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Documenting Your Teaching: Writing a Teaching Statement

A teaching statement is a reflective essay on your conception of teaching and learning and how you operationalize those beliefs. It gives you a voice to supplement and expand upon what student and peer evaluations offer. Check with your colleagues and chair as to specific expectations for your department or college.

While there is no one set format, a good teaching statement should have the following characteristics:

  • Generally 1 - 3 pages in length
  • Philosophy is linked to practice (Short examples are included to illustrate your philosophy such as, "I believe student learning is enhanced when they interact with each other so I include peer instruction exercises in which students work in pairs to solve physics problems." If your teaching statement is part of a portfolio, you can then reference the section that contains more detailed descriptions and examples.)
  • Reflective and personal versus generic (Discuss specific examples from your courses.)
  • Memorable and unique (What sets your philosophy and practice of teaching apart from others? Is there something you can highlight?)

A good teaching statement contains all or most of the following: 

  • Who and what you teach (address this early in the statement to provide context) 
  • Your teaching goals (e.g., increasing science literacy) 
  • Student learning outcomes (what knowledge and/or skills do you want your students to take away from your interaction with them) 
  • How you think students learn best
  • How you conceptualize your role as a teacher
  • Why you teach as you do 
  • How you teach and assess your students 
  • Specific examples of implementation of your philosophy (link philosophy and praxis) 
  • Evidence of reflective practice/professional growth (what you have learned from your teaching or professional development activities and how you applied this to your teaching)