Illustration_008If you are working on your philosophy of teaching statement, it can sometimes be hard to get your thoughts organized or even know where to start. Consider including these elements in your teaching philosophy statement (in no particular order) to maximize its effectiveness.

Goals

What are your main goals as a teacher? How do you hope your students will be different at the end of your course than they are when they show up on the first day? Choose one to three goals to focus on as the theme for your statement. Write in a way that is polished but personal; there is no need to be overly academic. The reader should feel as if s/he is having a good conversation with you.

Rationale

Why do you hope to achieve these goals with your students? How have you come to discover that these are things you care about? Perhaps you have a story to share about your own education, a passion or interest outside of the classroom that drives these goals, or maybe you have learned throughout your teaching career that seeing these particular goals accomplished is what fills your cup.

Illustration/Implementation

Now draw us into your classroom. Paint a picture of what it looks like to strive toward these goals with your students. What specific assignments or interactions with your students have you used to further these goals? Rather than broad, sweeping strokes, try to zero in on a few examples and illustrate them in detail. Your reader should feel as though s/he has been there.

Development

You did not simply wake up one morning and become a great teacher, right? It takes time and effort. Be sure to incorporate some narrative about how you have grown as a teacher, as well as what behaviors and activities you (plan to) engage in to improve your teaching.

Success/Student Learning

Success as a teacher largely (if not solely) depends on how well your efforts result in student learning. How do you know that what you are doing in the classroom is working? What formal assessment have you done? Have you seen evidence through informal conversations with or observations of students? Share some concrete evidence and anecdotes along with each example of implementation.

We’ve shared more resources for writing and examples of statements on this page.


This post is adapted from the Autumn 2015 newsletter Teaching @ Ohio State.