How to Write a Teaching Philosophy Statement for an Elementary Educator
An elementary teaching philosophy statement captures a teacher’s reasons for teaching, what methods he or she plans to use and examples of any teaching experience. The statement needs to be specific to the teacher’s situation. A philosophy statement is usually limited to one or two pages, but it requires some brainstorming before getting started.
Here are the topics that are generally expected to be covered in a teaching philosophy statement.
Teaching philosophy statement topics
- What are your reasons for being a teacher? What motivates you? What do you feel you can accomplish?
- What subjects do you teach? This includes specific courses and your objectives for your teaching. Do you teach core subjects or electives? Is there a difference in the methods you use for one type of course versus another?
- What teaching strategies do you prefer? What type of assignments do you give? How do you assess student learning? How do you accommodate for different learning levels and different learning styles?
- How do you determine if you are meeting your teaching objectives? What feedback have you received from those who have observed your teaching styles? Have you videotaped yourself teaching? If so, what did you learn from it?
Even knowing that these are the topics that need to be covered, it is difficult to put together an elementary teaching philosophy statement that is not the same as every other teacher’s philosophy statement. To help you answer these questions, spend some time brainstorming and reviewing your teaching experience.
Writing a teaching philosophy
Begin your brainstorming by thinking about the end of the term
James M. Lang, an associate professor of English at Assumption College, advises teachers to begin brainstorming by imagining the term is over and students are leaving the classroom. What is it you hope they will take away from the time they spent with you?
Your teaching statement should express what you hope the students will have learned from you and the strategies you used to accomplish your goals.
Tell a story
Lang suggests giving an example of how your objectives and teaching strategies have been successful. He says that you should consider your elementary teaching philosophy statement as a creative, non-fiction writing assignment. Grab readers with a story they will remember. Give an example of how you accomplished your goals instead of just reciting them.
David Haney, English Department Chairman at Appalachian State University, commented that almost all the philosophy statements he reads begin with something like, “I run a student-centered classroom.” His response: “Duh.” He says do not make that statement unless you follow it up with specific teaching techniques you use.
Cite your sources
In your statement, explain how you decided on the strategies you use. Did you learn from a mentor? Is it something you read or tried and it worked? Did you take suggestions from others and turn it into your own unique approach?
Do not repeat information contained in your resume or curriculum vitae
Your CV focuses on what you have done. Your philosophy statement focuses on how you do it. Andrew Green, PhD, a counselor at the University of California, Berkeley, says you should “focus not so much on what courses you’ve taught, but on how it is you go about teaching,”
Pay attention to requirements and mechanics
If the requirements are to submit a one-page elementary education philosophy statement, do not turn in a five-page statement. Use the first person and present tense. Review and proofread meticulously. Hiring committees will frown on typographical errors and run-on sentences. You may want to have a friend review the statement to help you find any errors.