Your student teaching — it's most likely been an exciting and challenging experience, to say the least. The students you've become fond of, the faculty members you bonded with and learned from, and the halls you walked every day have all become, in some small way, a part of you. Recognizing that you'll want to preserve your best memories of your student teaching, asked our National Teacher Advisory Board, 40 top educators from around the country, for their ideas. This is what they had to say.

What kinds of resources did you collect as you wrapped up your own student teaching? How did you preserve your memories of the experience?

  • When I left my student teaching experience, I created a portfolio of all assignments, handouts, or bulletin boards that I created. I put this in a binder and brought it with me to my first job interview. For my own records — and memories — I also took a photo of each class to look back on.
  • I collected the following resources as I wrapped up student teaching: letters from students, snapshots of student projects, awards/certificates, and student sample projects.
  • Many districts now require a portfolio from applicants. Early in your student teaching begin collecting lesson plans that were successful, photos of bulletin boards or centers you created, samples of student work and even a log of how you dealt with a difficult student. Video lessons are looked at by some districts so be prepared if this is required.
  • Take pictures of everything! Keep examples of student work. Keep samples of lesson plans and unit plans. Save everything in a portfolio so you have something to show and talk about during an interview. Be sure to copy as many resources and ideas as you can from your cooperating teacher(s). This will save you money, and also help to get your own resource library started. Videotape yourself teaching lessons and interacting with students.
  • Everything in my interview portfolio showed the highlights of my student teaching. Pictures, student work, sample lessons — all of these were essential.
  • Being a packrat has been a key element in helping me preserve memories and have documentation of my work. I don't tend to be a picture taker, but rather keep notes on ideas I've seen and things I'd like to try with my students. Everything a teacher sees and does tends to get translated into classroom experiences, so I always look at things in terms of how I can "tweak" them into child-friendly ideas.
  • I created a portfolio with the use of a photo-album. I took pictures of bulletin boards and students engaged in the learning process, and then I captioned everything so that on interviews I could speak to the principal by showing my portfolio.
  • Throughout my student teaching experience I was required to keep a journal, and I am now very grateful for that. I also bought a school sweatshirt through a fundraiser. I think t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, or pennants are a great way to preserve the student teaching experience and support the school. Taking pictures is a great way not only to preserve memories, but also to remember special projects. I collected handouts, assignments, etc., and did use several ideas when I got a class of my own. I would also save any school newsletters or class newsletters. They may come in handy. After my first year of teaching, I started a scrapbook. Every summer I glue in all the photos, cards, and letters that I've collected all year. It's fun to look through, and it keeps me inspired. I happened to do my student teaching in New York City, and whenever I'm in the neighborhood I make a point to drive by. I definitely have very fond memories!