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How to Write a Philosophy of Teaching Statement—Tips, Template, and Samples

Updated on May 5, 2017
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Natasha is a writer, artisan, and recent graduate with a Masters of the Arts in Teaching

What Is a Philosophy of Teaching Statement?

Whether you are a current education student or a teacher interviewing for a new job, understanding what a philosophy of teaching statement is and how to create one is crucial. When you apply for a teaching job in today's American public education system, you will be asked about your personal teaching philosophy, and will most likely need to present your statement on paper.

Simply put, a philosophy of teaching statement is a personal proclamation of your goals and aspirations as a teacher, the methods you intend to use to meet these goals, how you plan to assess student understanding, and how you will improve and adapt your teaching. Writing one can be tricky because you need to provide specific details, but you also need to refrain from seeming too set in your ways when applying for a new job, unless you are being interviewed because of your reputation for these specific methods. If you need to write or revise your statement, the following suggestions, template, and examples of both a well-written and poorly written statement can help you write your own effective piece.

What does your physical classroom arrangement plan say about your teaching style? And can you spot the discipline problem in this photo?
What does your physical classroom arrangement plan say about your teaching style? And can you spot the discipline problem in this photo? | Source

Spend Time Reflecting

Before you sit down to compose your statement, take a few minutes to conduct some self-reflection. It is helpful if you have a pencil and some paper to jot down your thoughts and keep them organized. Ask yourself a few questions and answer them as honestly as possible.

  • Why is teaching important to me?
  • Why do I want to teach?
  • What do I believe about how people learn?
  • What do I think effective teaching is? How will I teach effectively? How will I measure my efficacy?
  • How can I apply principles of learning and educational theory to my teaching?
  • How do I assess student learning?
  • How do I assess my effectiveness as a teacher?
  • What are some concrete examples of how I put my philosophy into practice?
  • What teaching method(s) do I use most often? Why don't I use other methods? Why do I believe/know my methods are effective?
  • What aspects of my teaching can I improve on?
  • What goals do I have for my students? What should they be able to accomplish after my class? How will I know if they meet these goals?

Asking yourself these questions, and any other related ones that come to mind while reflecting, will help you prepare to write a cohesive statement.

Make Sure Your Statement Is Well Balanced

Writing your statement is tricky.

  • You need to convey your passions without sounding flaky and fake.
  • You should offer concrete examples of teaching methods, disciplinary situations, and classroom management, but you also need to avoid sounding set in your ways and difficult to work with.
  • You need to sound like you provide student-centered education without coming across as too lenient and anything goes.
  • You have to present yourself as someone who can get students to pass the end of course testing without seeming like you'll just 'teach to the test.'

If you are applying for your first job, finding concrete examples from personal teaching experience can be difficult. Do not be afraid to pull in information from your student teaching internship observational field experiences, and even other jobs (when applicable).

How can you create memorable classroom experiences?
How can you create memorable classroom experiences? | Source

Teaching Philosophy Statement Template

You can approach your statement as a typical five-paragraph essay. Break each section into additional paragraphs, as necessary, but make sure to address the five critical points outlined below. If you prepared adequately during the self-reflection activity above, you should be able to plug your answers into the template below.

I. My aspirations, goals, and objectives as a teacher and my goals for my students are:

  • How will I encourage mastery, competency, life-long learning, meaningful learning, critical thinking, etc.?

II. Methods I will consider to reach these goals and objectives include:

  • What are my beliefs about learning theory and how will I apply specific educational strategies in my classroom?
  • Do I plan to use case studies, group work, simulations, interactive lectures, projects, or other instructional methods/tools?

III. How will I assess student understanding?

  • What do I believe about grading?
  • What types of assessment do I use? Traditional tests?
  • Papers, projects, presentations?

IV. How will improve my teaching?

  • How can I use student evaluations to improve my teaching?
  • How can I learn new skills and improve my teaching methods?
  • How will I know if my teaching is effective?

V. Are there any additional considerations I want to call attention to?

  • Why is teaching important to me? How will I collaborate with my colleagues?
  • How will I manage my classroom and discipline?
  • What else do I want to point out about myself?

Teaching Philosophy Statement Examples

Your statement is an important part of your resume and must be written professionally. As discussed above, you must strike a balance between optimism and practicality, concrete examples and flexibility.

A Poor Example

This is an example of a poor statement:

I believe every student is unique and special and has the ability to create something meaningful in the world. I will help the children discover who they are as individuals so they can reach their full potential. I will help them learn to embrace the differences that make us each unique. My classroom will be a caring place that encourages students to speak their minds freely, without fear of ridicule, so they can develop a sense of pride.

This statement sounds flaky, and it doesn't offer any concrete examples.

A Good Example

This is an example of a better statement:

According to Bloom's Taxonomy, simple regurgitation of information is the most basic level of learning. By discovering each student's individual learning styles and engaging them in the classroom with hands-on activities, not just traditional lectures, I intend to elevate my students from simple memorization to understanding, applying, and analyzing.

While an incomplete statement, the second example references a specific educational philosophy (Bloom's Taxonomy) and gives a concrete example of how students will become active learners in the classroom.

Why Write a Teaching Statement?

If you plan to apply for a teaching job, you will need to write a philosophy of teaching statement. Even before that, you will (hopefully) need to write one for an education class. Either way, you should take the time to consider your personal philosophy and create a statement before you absolutely have to submit one. By writing it ahead of time, you can write without the stress of a deadline, and you can edit it to perfection. You can also chart your growth as a student and as a teacher by revisiting it in the future.

No matter when you develop it or why, writing your statement is an opportunity for personal growth and development, so take your time and create something you're proud of.

© 2012 Natasha

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    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks! And the dividers are my own. =)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, Natasha. Did you forget to attribute those dividers, unless they're your own? Voted up for useful!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks and good luck with going back to school!

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Very well written with great hands-on tips. I am not a etcher today, but I work with education development (adults training) and I are planning to go back to school myself soon to get an exam in pedagogy.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks! Belated congratulations on the promotion. I didn't realize universities asked for these, too! My focus is secondary education, so just a year or two younger. That's another great reason to figure out how to write one..

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I had to do a teaching philosophy years ago when I went up for promotion at my university. Well, I did get promoted, but I sure wish I ahd had this the. Great information and well-presented. Theresa

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, GoodLady. I appreciate the votes and you taking the time to comment.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      It's a tremendously helpful Hub which will help many teachers..and the chart is perfectly analytical. Voting.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Ahahaha. Well now that statement isn't enough - you have to say why and how! And maybe even through some ideas for action research in there.

      Thank you, teaches! I appreciate the votes and complements.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Voted way up, Natasha. This template is so needed and will help many to present their best image when applying for a job or updating their file. Thanks for the information. Well done!

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Canned statement use to be "I believe all children can learn."

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I'm glad it was timely and helpful for you =)

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 4 years ago from California

      This is great! I was literally just looking into some teaching positions and saw this request for a "philosophy of teaching statement". I was not sure what the was supposed to include. Your article has summed it up perfectly! Thanks for writing.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks, Lwelch - I hope this helps you!

      School administrators...that could be a whole collection of hubs! There are supportive ones who understand the classroom, and there are ones who've never spent time teaching and have no idea what's happening. I wish having classroom experience was mandatory in more places before someone could try to become an administrator. That might help a little.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      What is frustrating about having a philosophy is having an administrator who couldn't care less about your philosophy and no support.

    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 4 years ago from USA

      Thank you for the concrete examples. I have to have one in my fieldwork binder. I think I will update it with some thoughts from your page!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! When I was first assigned writing a philosophy of education statement, I didn't even know where to begin. It was pretty overwhelming.

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 4 years ago from USA

      I can only imagine how intimidating it must be for a new teacher to try to craft their philosophy statement - especially if getting a job hinges upon it! Nice examples to help them get started.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for pinning!

      Like any part of a resume, I think it is worth updating from time to time as we (hopefully) improve.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      As a teacher, I do have my philosophy of teaching written down, but may actually amend it a bit after reading your article here just to update it with my pat experiences a bit. Have pinned it to refer to, so thank you. Seriously, very interesting and informative!