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Let's break down a teaching philosophy

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Hello, edumagicians💡,

Welcome back to another episode of the edumagic podcast. I'm Dr. Sam Fecich, and today we'll discuss teaching philosophies. Now I know you've heard of this term thrown around in your education department. Maybe you're thinking, "Oh, I don't need to worry about that my junior or senior year," Or maybe you are a year junior or a senior, and you are thinking, "Oh, I gotta get working on that." During this episode, we'll break down a teaching philosophy for you. It sounds more complicated than it is. We are going to cover the following:

  • What is the teaching philosophy?

  • Why do you need to write one?

  • How do you even get started with it?

  • How to add some megapixels into your teaching philosophy? You know this is the edumagic podcast, and M stands for megapixels. So how are we going to add some megapixels to our teaching philosophy?

All right, so let's jump right into it.

Get your teaching philosophy template here.

What is a teaching philosophy, and why do we need it?

A teaching philosophy sounds enormous. It's pretty simple if you think about your thoughts on teaching. It shows who you are as a teacher. It's thought of it as your teaching mission statement.

  • It's what defines your attitudes, your values, and your beliefs about teaching.

  • So think about it do you like student-centered classrooms?

  • How do you like to teach?

  • Which methods, strategies, and pedagogies do you enjoy incorporating into your classroom?

  • What theories do you enjoy, and do you like to see play out in the classroom?

Your teaching philosophy is something that you should start in your first year. You may want to brainstorm ideas or bullet points some ideas throughout your teaching career to refine and edit as you go. So by the time you're finished with student teaching during your senior year, you have a robust teaching philosophy that shares your thoughts on the teaching field. It shares what you believe as a teacher. It shares your methods, strategies, and theories of pedagogy that you've tried and used in the classroom.

Why do we need a teaching philosophy?

Some of you might be thinking, "I'm going to need one of these whenever I am job searching, right?" Yes, that's a question you're asked during your interviews. That's something that should be on your digital portfolio as well. But it also helps you shape why you're in college and studying to be an educator of excellence. Starting your teaching philosophy early in the first year, thinking through some ideas, and refining it can help you define your "why" of teaching.

Get your teaching philosophy template here.

How do I get started writing a teaching philosophy?

There are lots of ways to get started in your teaching philosophy.

1. Educational quote - hop on Pinterest or Google and type educational quotes, see what speaks to your teaching cart and find something meaningful for you.

Double-check that the person said that quote, and then share and expand upon why that quote is meaningful for you and your teaching career.

2. Start brainstorming answers to questions. You can use the questions listed above, but here are some more you may want to think about:

  • What brought you into the field of education in the first place?

  • Did you have an influential teacher?

  • Why do you want to be a teacher?

  • What makes you an educator of excellence?

  • Think about some characteristics that describe an educator of excellence. Why do they describe an educator of excellence, and how do you fit into those characteristics?

  • What methods and strategies do you find effective in the classroom?

  • How can you use these strategies in your classroom?

  • Think about five words that describe an effective teacher. Why do these words describe an influential teacher, and how do you show those words as an effective teacher?

  • How do you see yourself influencing the school, the classroom, the district, and the community?

A colleague of mine shared a teaching philosophy template you may want to work through. Thank you Dr. Lisa!