How to Write a Teaching Philosophy
January 22, 2019
If you’re going into academia – teaching, especially – then at some point you’ve likely been asked to write a statement of your teaching philosophy. If you’re stumped, you’re in good company – these aren’t easy to write, but most teaching jobs at the college level require it. While it can be challenging to write, it doesn’t have to be painful.
At its heart, a statement of your teaching philosophy describes how you understand the concepts of teaching and learning, how you teach, and why you teach the way you do. It provides a window into who you are as a teacher and the underlying theoretical roots of your teaching processes.
Here at Dissertation Editor, we can have consultations with you to help you flesh out your ideas and go over what you’ve written, as well as edit your statement to help make the maximum impact. If you’re just getting started with it, here are some tips.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a teaching philosophy. You’ve been in the classroom a while, and have had some good teachers, some bad ones, and some truly excellent ones (hopefully). You know what works and what doesn’t, and what you’d like to see in the classroom. Think about your favorite teachers or the ones that have inspired you, and write down the things that made them great. Think about things like: what do you believe about learning/teaching? What are some no-brainers that you think about in the classroom? What do you grapple with? How does the background of a student change the way you approach things? How would you teach someone who is having difficulty?
Know Your Audience
When you’re applying for a teaching position, look at the school’s website. Browse the faculty pages of the department in which you’d be. Is the school religious or faith-based? This might impact how you teach science, for example. Do they place each subject within the larger faith? That’s something to include in your teaching statement. Is there a particular ethos of the school? You might need to tweak your statement for different institutions: community colleges might look a lot different than faith-based schools. Knowing more about the school like the class sizes and types of classroom environments can also help shape your philosophy. If you’re applying for a position at a small liberal-arts school, then it’s likely that you won’t be giving lectures to hundreds of students in one class section. Showing the committee that you know their institution and the characteristics of the classes they offer is something that can only help your statement.
Avoid summarizing what’s on your CV or resume, and don’t say things like “I value diversity and collaboration.” Who doesn’t? Be specific about how you teach, what your goals are, what techniques you use to foster certain goals, and so forth. Show the hiring committee that you have the how-to, and not just the ambition and feel-good thoughts about how to teach well. By using specific examples, you’re giving the committee a glimpse into your classroom and who you are as a person and teacher.
You’d be surprised at how many job applicants disregard basic instructions. Don’t be one of those people. Statement of teaching philosophies are generally 1-2 pages long, but each institution might have specific instructions – it’s worth double-checking that. They’re usually written in first person and in present tense.
Here at Dissertation Editor, we’ve written our own teaching philosophy statements and can help you fine-tune and revise yours to help give you the best chance possible to land that teaching position. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in reaching your goals.