The goal of your teaching statement is to let future employers know your capabilities as an instructor, your fit with their institution, your value as a colleague, and your overall qualifications. Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing your statement.
Does your teaching statement…
- Demonstrate what gets you excited about teaching?
- Explain how do you accomplish your goals?
- Give examples of what do you do in the classroom?
- Answer these two questions for your future interviewers:
- “What is it like to be in class with this person?”
- “What do students who take a class with this person get out of it?”
- Show “this is what I do, and this is the result”?
- Provide examples of the following sort: “I notice that students often have problems with [insert issue here], and this is what I do to help them understand the concept”?
- Present itself as a teaching statement (about you, as a classroom teacher, i.e., concrete and explicit) rather than as a statement of teaching philosophy (about the nature of knowledge or the discipline of teaching, i.e., abstract and implicit)?
What is a sample structure for a teaching statement?
- An introductory paragraph that presents you as an enthusiastic, skilled, and dedicated teacher. Grab your reader’s attention right away.
- Three “narratives” (paragraphs), each one of which presents
- an issue you came across during your teaching (for example, students didn’t have the proper math background for your engineering course; a primary source proved difficult for students to interpret; a student or students were dominating the classroom discussion, etc.)
- the strategy or activity you came up with to address that issue, giving enough specifics so that your readers feel that they are in the classroom with you
- the successful outcome, including wherever possible an objective assessment (did students’ grades go up on the next test or quiz and, if so, by how many points on average; did subsequent writing assignments demonstrate mastery of the primary source; did students report in their online course evaluations that this classroom discussion was the best part of your course?)
- Graduate students: consider including in the teaching materials section of your CCTP portfolio handouts, instructions or other materials that relate directly to the three “narratives” presented in your teaching statement
- A concluding paragraph that reinforces your opening paragraph and that explicitly mentions applying your teaching skills in your future department or unit and in your future career as a teacher. You may also wish to state the name of the university or other institution to which you are applying in your concluding statement, but this isn’t a must-do.
What should you include in your teaching statement?
- Have you opened the statement with goals and strategies for students and for yourself, and then moved on to how you do it (activities, techniques, etc. — even “style”)
- If you open the statement by saying “My teaching style is…,” can the paragraph order be revised to emphasize goals first and “style” as a technique to accomplish the goals?
- Can you provide there examples to back up and illustrate your “theory”?
- Do these examples mention what students were struggling with or the problem you were trying to address?
- Do those examples make explicit what you, as the teacher, were trying to achieve?
- Did you develop a pertinent activity and will you include it in your “handouts” section of your teaching portfolio?
- If so, at this point of your teaching statement, explicitly state that you have included a pertinent activity
- Have you referred to specific courses you taught?
- Have you mentioned specific outcomes of your activities or assignments, such as a problem students explored (sciences) or the title of a final paper (humanities)?
- If you mention that something in your teaching is “important,” have you elaborated on the “why”?
- Have you presented yourself as a teacher throughout, rather than as an aspiring teacher?
Need more inspiration? Check out this resource on crafting a stronger teaching statement.