How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Getting Started

If you're still feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand, try to focus on concrete questions, as opposed to the abstract question of "What's my philosophy?" Break down that broad question into component parts for example, What do you believe about teaching? What do you believe about learning? Why? How is that played out in your classroom? How does student identity and background make a difference in how you teach? What do you still struggle with in terms of teaching and student learning?

Do Some Research

Before you start writing, look closely at the job ad and the institution's Web site. Look to see if the teaching philosophies of the faculty members are on the site.

Don't Rehash Your Vita

The first rule of thumb is "to focus not so much on what courses you've taught, but on how it is you go about teaching.

Don't Make Empty Statements

If you say you work to encourage collaboration in the classroom, explain how you do that, or if you're a new teacher, how you would do that. It's easy to say, 'I want to encourage collaboration in the classroom,' or 'I want to get students to think more critically' and leave it at that. But who doesn't want to do that?" Empty statements are a dime a dozen.

Keep It Short

No more than two pages. One usually suffices.

Ground Your Teaching Philosophy in Your Discipline

Make Sure It's Well-Written

Adopt a Tone of Humility

Remember That Teaching Is About the Students

Along you’re your teaching style, mention how students reacted to those innovations and concepts.

Don't Ignore Your Research

By all means focus the statement on your teaching, but don't downgrade your research.

Have Others Read Your Statement

Just Be Yourself

More teaching statement resources: