Keyboard and Mouse

Tips for creating your pre-professional digital portfolio

A digital portfolio is a tool you can use to show a potential employer what you offer to his/her school or arts entity.  It is a key piece of your employment strategy post-EWU - so be sure it looks professional.  Digital portfolios are fluid and need to be continually updated to maintain relevance in the job market. 
1.  Resume - list of your degree, teaching experiences (volunteer, EWU placements, and jobs), art exhibitions you have been a part of, languages you speak, conferences attended, specific art skills you offer, etc.
2.  Teaching Statement - one page summary of what you teach (how you select your curriculum, how you teach, and why you teach.  Should include ideas about diversity and use professional language specific to art education (awareness of current teaching strategies).
3.  Portfolio - ART490 will help you learn to take professional photos of your work.
4.  Curriculum ideas  - favorite lesson plans, examples of student work if available, teaching resources, etc. (ART 391)
5.  Art Education Resources:
Not all examples shown here are stellar, however, they do give you an idea of what works and what doesn't work:
  • All links work.
  • Font is easy to read and the same throughout site.
  • Images of artworks are professionally displayed (care paid to lighting, background, crispness and cropping).
  • Images include image credits (title, size, medium, date).
  • Free of spelling errors.
  • All pages feel cohesive and a part of one site.

After the resume, the second thing a potential employer will see when they open your job portfolio is your teaching statement.  Your teaching statement is a one page summary of what you offer students -- why do you teach?  What informs your pedagogy?  How do you deliver information?  This is different than an extended teaching "philosophy."   In the end, this statement gives a hiring committee a sense of what you offer and it can help you stand out from the crowd if it is thoughtful and well written.

There is no required content or set format. There is no right or wrong way to write a philosophy statement, which is why it is so challenging for most people to write one. You may decide to write in prose, use famous quotes, create visuals, use a question/answer format, etc.  Some tips include:

  • Say what you have to say in one page.    

  • Use present tense, in most cases. Writing in first–person is most common and is the easiest for your audience to read.

  • Most statements avoid technical terms and favor language and concepts that can be broadly appreciated. A general rule is that the statement should be written with the audience in mind, however, it should sound as if you have awareness of professional language and trends in art education.

  • Include teaching strategies and methods to help people “see” you in the classroom. It is not possible in many cases for your reader to come to your class to actually watch you teach. By including very specific examples of teaching strategies, assignments, discussions, etc., you are able to let your reader take a mental “peek” into your classroom. Help them to visualize what you do in the classroom and the exchange between you and your students. For example, can your readers picture in their minds the learning environment you create for your students?

  • Make it memorable and unique. If you are submitting this document as part of a job application, remember that your readers on the search committee are seeing many of these documents. What is going to set you apart? What about you are they going to remember? What brings a teaching philosophy to life is the extent to which it creates a vivid portrait of a person who is intentional about teaching practices and committed to his/her career.

  • “Own” your philosophy but beware of potentially negative declarative statements (such as, “students don’t learn through lecture,” or “the only way to teach is to use class discussion”).  Instead, try writing about your experiences and your beliefs to show you “own” those statements and appear more open to new and different ideas about teaching.  

Questions to consider:


1.  WHY teach ART?  What are the unique ways in which visual arts learning and instruction contributes to cognitive, emotional, and social growth?  


2.  From ART 391,  what philosophies and social foundations for visual arts education influence you?


3.  What are your thoughts regarding diversity, practices of equity and fairness, and the use of multicultural content of visual arts to promote opportunities of the acceptance of others?


4.  How will you decide what to teach or demonstrate the ability to articulate course curriculum with state learning standards and local district guidelines?


5.  How will you utilize reflection?


6.  How will you maintain professional growth?  

7.  How do you deliver instruction?  (Demonstrates knowledge about the use of traditional and new technologies within the visual arts and visual arts education)