The teaching philosophy statement is a way to communicate the methods and strategies that you employ as you teach, and the reasoning behind why you’ve made the choices to implement those strategies. Unfortunately, since this is somewhat of an abstract concept, it’s difficult to communicate in writing. It brings to mind the challenge of defining a word without using that word in the definition.
In searching for the answer to “How on earth do I write this thing?” I found myself thinking more and more about the people who will actually be reading it, the search committee and faculty members. What are they looking for, and how do I give them what they want without falling into the trap of telling them what they want to hear and potentially becoming unauthentic, betraying my authentic self? I think this is particularly challenging for those of us with little experience in the style of teaching which we will be expected to do.
I came across this rubric, which attempts to answer the “What are they looking for?” question. This rubric outlines five components that should be addressed in a teaching statement: Goals for student learning, Teaching methods for achieving those goals, Assessment of those goals, Creating an inclusive environment, and last but not least, the structure, rhetoric, and language used in the statement itself.
The overall message seems to be that you need to articulately express what, why, and how of what you will be teaching, and how you will effectively teach the variety of different students that walk into your classroom. I agree that the inclusion of all of these components will likely lead to a strong document that clearly and concisely communicates your authentic teaching self.
This rubric might be a good tool to use as you complete your teaching statement to ensure that you are effectively representing your philosophy to your future colleagues.