Level 3 Classroom Teachers’ position is an invitation by the Department of Education and Training to teachers to experience the 3 Rs, Recognition, Regeneration and Reward.
Although it is a career game in which only few will receive immediate recognition the rewards can be those of personal satisfaction and professional development if teachers use the process to develop their skills and the material for other positions that may arise elsewhere if they are unsuccessful in the venture.
For those who intend applying for the position the following guidelines may be of assistance. Being an outstanding teacher is not the same thing as presenting an outstanding portfolio. As a general rule your portfolio should contain information that provides examples of the best quality that your experience can provide.
The question that I am most frequently asked by teachers applying for Level 3 Teacher status is whether their examples are competitive. To assist in making decisions on this aspect teachers should provide examples that are:
- Innovative and developed to met specific purposes
- Complex and use different settings
- Able to provide a purpose for what is being done and suggest a vision
- Provide different strategies
- Varied and show versatility
Presenting a competitive portfolio is an exercise in marketing your values, skills, abilities and knowledge. In over 20 years as a career developer working with teachers and principals it is commonplace for me to find how few are really good at presenting themselves effectively. In choosing your examples you might find some of the following helpful. You should show:
- How you improved the performance of other teachers individually or in a team
- Your ability to take calculated risks as a leader
- Your innovative ability to research and implement models, strategies or new ideas
- Ways in which you involved other staff in the decision-making process
- How you used external agencies to help students at educational risk
Before addressing the competencies it is wise to reflect on what to include in each competency. Words such as ‘innovative’ and ‘exemplary’ should not deter you. If you applied strategies from your professional development or networks and they added value to your school you should consider using them as innovative examples.
When writing an example consider how you will present the information. Present it in a style that uses language that will catch the reader’s attention. It should be vigorous, succinct, simple and show energy. Ensure that it clearly indicates the skills and abilities that you have used and try not to leave it to the reader’s imagination to guess what those skills might be.
You don’t always have to begin with a problem and it might be a good idea to sometimes start with an interesting, refreshing approach. For example, here is one way in which you could begin.
The invitation to join a committee to develop a plan that addressed the needs of students at educational risk was eagerly accepted by me. I had always wanted to provide a learning environment that offered all students equity to achieve their ability to the maximum extent and this seemed like an ideal opportunity. My study of the Department of Education and Training’s ‘Making the Difference Policy’ and workshops that I had recently attended in developing programs for students with learning difficulties, provided me with models, strategies and monitoring tools that I could use to develop a school policy and for the professional development of colleagues.
In writing the Introductory Statement it is important to see that what you write has relevance to what you have stated in the Written Statement and in the evidence than you have provided in your portfolio. In discussing your philosophy show how your beliefs have been shaped by reading, experience, professional development, observation of best practice and innovative practices that have been tried inter-state, overseas or by some schools in your district.
When you have finally ensured that you have done your best do not feel discouraged if you are unsuccessful. Consider how all the work that you have put into your portfolio can be used as evidence for another position.
In this way you will always be a winner. Copyright 2002 Lionel Cranenburgh and Associates.