In deciding to become a teacher, you must ask yourself a critical question: What is your personal philosophy about your role as a teacher in the educational system? In other words, what is your teaching philosophy? Applicants for teaching positions are often asked about their philosophy of teaching during the face-to-face interview, on the application, or both. Be prepared.
What is a Philosophy of Education/Teaching Philosophy?
In short, your philosophy of education is what you believe to be the purpose of education. Your teaching philosophy is what you believe is the best way to reach that purpose, and why.
Your ideas about education and teaching should come from reflecting on your past experiences with education and the educational theories you have learned in your education courses. Beliefs, attitudes, values, and experiences influence a person's personal philosophy of education. Your reflection on the purpose of education and how to reach that purpose will become your teaching philosophy!
Keep in mind that it is rare to find someone who subscribes "purely" to one orientation or perspective. Your teaching philosophy will likely borrow from many theories. Moreover, philosophies are not fixed entities, and yours may change proportionately to how you change as a person.
What should be included in my Teaching Philosophy?
Your teaching philosophy should be 2-3 pages in length and written in first person and in present tense. It should state your goal of education and several ideas you have about how to reach that goal. You will want to include examples and descriptions so your reader can “see” you in your classroom—these may be specific teaching strategies you use, assignments you integrate, discussions you have with students, or the physical environment you create.
- Ideally, your first paragraph should include why you feel that education is important and what you feel is the true goal of education.
- Your body paragraphs will show your reader the way that you teach and why you teach this way.
- Your conclusion paragraph can do a number of things-- reiterate your passion for teaching, state how you continue to improve as an educator, or discuss your positive relationships with your students.
What are tips to writing a Teaching Philosophy?
- Begin by making a list of what you feel education should do—what is the purpose of education or what are the goals of education? Are there specific educational theories that you believe in strongly?
- Make another list of teaching methods you feel best help you to reach this purpose. How do you interact with students? What does your classroom look and feel like? What kind of assignments do you believe are best? How do you support your students? How do you assess learning has taken place? What kind of strategies do you use to teach your specific discipline?
- Jot down two to three specific examples of your teaching methods and describe how you apply these in the classroom. What does this specifically look like?
- Also, write a justification of how you feel that your particular teaching methods help your students to reach your chosen goals of education. Why do you feel these are the best strategies for reaching the ideal education?
Once you have these portions written, go through these and select the teaching methods and the examples of these that you feel most fully convey your style of teaching. Outline your draft by determining what you want to share first, second, third, and fourth in your body paragraphs.