Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement

In getting your job search underway, it is useful to spend some time developing a philosophy of teaching statement. The statement will become a document that you can include in your professional portfolio. It also is a great way to review your accomplishments, conceptualize your goals, and thus get prepared for job interviews. It is very common for schools to ask teaching candidates about their teaching philosophy. So if you have gone through the exercise of actually writing a philosophy statement, you will be all the more prepared to answer such questions effectively.

The statement should be around 1-2 pages in length, and should cover the following topics:

1) The learning process. From your perspective, how do students learn? And what kind of learning environment (social, psychological, physical) do you aspire to create in your classroom?

2) The teaching process. How do teachers best facilitate learning? What roles do teachers play in the lives of their students? What kinds of relationships do you expect to build with your students? What kinds of expertise will you bring to your work? And what have you enjoyed about teaching? What are the rewards as well as the challenges of working with students?

3) Goals for students. What skills do you, as a teacher, expect your students to develop? What kinds of activities do you use in the classroom in order to achieve the learning goals you set? How do you interact with students both inside and outside class in order to reach your educational goals? How do you evaluate students, as well as encourage them? And how have your teaching goals changed over time, as you have gained more classroom experience? Use specific examples to illustrate how you have helped students learn.

4) What are your goals for yourself as a teacher? How have you developed professionally thus far, and where do you see yourself going in the future?

Writing a philosophy of teaching statement is not easy, but again, it has its rewards. Doing so will help you assess your skills, goals, and objectives, and thus make you all the more effective in communicating those in interviews, at job fairs, and ultimately, in your classrooms.

If you would like to see samples, you might take a look at Developing a Professional Teaching Portfolio: A Guide for Success by Patricia M. Constantino and Marie N. DeLorenzo. This book is available at the Career Services Library.