How to Write a Teaching Philosophy Statement | Rebecca Lowery | Skillshare

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How to Write a Teaching Philosophy Statement

teacher avatar Rebecca Lowery, Christian, Wife, Mother, Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Teaching Philosophy Intro

    • 2. Do Your Research

    • 3. Key Pedagogical Principles

    • 4. Writing Your Statement

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About This Class

How to write a clear and concise statement that reveals what you believe about successful teaching practices. You will answer the questions:

  • What do you believe about learning? 
    • How do you live that out in your own life?
  • What methods do you implement and practice?
    • Do these methods work?
    • If so, how do you know?
    • If not, what would you do?
  • What are your goals for your students?
  • How do you plan on growing as a teacher?

And then learn how to write an effective, clear, and concise statement for interviews, inspiration, reminders, and for reflection on those bad days.

Meet Your Teacher

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Rebecca Lowery

Christian, Wife, Mother, Teacher


In 2007 I graduated from Doane College certified to teach English/Language Arts. That same year I met my husband Kyle and moved four hours away from him to teach in a small town Nebraska school. A year and a half later we were engaged and found ourselves in our pastor's office where he presented the gospel, leaving us forever changed. Since then I graduated with a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, taught a reading class in a Title 1 school, coached, had two baby girls, and left the classroom to become a stay-at-home mom - haha, where my real education began! That was six years ago already and since then I've pursued every avenue possible to continue my love of teaching while soaking up these precious first years with the little people God has put in my life. To l... See full profile

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1. Teaching Philosophy Intro: Hello. I'm Rebecca. Larry. I have a master's degree in education, and when I was in the midst of my graduate studies, one of the things that was required was writing a philosophy of teaching statement. Now, Don't did things a little differently. They had us take 10 credits towards our master's degree immediately upon graduation before they would even give us our teaching certificate. I'm thankful for that now because there's a lot of things that I learned, and there's a lot of things that I won't forget and this is one of them. And there's a lot of reasons why I'm super thankful that I have this. But before we get into the meat of writing a philosophy statement, let's answer the question. What is a teaching philosophy? And I really appreciated Vanderbilt's statements so much that that is the one I used. Um, I'm just gonna go ahead and read it to you, because that's how much I like it. A teaching philosophy statement is a purposeful and reflective essay about the author's teaching beliefs and practices. It is an individual narrative that includes not only one's beliefs about the teaching and learning process, but also concrete examples of the way in which he or she and Max these beliefs in the classroom. So, in other words, what this is going to say about you is you're the Leafs about teaching and why you do what you do. So why, right? One First of all, it offers you this amazing opportunity to hone in on what you believe and, well, why you're doing what you're doing. Because on those really bad days you're going which you're going have this really bad days . That reminder is desperately needed. And it also requires you to examine yourself on those bad days and even on your good days to figure out what worked and what didn't and what I applied about what I believe in what I really failed at. And you can go back on those good and bad days and determine what's going to make those good days better in those and fix what happened on this bad days. But it also helps you, Teoh, communicate your goals to the people who matter most in your professional life. Also, if you're in the midst of interviewing and even if you're not in the midst of interviewing , I still encourage you to just sit down, stop and do this for all the reasons that I just listed. But if you're looking for a job in the field of teaching and education, this is a key component. Your portfolio. Now, before we get started, I want you to download the PDF document that I've put into the project section of this class and go through each of these questions. And after we go through them, I want you to answer them. They don't have to be, uh, this long, elaborate answer. I just want you to take a few moments and write down your initial thoughts about what you believe about learning how you live in your own life. Which is an important question because in a mock interview immediately after graduation, I handed this amazing principal who was willing to do this for me. My portfolio. And she said it looked good except for one thing. How you said that you believe in lifelong learning, but you're not showing in your portfolio how you're living out in your own life. And that struck me as being huge, and I I asked her, What does that look like in a portfolio, and she told me that even having a page where you're writing down the professional development looks at your reading on a monthly and daily basis shows that you're willing to grow on your own. And that is big. The second question, I guess it's technically the third. But what methods do you implement and practice and then talk about or think about why they work? Um, how you know they work. And if they don't work, then what? What do you do next for? What should you do instead of what you did? Uh, what are your goals for your students and also for yourself and how you plan on going? It's a teacher. So stop me pas me, go through and answer each of these questions. Just your initial thoughts, and I look forward to seeing you in the next session. 2. Do Your Research: hello and welcome back to the class on how to write a teaching philosophy statement. In the introduction, we talked about what a teaching philosophy statement is, and it's basically what you believe about teaching and how you're going to implement it in your classroom. So first, what I encourage you to do before starting this process is do some research treed, uh, some books that would encourage you or inspire you in solidifying what you believe. So this isn't my list of actually included it on page five of the workbook that have included in this class under the class projects, and you are more than welcome to use in me or one of these. Resource is, I highly encourage them. I really enjoyed the books that I read on the Web sites that I visited, and I even watched a YouTube video, Um, by Dr Christopher parent. I really enjoyed that one as well. I took a lot away from it. Dorothy Sayers she She's actually quite wonderful. Um, I don't know if you've heard of the famous authors C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien, but she was actually part of the table talk conversations that dare token is yeses usedto having coffee shops or around the table drinking a beer. She was part of that, and I didn't know it until I read this book, but I'm very glad that I did. She is. She says it. How it is is that I'm trying to say, and also she has a good of sarcasm in her, and it's quite wonderful. Um, the other page that I really appreciated was this website, thanks to Vanderbilt and what it has is an inventory quiz, and it's just kind of fun to do those things, especially when you're trying to write a philosophy statement and you're just stumped in the process. So that's what I would start with is gathering a group of resource is that you would be able to use to not copy? That's not the goal, but it's to inspire you and maybe get the ball rolling. So I have on your workbook the questions and then have it's and a research guide for you but also the list of these resources. But I hope that you put to use if you have any questions about doing your own research and how that affected what I wrote. Please don't hesitate to ask 3. Key Pedagogical Principles: I am so glad that you're back. Hopefully you've done your research and we can talk about some pedagogical principles that I've learned or that have affected the way that I wrote my teaching philosophy statement. So I believe that this is how we learned. I have 10 of them that going to go through each one of them. I believe we learn by asking questions, having discussions, having memorable experiences by tapping into it that we already know. And adding to that and I truly do believe that like reading, learning is an active process. There's things that we do before while we learn. After we learn, we connect, we ask, ask questions. We visualize. We analyzed the experiment to be practice. There's a lot of words that I could have added to number five. Um, number six. This one is important. It's vital toe. Have the tools in order to learn. Wow, If I don't have the tools, then it's you're making the successful, less likely we learn when we are confident in our ability to learn. And here's the one that's key. Number nine minutes. Get number eight and come back to that cause there's a story behind it. But we women are teachers confident and our ability toe that one. I truly do believe, in fact, Richard Alinta nor this amazing book. And it said what struggling readers really need. And he talked about this amazing, uh, study that he had done and just observing teachers. It was, um it wasn't anything that was recorded in a magazine or ah Jermell. But it was just through his own observations and asking teachers questions. And the teachers who did not see success in the classroom were actually not confident. And they made excuses for the reasons why they were not successful, such as, um, how low parent involvement being in a title. One school, they behavioral issues, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I mean a lot of excuses. But the teachers who were confident who had the same issues did not use that as an excuse for the results that were put in front of them. Instead, they believed in giving their there students the tools so that they could be successful and believe the other students could be successful even if they weren't right at the moment and the results of the teacher, the confident teachers classroom in the students who were successful were astronomically higher than the teacher who lacked confidence. So I hope that's a little push. Mm towards confidence and being courageous because, quite frankly, when you're hit, was those problems. It's really hard to be confident and it takes courage to be so. So that's my little spiel on number nine, But going back to number eight. See, I have this journal and I write down all of these things that I I want to know, and I want to keep track of cause writing, writing helps me solidify things, and I bright bring um So I had I thought I had 10. No, it turns out, only had nine. So I went back and I was looking at them and going through it again because I have had a particularly bad day. It was like I missed number six. I completely skipped number six. Apparently I can't, captain, So that's when I want to add that we learn from our mistakes and don't be afraid toe laugh of them and go back and share them of others, because the I want my students to know it's OK to make a mistake. You just go back and you fix it and you laugh about it and you learn from it. And I don't want them to be afraid of that. And it's amazing how much more I learned from the mistakes that I make than doing something perfectly the first time and then last but not least, we learned when we have an end goal in mind. And so when I developed curriculum, I actually develop it like an inverted triangle. I think about what I wanted the end first, and then everything that I do, all the activities that I plan, everything that I teach revolves around this end goal. How is what I'm cleaning going to accomplish this? That one is an important one for me, and I also want my students to have this cynical night. And then I added it with this last statement, and I'm going to read this. I have it in black on my piece that I had written down right here. But I also decided to type it out so you can fall along in either place. And yet, despite all of these truths, from 1 to 10 on how we learn, we are all unique individuals with different experiences memories, talents, skills, interest in background knowledge that impacts how we learn or how quickly we learn it. And this is why I believe in having a personalised plan for students in place that allows me to come alongside them to know them personally and to know that what works for one student may not work for the next. And that is an important principle that I always keep in mind. We're unique, were beautiful and different, and that is vital in the classroom because there is not one student who is like. So I hope having these 10 key teaching principles outlined for you also inspires you in your philosophy statement. And I would encourage you to go and write down your pedagogical principles because it will help you, right, your philosophy statement and hopefully what you know about learning effects, what you also know about teaching and or what you believe about teaching and how you approach each lesson with your students. So if that said, I want you to go ahead and go to your work, but and I want you to write 10 key principles about learning that not just what you believe , but what you know to be true. And I want you to write those down because they will affect what you write in your philosophy statement. 4. Writing Your Statement: now begins the fun part. You've done your research, you've written pedagogical principles and you understand what a teaching philosophy statement is. And hopefully you've gained some insight into your own teaching and what you believe and what you're going to implement this and now begin syphon part. Now you take everything that you've been learning through this process and you're going to start rating. And what I encourage you to start with is picking an overall thing. So initially when I started when I wrote my first teaching philosophy statement 10 15 years ago, I think it was my theme was teaching is a work of heart. So everywhere all over the place I had hearts, I had him is me bullet points. I had a line to break up different sections and I really liked it and I still dio. But as I've gotten into teaching, that changed because I now own my own business. Um, tutoring little people in all walks of life. I shouldn't say just little people, because I've also tooted her nurse and I tutored at on adult with comprehension issues and that so also high school students troubling the spelling. So there's a lot of different people that I worked with. And anyway, I have changed that sense to the idea of having keys to success because I believe that you need tools. And so anyway, um, I've changed my having The same helps me so much because it happens One little statement that you were able to take, and it's like having an end goal in mind. So what is your one statement minus giving students keys to literacy and learning success That's basically or essentially what I want to do. I want to give them to keep the keys, to be able to learn on their own anywhere, anytime. So that's what I would encourage you to do first, to think of something and you may already have, but something that helps keep you focused and then pick a format. A lot of places have, Ah teaching philosophy, essay, teaching philosophy statement. It was just a paragraph I when I went to Don't they had a different format completely, and I really like this format because it's unique. But it's and I believe, therefore, well, statement because it holds you accountable to, um, not just what you believe, but how you're going to implement it. And so that is the example that I have given you in the A project section of this class. I have the teaching, my teaching philosophy, So you are more than welcome to go and look at it. I have it on my website that people can go and click on and see what I believe about teaching and whether or not they want to hire me as a result of what they see. The next thing that I suggest is to keep it shortness week. You don't want it to be more than a page long, because if it goes longer than a page, it just becomes too wordy and they're not gonna take the time. And they're not gonna care about what you have to say about what you believe about teaching . And quite frankly, principals and administrators don't have time to read anything more than a page long during interviews. That's just the reality. And so if it's long, are you just gonna toss inside? But if it's visually appealing and it looks like there since solid information in that that might make the difference in the interview process, also, I'm gonna end it with Be humble, because remember that teaching is not about you. It's about your students. And here's how ongoing Teoh talk about this piece specifically have a story, and it actually was a reminder, this excellent reminder on why I do what I do. So I had a student. I wanted her to see something, and I kept prodding her with questions and we would re read this passage. And she had this amazing, likable moment I wanted her to see and she was so excited. And she was like, Look what I figured out all that myself. I did it And she was just bragging about herself in what she did all by herself completely discounting how I helped her tonight. She was in adult that I was tutoring, and so I was really frustrated initially because and I helped you. And although I don't being a teacher didn't go into teaching for the credit. But I would like recognitions and Heinz. And so you know how when you have a cup and you keep adding things to that cup and all of a sudden it's overflowing. It was like that one will drop. That just made my Cup overflow and not in a good way. So internally, I'm boiling and I'm really upset and I upon reflection. But I believe in being humble, and I believe that you you ask questions. You guide you support, so they do make their own discoveries and you may not get any credit for at all. And that's OK, because that's essentially what you want. You want to give them the tools so that they are making the discovery, and it's going to require humility. And a lot of times it's really hard to accept that. And that plays a huge and significant role in writing. You were teaching philosophy. So I hope this story encourages you as a teacher that you're not always going to get credit , and it's OK because what you want is for your students to experiment into practice and ask questions and to discover on their and they will appreciate you. But they're not going to show in the ways that you think they should, and quite frankly, that's okay. So here is one that I wanted to give an example of and how I wrote my teaching philosophy statement. Like I said, I have an example of it in the project section of this class, but I believe learning is a lifelong process. So therefore, I will model the I two in a constant state, just like my story about humility, just like my writing down in my bullet journal of my 10 key pedagogical principles and skipping Number six. I'm always in the state of learning, and I'm always reading to develop my professional career, and I don't want to be stagnant. So that is how first in a model that I'm in a state of learning. And here's how I said I was going to do it by reading by writing by studying right alongside them. And that's Michael is to be a lifelong learner, and I want to give them those same tools in the same skills so that they, too, can are equipped to implement the same strategies and tools that I use to self direct. That's ultimately Michael, and I hope that this video inspired you and gave you some guidance on how to write a teaching philosophy statement that will wow, you're administrators, but not just while you're administrators. But that will give you a clear vision on why you're doing what you're doing isn't about you . It's about students that your inspiring