Does Your Philosophy of Education Statement Reflect Who You Are?

If you are seeking new job opportunities in the teaching profession, having a clear, concise, and effective philosophy statement, often referred to as a teaching philosophy statement, is critical. You may need one to obtain your first teaching position, a new position, tenure, or a promotion. Face it, at some point in your professional career you will need to articulate your personal philosophy of education, so start now and update your philosophy each year. This reflective exercise will allow you to see your growth within the profession, and will result in a renewed dedication to the field of education.

Many teaching candidates, even graduate students and those in higher education, are using this statement of teaching as a reflective piece to set themselves apart from the competition. So why has the use of teaching philosophies increased?

Does Your Philosophy Statement Reflect Who You Are?

A teaching philosophy statement is generally one to one and a half pages, double-spaced, and illustrates an educator's beliefs about education, learning, and working with students. The statement covers numerous different issues, and therefore must be very concise, because you don't want to ramble on for more than two pages. The writing of the statement can vary, but most use a straightforward, narrative essay approach. More creative educators may use a poem format. Others may pose questions and then their responses.

The statement may articulate the teacher's personal feelings about a variety of issues, such as:

Contents of a Philosophy of Education Statement

When writing teaching philosophy statements they must be reflective, personal, and exceptionally clear. You will be judged on grammar, spelling, and sentence structure, as well as on your thoughts about teaching. It is critical to have a well-organized, thoughtful, and error-free document, which gives a vivid picture of you as an educator. Using examples or metaphors may help when you are crafting your statement.

Write the paper with the reader in mind: in other words, use terminology that the reader will understand, and discuss issues that the reader will want to know about. Think carefully about what the reader will want to discover about you, such as a sample lesson or class activity that demonstrates your teaching and learning style. Then develop the answers to those questions. Understand that if you have a few different audiences, you may need to tailor your statement to the audience; each statement should focus on the specific institute or position. Your statement will change over time to correspond with teaching methods, developing beliefs, values, views and your approach to teaching.

The creation of a teaching philosophy statement helps educators grow professionally; it helps define classroom goals, increases emotional investment in teaching, and helps to enhance awareness. It is a highly thought-provoking exercise, and you must be able to clearly articulate your goals and vision, as well as your road map to successfully reaching them.

Many educators cringe at the thought of writing their own statements. They procrastinate, or worry about their capacity to express themselves, or wonder if they really need to produce a teaching philosophy statement.

"The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action." ― John Dewey

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