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Let's break down a teaching philosophy

Updated: Mar 5

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.

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.

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!
Teaching Philosophy Template (1)
Download DOCX • 23KB

So those are some ways to get started are some questions to consider when it comes to working through your teaching philosophy. Now there are a couple of logistics regarding your teaching philosophy.

  • Many articles out there range on how long it should be, but it shouldn't be more than a page.

  • You can start brainstorming your first year. Jot down some ideas and some strategies that you're observing.

  • Write down what types of theories you see in practice.

  • Make sure that your teaching philosophy is authentic to you and that your brilliance shines through. You want to be meaningful and purposeful.

Some of you might be thinking, "Well, I don't have much experience in teaching yet, so how do I even start to frame my teaching philosophy?" That's a great question. You might not have experience on the other side of the desk as a teacher, but you do have experience as a student. So what are some things you found practical as a student? Maybe you were a volunteer, or you taught vacation bible school, a babysitter, a nanny, or something like that. Draw upon those experiences to start fleshing out and brainstorming about your teaching philosophy.

How do I add some megapixels?

We talked about the what and the why. We talked about how we get started. Let's share a little about how we can add some megapixels to our teaching philosophy. So yes, you can have a document and upload that right into your digital portfolio. I recommend embedding it into your portfolio so someone can quickly scroll through it without downloading it.

You can use tools like Adobe spark to create an excellent teaching philosophy flyer or video. You can add pictures with permission, have text alongside them, and even have your audio behind it so you can explain what strategy is being used and why you're using that strategy. Try out canva to create infographics or a digital flyer to embed into your portfolio. Whichever tool you use, ensure you embed it into your digital portfolio so someone can easily access it.

All right, friends, you talked about what a teaching philosophy is. It's your thoughts, attitude, beliefs, and values about teaching. Writing one can help focus on our why and education as early as the first year. Get started brainstorming those ideas refine, revise, and edit throughout your teaching career as you gain more experience and add to it. Lastly, add some megapixels to it if you can add some megapixels to it by using technology like Canva, Adobe Spark or even just embedding the page right into your portfolio.

Share your teaching philosophies on social media using #EduMagic. I can't wait to see what you create.

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