge
· Equity and Inclusive Design
· Teaching Preparation
· Classroom Environment
· Instruction and Delivery
· Professional Responsibility
Click here for the complete requirements.
Writing in the Profession
Being able to present information to a variety of audiences in both written and oral form is an important aspect of any profession. Teaching is no different. To get started in the profession, you write a letter and construct a resume whenever you apply for a job. Imagine a principal reading a letter that’s poorly organized and riddled with errors. Then think about that same principal reading a well-constructed, clear letter. All qualifications being equal, think about which candidate is more likely to get that job.
All teachers write. They write a lot and not just lesson plans. They write assessments, evaluations of their own teaching and that of others; they write to parents; they write instructions that must be clear and helpful; they write professional presentations; they write grants. More and more, they write their own web pages and even construct—and provide text for—entire web sites.
The proficiencies all require prose that is clear, thoughtful, detailed, and correct. Evaluators do not line edit your work, but they will send it back for revisions based on poor writing. Read your reflections carefully before submission for clarity and completeness. Proofread and clean up errors. Written work with fragments, agreement errors, run-on sentences, etc. impedes understanding and undermines your credibility as a professional.
The University of Texas at Austin runs an Undergraduate Writing Center that is nationally ranked. You can get great help with the reflections for the portfolio.
From the UWC webpage: The Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC) offers free, individualized, expert help with writing for any UT undergraduate, by appointment or on a drop-in basis. The writer works with a trained consultant to define goals for the session, for example:
· deciding on a topic
· clarifying and organizing ideas
· researching, drafting, and revising
· improving grammar, punctuation, and usage
· citing sources properly
Writing the Reflections
For the preliminary portfolio, expect to generate about 1-2 pages total for each subsection or proficiency. The analysis makes clear to the evaluator how the evidence (lesson plan, teacher observation, etc.) relates to the proficiency. This section must be clear and lucid. It is insufficient to say something like, “This lesson plan engaged all students in meaningful learning experiences” (6.a). Explain how students were engaged and how you knew that, referring both to specific aspects of the lesson plan and student response that support your contention. Be descriptive. Help the evaluator understand the context. Next, be reflective. Discuss the importance of the proficiency for education. What happened during this experience? What would you change? What would you do the same?
The most successful portfolios include reflections that meet the following criteria:
They carefully identify which part of which item demonstrates which proficiency.
They describe as clearly as possible HOW an item demonstrates that proficiency.
They share specific details that help the reviewer understand your point of view and the context of your experience.
They address the value of the proficiency for education in general.
They include every aspect of each proficiency. The individual proficiencies or subsections break down into several aspects. Be sure you address them all.
They conform to the standards of written English.
Your student fees support one of the best writing centers in the country. Trained writing counselors will work with you on the portfolio, even from scratch. They’re great at brainstorming and invention. Click here for more information.
Guide the evaluator to the relevant section of an artifact, using bold face or highlighting. You can do this in the word document and then, when you are done, PDF the document to maintain the formatting. Under no circumstances should an evaluator have to hunt around in the artifact trying to figure out how the artifact is relevant to the proficiency.
Similarly, if you include a teaching video, explain to the evaluator which part of the video is relevant, why it’s relevant, and provide a time stamp, e.g. from 12:42 to 15:34. Just as an evaluator should not have to hunt around in your lesson plan for the relevant section, an evaluator should not have to screen 30 minutes of video trying to figure out which section to look at. Evaluators have been instructed to return for revision any proficiencies with unedited video for evidence.
Redundancy is a good thing. If you use a lesson plan more than once (which is likely and acceptable), save it as separate documents: CBR 2.a, CBR 6.c, etc. Highlight the relevant areas for each individual proficiency. This helps you make sure the evaluator knows which part of the lesson plan supports which proficiency.
When Portfolios Must Be Revised
The most common reasons why proficiencies need to be resubmitted are:
Omissions: There is a lot of ground to cover and students sometimes simply omit a part of a section. Careful proof-reading helps.
Unclear connections: Evaluators will assign zero points when the reflection does not make clear how the evidence relates to the proficiency.
Evaluators do not line-edit, but they do return proficiencies for revision due to poor writing. Take advantage of UT resources like the Undergraduate Writing Center.
It is your responsibility to check in on your portfolio to see if revisions are required. Because there are no extensions for late revisions, this is a critical responsibility. If you have any questions concerns at all about the revision process, contact the Portfolio Coordinator immediately.