Every teacher has probably had to do it as a requirement for at least one teacher preparation class in college. But I think it’s a valuable thing for teachers to do pretty regularly, not just as an academic exercise, but as a way to really think through where you are as a teacher, how you got here, where you are going, and why.
Write a brief statement of your teaching philosophy.
Here’s my most recent stab at it. (Not really, I wrote this about 5 years ago.)
I intentionally set about writing this statement of my humanities teaching philosophy immediately after submitting my lesson plans for the week. I wanted to make sure this was more than just an exercise in abstractedly putting words to some things I believe about teaching; I wanted to be able to see evidence that what I believe about teaching is at the heart of what I do in the classroom. In the upcoming days, my classes and I will perform scenes from Hamlet and A Streetcar Named Desire, explore the ancient Greek roots of drama and tragedy, discuss and debate the ethics and influence of social media, revel in examples of the power of written language, and connect the anthropological perspectives Zora Neale Hurston used as she created Janie and Tea Cake Woods in the beautiful novel Their Eyes Were Watching God with those used by Rutgers anthropologist Helen Fisher in her studies of the science of love. Regardless of the specific endeavors of any particular class, in room 235, I hope that what my students walk away with every day is another addition to their understanding of the extraordinary range of what it is to be human. As I see it, all education, formal and informal, is about making sense of the world and our place in it. Each thing we learn adds some depth or breadth or nuance to our understanding of how the world works, and how we can work our way through it. Continue reading