Professional Portfolios

In what ways do you think a portfolio will assist you in your personal and professional life?

I had never heard of a portfolio (other than in the context of art) before taking this course. Now, having done the assigned reading and a bit of independent research, I think I understand this new, interesting aspect of life.

One of the things I am committed to is seeing my life as past, present and future in harmony. Most of us live in the past and/or the future but rarely in the now. My tendency is to live in the future, hoping to make something there that is better than what I think I have or have had. One of the things I have learned about this strategy is that the past tends to keep repeating itself because it is never fully integrated. I have spent much time lately considering my past; the things that were too painful to consider and the things I’d taken for granted. I find that this has been extremely healing for me. As I integrate my past, it becomes fuel for my present and allows the future to be whatever it will be.  

It is funny how tools come around when they’re needed. Building a portfolio is exactly a tool I need now. Just three days ago I bought a bunch of photo frames. I intended to frame and display photos from my life; people I love, people who love me, times of joy, times of achievement and times of sadness. By seeing these reminders of things in my life, I believe I will come to live more comfortably in that life, comfortably at peace with my humanity and all that implies. 

As I start my second career in education, I am trekking through a lot of history: wounds from being a mostly underachieving, troubled student, the inadequacies and acute insecurity of youth, the joy I have in learning and the gifts I have in this area as well. Starting a portfolio now will cement me in the truth of what I am doing. Already i can see adding my Graduate Degree paper (the “Why?” of this career choice) and my Individual Learning Styles paper (the “who am I as a student?” declaration). As I fill in knowledge and skills, I will add these to my portfolio, documenting my evolution. I am very curious what my field experience will teach me about my place in this world of education. I really don’t know where this path will lead me but I think this will become clearer as i observe 5th grade, middle school and even high school classes. I hope to be moved deeply somewhere and that journey to certainty will be in my portfolio. Graduation and receiving my teaching certification will be a milestone of importance beyond the obvious. For me, this is a kind of rebirth. Not only will I have completed the foundation of my academic credentials but I will have returned to the world where life for me was most wounding, traveled that world as an adult and navigated it differently and more gently. Documenting that will be meaningful far beyond the mundane. Even now, I’m pondering what that might look like and feeling the need for some artistic expression of past and present dancing.

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