Life Coach Magazine

The Teaching Statement: Commitment, Not Necessarily Amazing Pedagogy

By Aqualed @aqua_led
The teaching statement: Commitment, not necessarily amazing pedagogyDeclaración de los términos de enseñanza: Compromiso, no necesariamente espectacular pedagogía
What do faculty search committees expect on a teaching statement? Commitment, not necessarily amazingly creative pedagogy - George McClendon, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Duke University.
A good curriculum will definitely matter; however, the first impression is the key to promote our participation in the selection process. The teaching statement is an important requisite asked for a faculty position. The problem is that some of us may not know how to properly organize its contents.
Let´s outline the basics. The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning of Princeton University, defines a teaching statement as a 1-2 double-spaced page narratives (not a comprehensive document), that can serve as the basis of a longer teaching or course portfolio. Princeton´s Center advices those wishing to write their own statements to ask themselves questions to auto-evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching strategies considered. Some examples on questions one should ask his/her self are: How do you run your classes? What variety of in-class activities and assignments do you design and what do they ask students to do? What evidence do you have of your students learning from their work? As you may realize, those kind of questions are often focused to people with some teaching experience; still, the inexperienced are in trouble. Then you may want to jump to the following paragraph.
Rachel Narehood is an experienced faculty at Bates College, committed to teaching activities for several years. When she asks herself what we are wondering about the teaching statement, she advises her readers that we should principally care about keeping the statement concise, well-written, and honest. Do your homework and know the institution and the position to which you are applying, is what she advises her readers. Think about why you want to be a teacher and craft a (very) few evocative paragraphs that describe something specific about your aspirations in a way that illustrates your independent, open, and reflective mind, continues.
To make it short, I have summarized what Narehood means:
1. Teaching statements are filters for applicants who do not have a concise reasoning.
2. Prepare you statement specific to the institution you are applying to.
3. Show your commitment to teaching, in few sentences. Keep it brief.
---Paragraph One---
4. Write about the courses you would like to teach, says Narehood. Do your research: which of the courses currently offered you might teach? what new courses you might bring to the Department? Narehood emphasizes: The key here is balance: You want to display some interesting ideas, but don't be too adventurous. And remember, a teaching statement says a lot about the area the applicant sees himself or herself in - Alison Butler, University of California, Santa Barbara.
---Paragraph two---
5. Teaching statements tend to show the character of the writer: The committee may use it for or against you. Narehood emphasizes that one of the most important qualities of an inexperienced teacher is the willingness to learn, pay attention and change. In most cases, the actual philosophy matters as much as the proofs that demonstrate that the candidate has cared enough to develop a teaching philosophy, which he/she is able to express in a clear and meaningful way - Jeff Nagle, Browdoin College,  Brunswick (cited by Narehood).
---Paragraph three---
6. Draw on your experiences as a student, a scholar, and a human being, Narehood asks out: How do the lessons you have learned from your own experiences affect the kind of classes that you would like to teach or the kind of teacher you would like to be?
---Additional thoughts---
7. Be aware that the amount of energy you have is limited: Do not offer too much. Consider that during the first years, the time given to teaching and research will compete until establishing your teaching strategy. Narehood advices to focus the energy to do a good teaching and research lab work.
---Final advise---
8. Keep it short, emphasizes Narehood, and no wonder she repeats that as this is a general advice product of our modern and busy society, which is repeated by the editors of most current journals.
9. Read your statement twice, looking for errors, mistypes, etc. Narehood says: poorly written statements are immediately discounted.
10. 1 - 2 double-spaced pages written in the first-person, present-tense.
Visiting some sample over the WEB may also help; however, we now realize that writing the statement is not a simple task, but we understand that we should agree with the importance of this document. No more words, and it is time to write....
1. Austin, R., 2006. Writing the teaching statement.Career Magazine-Science Careers.
2. Haugan, L., 1998. Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement. Center for Teaching Excellence, Iowa State University.
2. The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. Teaching statements. Princeton University.

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