It's one of those jobs that has to be done if you want to qualify: providing the proof that you can teach. James Williams offers some tips on compiling your file
To qualify as a teacher you need evidence that you are meeting the standards for qualified teacher status (QTS). It's not enough to perform in the classroom, you need proof that the pupils are learning, that you work as an effective part of a team, that your lessons are well planned, and that you can manage and assess pupils. What form does this evidence take, what proof do you need, and how do you organise it?
Professional values and practice
This concerns your attitudes and professional relationships with the pupils as well as other professionals in the school.
Keep a record of:
* Lesson plans that show how you planned for individual needs.
* Assessment data and evaluations you used on pupils' past and present achievement.
* Any observations made of you by your mentor and others that show how you built up a relationship with the pupils in your classes.
* Any formal and informal discussions you have about the needs of the pupils you teach.
* Notes or memos you write to teaching colleagues and others, such as teaching assistants or support teachers.
* Photocopies of any comments in your mark book or in pupil exercise books that show you supporting individuals or the school ethos.
Knowledge and understanding
The subject knowledge you have may not accurately match what you need to teach to pupils. By the end of your training, your subject knowledge should be such that you have a good enough grasp of the concepts, ideas and principles in the subject(s) to be able to teach the pupils' curriculum in the age range you are trained to teach.
* When you revise new subjects or topics, keep your notes for future reference and make a list of the topics you taught on school experience.
* If teachers comment on your subject knowledge in observations of your teaching, make a note of it. Also note any times that you deal with difficult questions from pupils. Your teaching experience file will also provide evidence.
* Collect any notes, Powerpoint files or overhead transparencies that show the range of your subject knowledge.
* Keep your worksheets.
* Keep records of any courses you attend on subject knowledge or any lectures you attend designed to increase or refresh your subject knowledge.
Planning expectations and targets
This standard requires you to set objectives based on your knowledge of pupils and their achievements. You need to know what they have done and how to design lessons to allow them to progress. The bulk of this evidence will come from your day-to-day lesson planning.
* Keep a record of any department or team meetings you attend to discuss pupil progress.
* Photocopy samples of any marked work that sets targets for individuals.
* Record team teaching or any work with small groups of pupils. Evidence for qualified teacher status does not have only to come from whole-class teaching.
* Record any work you do with the SEN teacherdepartment.
* Show how you plan lessons and sequences of lessons, taking account of the varying needs of girls and boys and pupils from all ethnic groups to ensure that all pupils make good progress.
* Your mark book and records of individual pupil progress will also provide a lot of evidence.
Monitoring and Assessment
For this, you are expected to make use of a range of methods to monitor the progress of your pupils. This is a key part of a teacher's job - how you keep track of your pupils and how you assess them.
* Collect examples of how you assess pupils, such as tests, concept maps, written homework, results of quick tests and so on.
* Photocopy examples of pupils' work that shows how you record their achievements.
* Collect samples of plenary activities you use that assess pupil knowledge and understanding.
* Keeep copies of any comments you write for reports to parents.
* Make a note of any contributions you make to parent consultation evenings or any contact you make with parents about individual pupils.
Teaching and class management
* Your day-to-day lesson plans, medium and long-term plans will record your teaching.
* Collect examples of your evaluations of your teaching.
* Keep copies of any observations made of your teaching, even if it's just a few notes on the back of an envelope.
* Record instances where you have to use the school discipline procedure, keeping copies of incident slips or reports to form tutors, class teachers or heads of year.
Evidence that meets the standards can also come from work you do outside your teacher training, provided you supply it and show that it does address the standards. Working as a teaching assistant or teaching in youth clubs or Sunday schools can count towards QTS.
The evidence you have may not always fit neatly into one category or another, and it will often cover more than one standard. Record what it is and where to find it as you go along, it's much easier than trying to do it all at the end of what will be a stressful, hard-working year. If you have to compile a separate portfolio of evidence, start now.
James Williams is the PGCE programme convener for the Sussex School of Education at the University of Sussex